Us states where gambling is illegal - is online gambling legal?

When you think of gambling, you probably picture Las Vegas or Atlantic City. What you might not know is that both cities exist in two states with some of the most liberal gambling laws in America.

Head north to Massachusetts and you can place a legal bet at one of three new casinos. Head south to Delaware and you can even gamble on your phone.

On the other hand, head west out of Las Vegas a few miles and you will be in the Mojave Desert in the middle of nowhere. Do the same east of Atlantic City and you’ll be able to put your toes in the sand of Absecon Island within minutes.

Why such a dramatic difference?

Sixty-two miles won’t keep all of Philadelphia’s gamblers away for long, which is why I choose to live in the country’s 48th largest city instead of its 13th. And it isn’t just proximity to big cities that keeps people in those 18 gambling restrictive states.

It’s also their desire to raise their kids in areas where gambling isn’t pushing its way into schools and homes via lottery terminals and kiosks.

States Where Gambling Is Illegal

Unfortunately, the list of states where gambling is illegal might surprise you. It includes Hawaii and Virginia, which are two of our country’s 15 fastest growing states.

Then again, there are 36 states where you can win (and lose) a fortune in casino chips, slots clubs, or race tracks.

And while every state in the northeast coast allows parimutuel wagering on horses, only four allow casino style games of chance.

  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts
  • New York

All forms of gambling Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Utah are illegal.

Gambling in Alaska, Hawaii, and Wisconsin is limited to charitable bingo and raffles.

In Mississippi, you can gamble on riverboats. In Oklahoma, you can gamble in Indian casinos that look like medieval fortresses.

In Pennsylvania, you can gamble in downtown Philly casinos that look like medieval fortresses.

The point? The United States loves to gamble, but it tends to prefer local flair when choosing a casino.

That likely won’t change any time soon, so if you live in one of those 18 states where gambling is illegal, you should get used to Vegas, Atlantic City, or one of the country’s many Indian casinos.

Or… you could just . More on that later.

Why Are There States Banning Gambling?

There are many reasons why certain states ban gambling. Here’s a quick breakdown of each.

  • Alaska – Alaska has a constitutionally established statehood act that prohibits gambling.
  • Kentucky – Gambling in Kentucky is looked down upon due to the Bluegrass State being home to many world-class racetracks. They want to keep things fair and square by banning most other forms of betting.
  • Texas – A large Mormon population and the fact that everything is bigger in Texas likely play a role in the Lone Star State banning most forms of gambling.
  • Utah – Most of the population is Mormon and the church strongly encourages its followers to avoid vices and gambling.
  • Virgina – Virginia has strict blue laws. For example, it is illegal to sell alcohol on Sunday and to engage in most forms of gambling.

You’ll notice that financial gambling is not really prohibited in these states. This is because state lawmakers consider it something different than typical Vegas style gambling.

This loophole allows residents to enjoy various forms of financial gambling sites, daily fantasy sports, and more.

Speaking of which …

Can You Gamble Online in States That Ban Gambling?

Yes, you can absolutely gamble online in states that ban gambling. The types of gambling that are banned tend to be the in-person type, like visiting a casino or placing a bet horse track.

Any good old fashioned red blooded American can , buy a lottery ticket, or even place a sports bet nowadays.

The real question is what you can do if you live in one of the 18 states where gambling is highly regulated? Can you still find a way to gamble?

The answer is an emphatic yes, and I don’t just mean that.

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Sure, you can legally bet on your computer or mobile device, but you can also visit off-the-grid casinos, underground card rooms, and even cockfighting rings in some states.

I cannot in good conscience encourage anyone to break the law, but I can tell you about the options that are available—not just the safe and legal ones.

If you use your head and follow a few simple rules, you can enjoy almost any form of gambling that tickles your fancy.

Just don’t call me when your wife finds out about your secret habit and demands half your collection of Vera Hernandez signing dice.

Gambling Loopholes by State

As I mentioned earlier, most state bans on gambling specifically reference certain types of gambling. This opens up many , even if the laws against gambling in the state are very strict.

The main loopholes are centered around life insurance payouts, which must be paid even if the beneficiary designation form suggests otherwise.

Additionally, skill gaming loopholes exist in many anti-gambling states. This loophole allows residents to run or participate in for-profit gambling as long as they win through skill rather than luck.

Below, I go into further details about the specific gambling loopholes by state.


Alabama is one of the most conservative states in terms of gambling. All forms of gambling are technically illegal in this state, except for charitable bingo and the lottery.

However, there aren’t many laws preventing citizens from engaging in other forms of gambling. Social poker games aren’t considered a legal issue unless they meet the criteria of a common nuisance.

You also can’t sue an online casino for letting you deposit money and hit the tables. This makes it tough to find a way to enforce the law, even if it was enforced. Which it isn’t.

Furthermore, the Federal Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act both make it difficult to find an online casino that will deny customers in Alabama.

They may ask you to lie on your registration form, claiming that Albania is your home country. But once you get your account set up, no one will check to see if you’re breaking the law by logging on from the Heart of Dixie.


Alaska doesn’t have any casinos, but that doesn’t stop its residents from gambling.

The Alaska Poker League allows players to compete for cash prizes totaling thousands of dollars each week.

They operate like a chain bowling alley used to operate–you show up at whatever ALPL establishment is closest to you, pay your $10 per hour fee, and get seated at a table with other gamblers.

Casino employees fanned-handle the various poker games 24/7 before the Alaska Legislature declared all skill-based gambling illegal in early 2018.

Now, the Alaska Poker League operates as a decentralized network of privately-owned poker rooms. If the state tries to crack down on them, it will face an angry populace and a constitutional amendment voted on in the next election cycle.

Aside from under-the-radar poker rooms and charity poker tournaments, Alaska has no other forms of legalized gambling.

Even the state lottery has been shot down multiple times at the ballot box.


Arizona is home to nearly two dozen Indian casinos offering slot machines and table games. It is also home to the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Maricopa Casino, which proudly displays signs announcing, “Loosest Slots in the desert Southwest.”

Sounds like a gambler’s paradise, right? Wrong.

Arizona is one of the strange states where gambling is somewhat illegal. It is legal on Indian reservations, which are considered sovereign nations.

This means that if you take one step forward onto reservation property and back one step, it is illegal to carry he guns, drink beer, or drive on the left side of the road.

Gamble? Who knows? I’d ask Siri, but her tribe hasn’t claimed cyber space yet.

One thing we do know is that gambling on any mode of transportation is illegal. You can’t gamble on a boat or an airplane. You can’t offer gambling on a train or automobile.

Well, apart from the scores of locals and snowbirds who play high stake hands of I-17 chicken every winter.

Other than that, your guess is as good as mine. Your best bet would be to hire a private investigator to look into the matter. Or you could just call a casino and ask if gambling is legal in Arizona.

I’m pretty sure the operator wouldn’t lie to you. Unless she works in Arizona. Never trust an Arizona transplant. I heard they all have secret clearances and are required by law to lie about everything.


Oklahoma Cornrows might be the worst poker players in the world, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to improve their bankrolls at the tables.

OSU Cornrows might be the worst poker players in the world, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to improve their bankrolls at the tables.

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions are far more pitiful on the felt, but at least they have company in the cellar.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock Trojans poker team is even worse. At least that’s what I hear from my sources.

I haven’t actually watched film of their games, although I did accidentally tune into a UALR Tiker game recently while flipping channels. I changed the channel when ESPN Gameday UALR edition failed to materialize.

Back to gambling. Arkansans can bet on horses, dogs, the lottery, and charitable games of chance. Casino gambling is allowed on riverboats, providing the vessel spends at least 50% of its time floating aimlessly somewhere between Illinois and Tennessee.

State legislatures are weird.

Fortunately for fans of slots, craps, roulette, and Texas Hold ‘Em, most Arkansas casinos anchor their riverboats outside their docking facilities.

Less fortunate is the hapless worker who shows up for his midnight-to-eight swing shift dealing straight flush to choir every hour on the hour.

At least he can get his mind off his job by watching the ships rise and fall outside the casino windows. He might even catch a fish or two jumping from one body of water to another.


California is well known as one of the more liberal states when it comes to gambling. Casinos line the freeways leading to Nevada and the Pacific Ocean.

Charitable bingo and raffles are also permitted. However, the California Constitution makes it illegal to pose for officially sanctioned photographs while simultaneously flipping birds with both hands.


That’s what Governor Jerry Brown admitted to doing in 1974 while posing for his California Department of Motor Vehicles photo.

The middle finger salute went mostly unnoticed for decades until digital copying made it easy to alter photos.

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Lawmakers didn’t want to risk seeing their own mug shots do the same thing, so they passed a law making it a misdemeanor to “willfully display the middle finger or otherwise make an offensive gesture” at a DMV photograph session.

Some things make sense sometimes.

Fortunately for Californians with bad cases of the fingies, the law specifically says it “does not prohibit the natural resting position of a person’s hands and arms at their sides.” Translation? No fine or jail term for restingly gangster.

So go ahead and gamble till you drop, Ernesto. Just make sure your hands stay put while your picture is taken. Oh, and watch your kidneys.


Colorado is home to some of the biggest mining claims in the western hemisphere. It’s also home to some of the biggest pot stashes in the western hemisphere, since recreational marijuana became legal in 2012.

Colorado voters approved another groundbreaking initiative in 1990, becoming the first state to legalize actual, honest to goodness charitable raffles.

Most states consider raffles illegal because they are too similar to gambling. Not Colorado. They pride themselves on selling $30 raffle tickets for stuffed bears and calling it philanthropy.

But beware, Centennial Staters. Your legislators drew the line at all forms of gambling when they amended your state constitution in 1991. That means it is illegal to gamble in Colorado, unless:

  • You are playing a game of chance or skill at an establishment holding a license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission.
  • You are playing poker in the privacy of your own home.
  • You are using the internet to visit this site, which features many interesting articles about gambling and lots of pictures of Fidel Castro.

Okay, I made that last one up. But I bet someone will start a Castro gambling site any day now.


Connecticut is one of the small number of US states where gambling is legal. The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes operated the first Indian casinos in 1992.

These casinos were followed by hundreds of similar operations across the country. Some were successful. Others weren’t.

Many of the losers blamed the Indians, but a federal law protecting tribal casinos from most civil and criminal actions forced them to simmer down.

Today, the two Connecticut tribes share revenue from their Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun resorts. They also work together to protect their golden geese from non-Indian encroachment.

For instance, the tribes successfully lobbied to keep a non-Indian casino called Galaxy 300 from setting up video slot machines. They were less successful in keeping a non-Indian bingo hall from opening near Mohegan Sun.

The tribes lost again when the state legislature legalized slot machine parlors at Shinnecock Hills and Napeague Stretch.

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Despite increased competition from Indian casinos in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun continue drawing tens of millions of visitors each year.

Whether they’ll be able to continue doing so after paying out a $1.5 billion jackpot is an open question.


Delaware was one of the first three states to offer legalized sports betting in the post-PASPA world.

It wasn’t exactly a trendsetter, though. Full-scale gambling has existed in this tiny state since the 1930s, when racetrack off-track betting parlors began sprouting up like mushrooms after a spring rain.

Today, Delaware has three racinos. One is owned by the state’s lone NASCAR track. The other two are attached to thoroughbred racetracks.

Both were built by Harrington Park Racing & Gaming to supplement purses at Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway. Both continued supplementing those purses after Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment opened nearby in 1995.

Instead of hurting business, the proliferation of slots and table games helped it. That’s because all three racinos are located over an hour’s drive from any other gambling establishment.

Throw in easy access to Pennsylvania casinos and Delaware Park could eventually become a prime target for a dirt cheap buyout.

Unless, of course, the Trump Organization decides to get into the casino business. It already has a foot in the door with the Trump Golf Club Ferry Field.


Florida is unique among southern states where gambling is somewhat legal. Residents can visit dozens of Indian casinos and eight commercial casinos.

Unfortunately, the state also has some strange rules. For instance, you have to be at least 21 to gamble at a casino or play the lottery.

But if you’re 18 or older, you can try your luck at dog racing or jai alai.

Gambling cruises are also popular. Many cruise lines allow passengers to gamble as soon as they board the ship and while its at sea. Once the ship docks, however, the gambling must come to an end.

Another strange rule in Florida is the prohibition on online gambling. You can operate an online poker room or sportsbook from Florida, but you can’t place a bet from your smartphone.

Fortunately, the law is seldom enforced. And with a border of three hundred miles separating most Floridians from a casino or racino, most residents could outrun the cops anyway.


Georgia has one of the strangest sets of gambling laws in the country. Horse racing and bingo are illegal, but residents can enjoy a rousing game of bingo whilst watching the horses and attempting to hit a bullseye with a baseball while king pins attempt to knock over his queen at the same time.

Wait, what?

I must have made that up. Must not have. Let’s try an official government website.

“While state law makes it explicitly clear that horse racing and bingo are illegalfollow these linksfor a complete listing of the kinds of legal gambling available in Georgia.”

Apparently, Georgia lawmakers enjoy a good game of bingo. Maybe that’s why you can’t play anywhere in the state. Then again, maybe they just need to get out more often.

Not that going to a bingo parlor would satisfy guys who write things like “while state law makes it explicitly clear that horse racing and bingo are illegal …”

Maybe Georgia gamblers just need to take matters into their own hands. Well, they can’t do that either.

Georgia is one of the few states banning possession of military-grade stun guns and gloves that interfere with the freedom of movement. I guess that answers my earlier question.


Hawaii is another US state where gambling is not permitted. The only forms of legal gambling in the islands are bingo and some low level races.

Charitable raffles are also legal, provided they don’t involve anything of significant value. Like, say, a jackpot worth more than a couple bucks.

The Hawaii State Organization of Veterans Services Programs uses lawmakers’ nebulous definition of “charitable organization” to run the state’s only semi-decent gambling operation.

Twice a year, VSPs host weeks-long fundraisers with daily drawings for cash and prizes.

The drawings are held at ten American Legion halls on Oahu and one each on the neighbor islands. Thousands of people pay $20 to attend the events and hundreds of thousands of dollars are distributed during each “veterans charity” campaign.

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If you’re not a veteran or a veteran supporter, you’re out of luck. Unless, of course, you want to pay $5 for a raffle ticket to win a Hawaiian Punch drinking glass.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, gambling in Hawaii is occasionally attempted. In 2016, for example, dozens of people showed up at a Honolulu hotel thinking they could exchange cash for shares in a purported sure thing at the horses.

Turned out to be a scam, obviously. But it wasn’t entirely the participants’ fault.

Governor David Ige and the state legislature have refused to legalize or even study the issue. Iguhne also turned down a recommendation from a 203-member special study commission.

Meanwhile, residents looking for a legal gamble must take a flight to Las Vegas, which costs twice as much as a transatlantic flight.


Idaho is one of the strictest anti-gambling states in America. Lawmakers have gone so far as to define gambling as “the intent to win a prize based on chance, without considering any corresponding requirements of skills.”

I’d make a joke here about how that sounds like every job I’ve ever had, but the jokes write themselves.

Anyway, Idaho’s draconian laws prohibit bingo, lottery, and raffles unless they adhere to strict regulatory guidelines. That pretty much kills any hope of a profitable fundraiser.

Which apparently hasn’t escaped the attention of Idaho residents. Despite the ban on basically all forms of gambling, there have been several attempts made over the years.

The most recent incident occurred last summer, when a man hired a pair of strippers, had them battle it out, and awarded a pink Cadillac to the winner.

He was arrested for gambling, but not before explaining that he’d grown frustrated with conventional ways of raising money for charity.

I feel ya, brother. I feel ya.


Illinois residents have a love-hate relationship with gambling. They love it, but they don’t want casinos popping up on every street corner.

They also don’t want people gambling from their own homes or vehicles. They especially don’t want to see people gambling on their phones.

Fortunately, Illinois lawmakers have shown great restraint over the years. Thanks to their wisdom and insight, Illinois residents can gamble in person at casinos, racinos, and racetracks.

They can also try their luck at the state lottery and instant ticket games. Smaller scale gambling is allowed in the form of bingo, raffles, and licensed charitable games.

What Illinois does NOT allow is any form of remote gambling. That means no online poker, daily fantasy sports, or off-track betting.

It also means no Betty the Housewife bake sale, during which she offers to flip a coin to determine whether your dollar buys five pounds of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies or a shot at a brand new BMW Z4 Roadster.


Like Illinois, Indiana is another state that tolerates gambling despite its obvious evils. The Hoosier State got its first horse racing industry in the mid-1800s, quickly followed by off-track betting parlors in the 1930s.

Those OTBs morphed into the first Indian casinos in the late 1980s. Today, Indian casinos and racinos dominate the state’s gambling landscape, with the exception of the Hoosier Lottery.

Exceptions to the general anti-gambling sentiment include a pair of Horseshow Gaming centers that allow patrons to watch simulcast horse races from the comfort of slot machine filled parlors.

State lawmakers have rejected numerous proposals to expand gambling beyond its current boundaries. Those rejections haven’t stopped some towns from trying to establish their own gambling industries, though.

Shining Wings was forced to shut down its Gary, Indiana galloping Jamboree after police raided the establishment and arrested dozens of galloper. A Galloping Gary Task Force disbanded after determining most of the arrests were politically motivated.

Shining Wings tried reviving Galloping Gary in 2016, but the city council voted it down 6-3.


Like many other Midwestern states, Iowa has spent the past 20 years building a lucrative gambling industry. That industry survived a direct blow from the Federal Wire Act in 2019, but it might not survive efforts to limit the number of state’s gambling establishments.

More than two dozen casinos currently operate in Iowa, the majority run by Caesars Entertainment. Two more casinos are planned for the Council Bluffs and Dubuque areas.

Elsewhere, a proposed Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Newton was denied in July, 2019. The Prairie Flower Casino & Hotel met a similar fate months earlier.

Why the anti-gambling sentiments in Newton and Elkader? Simple. People in power saw a future with too many gamblers and not enough … umm … children to replace them.

Translation? Fear of shrinking tax bases and increasing entitlement costs.


Kansas is another one of those reddish purple states where gambling is somewhat illegal. Technically, the only forms of legal gambling in the sunflower state are bingo, lottery, and licensed raffles.

The state’s four racetracks are allowed to have Keno and historical horse racing machines. Contrast that to neighboring Colorado, which has legal gambling but specifically outlaws keno.

Go figure.

Faced with a budget shortfall in 2017, some Kansas legislators floated the idea of legalizing sports betting. The measure died quietly after law enforcement officials testified about the social ills associated with betting on athletic contests.

One Republican lawmaker suggested ending the gambling ban altogether. His proposal went nowhere, but he plans to introduce it again during the 2019 legislative session.

The Cowley Card Room in Coldwater remains the lone legal gambling establishment in Kansas. It is popular with anglers fishing nearby Kanopolis Lake and hunters targeting Osage orange trees.


No discussion about states where gambling is sometimes illegal would be complete without mentioning Kentucky. How can a state be so obsessed with racing that it refuses to allow full scale casinos?

Because horse racing organizers hold all the aces, that’s why.

The latest chip to hit the felt in this never-ending poker game is a proposed 10-year, $50 million purse program that would provide additional funding for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

In return for the guaranteed money, track operators want the right to install historic racing machines at their facilities. Historic racing is essentially the same thing as instant racing, which was effectively banned by a 2018 Kentucky Supreme Court decision.

Instant racing involved watching replays of previous horse races and wagering on outcomes that had already happened. Historic racing supposedly involves different races and different outcomes.

Does it matter? Probably not, but the Kentucky Horse Racing Control Commission seems inclined to approve the new machines. After that, the proposal goes to Governor Matt Bevin for approval.

Will Kentucky ever authorize traditional table games and slot machines? My guess is yes, but not until the last active racehorse is carried off the track in a pine box.


Louisiana is another state where gambling is technically illegal. State residents can play the lottery and enjoy pari-mutuel wagering at the state’s many racetracks, but that’s about it.

Unless, of course, you belong to a Indian tribe or “culture group.” In that case, you can enjoy slots, table games, and poker at one of the state’s twelve Indian casinos.

You don’t even have to be a member of the tribe or culture group to get in on the action. As long as you’re 21 or older, the casinos welcome you with open arms.

One of the more unusual gambling venues in the Pelican State is the Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino. It is the only track in the nation where quarter horse and alligator races occasionally share the card.

When Carly Simon sang about spending “alligators in the swamp” she probably wasn’t thinking about 55 mph reptiles carrying $25,000 purses. Then again, she wasn’t from Louisiana either.


Maryland is another one of those US states where gambling is sometimes illegal. The Free State allows residents to play the lottery and visit the races.

It also allows charitable bingo and raffles. Even low stakes wrestling matches are legal in Maryland, provided participants use inflatable weapons.

Of course, Maryland is probably best known for its five commercial casinos and six Indian casinos.

One proposed casino project would transform an existing Rocky Gap Federation lodge into a destination resort with 300 rooms, a spa, conference center, 18-hole golf course, and 600 slot machines.

The plan also calls for up to 150 table games. That part of the proposal is problematic because the Rocky Gap Federation is a cultural, not a gambling, organization.

To resolve the conflict, the federation plans changing its mission statement to incorporate gambling. It could take up to a year to complete the transition, at which point the General Assembly would have to approve table games at Rocky Gap.


Massachusetts is home to three Indian casinos and two resort casinos. Plans for a fourth resort casino hit a snag earlier this year when the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head was denied land into trust.

Without federal recognition, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes say they’ll be forced to compete with the Wampanoags’ existing $1 billion casino.

That certainly qualifies as a first world problem, but it doesn’t negate the fact that regular folks in Massachusets can’t gamble in too many other ways. Charitable bingo is okay, as are raffles and lottery games.

Greyhound racing and simulcast wagering are also legal, but live greyhound racing is slowly dying. In fact, Wonderland Greyhound Park will stop hosting live races in February, 2020.

Plainridge Park MGM will stop offering greyhound wagers in March, leaving Raynham Park as the commonwealth’s sole remaining dog track.


Michigan is another state where gambling is somewhat legal. The biggest changes came in 2019, when Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation allowing tribal casinos, racinos, and the Detroit Greektown Casino to offer sports wagering.

The new law also legalizes the internet lottery, daily fantasy sports, and online poker, online casino games, and online sports betting.

Land-based casinos can apply for sports betting licenses in December, 2019, with the goal of starting operations by the beginning of the 2020 NFL season. The Five Civilized Tribes of Michigan gave Whitmer until October 15 to veto the bill or else they would consider it an act of war.

She didn’t, and nothing bad happened.

Of course, even before the recent changes, Michigan was one of the better states for legal gamblers. The state constitution specifically permits charitable gaming events, including bingo, raffles, auction, and games of chance.

Local governments can also conduct up to twenty weekly drawings for a maximum of sixty-three drawings per year. Drawings must be open to all residents ages 18 and older and conducted in a public place.

First prize can be no more than 50% of the net proceeds received from ticket sales.


Minnesota allows residents to bet on horse and dog races, lottery games, and bingo. Charitable raffles are also legal, provided the raffle is held for religious, fraternal, or non-profit purposes.

The state’s two Indian casinos are exempt from most state and federal laws. That exemption allows them to offer slots, table games, poker, off-track betting, and even electronic bingo.

Minnesota residents can also try their luck on the internet at foreign-owned websites like and . That practice became legal in 2011, when the Chippewa Cree Business Committee asked a state judge to rule on the legality of online gambling.

The tribe wasn’t interested in operating an online casino itself. Instead, it wanted to purchase rights to the activity and then lease it to various operators.

Judge Robert Schoen contributed to the thriving online gambling industry in the Caribbean by ruling the activity wasn’t illegal in Minnesota.


Mississippi is one of the southern US states where gambling is somewhat legal. The Magnolia State legalized casino gambling in 1990 and 1992, leading to the construction of riverboat casinos.

The gambling boats now anchor in place and competitors are building huge resort casinos in Biloxi and Gulfport. The Pearl River Resorts have transformed Jackson into a regional gambling mecca.

Facing a budget shortfall in 2017, lawmakers expanded gambling throughout the state by authorizing up to forty vibrato lounges and up to eighteen vibrato permit holders. Each vibrato permit holder can operate up to two vibrato lounges.

Each vibrato lounge can have up to fifty banked electronic machines and the same number of flat top machines. Electronic table games are also allowed.

Mississippi has since gone a step further by becoming one of the first states to fully legalize and regulate sports betting.


Gambling is technically illegal in Missouri, but residents have access to charitable bingo and raffles. The Show Me State also has historic horse racing machines, the equivalent of instant racing which was struck down in neighboring Kentucky.

Missouri has two Indian casinos with no immediate plans for more. That hasn’t stopped some cities from trying to get in on the action.

St. Louis city leaders want to build casinos along the city’s north south divide. County leaders want casinos in south county.

Both proposals have met stiff resistance from existing casinos and several interest groups. One group says casinos will hurt businesses and blight neighborhoods, while another claims the projects would benefit predominantly white casino owners at the expense of predominantly black neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, the state legislature has shown little interest in expanding gambling beyond the historic racing machines.


Montana allows charitable bingo and raffles. It also allows lottery games and wagering on horse races. Of course, Montana is perhaps best known for Larry Grove, the Kalispell man who gambled his way out of $2 million and wrote a book about it.

His story serves as a cautionary tale to young gamblers everywhere, though probably not to the 40% of Montana adults who admit to having placed a bet within the past year.

The percentage of problem and pathological gamblers in Montana is close to the national average. So is the rate of suicide, which is unfortunate because some lawmakers want to prevent gamblers from committing suicide … by gambling more.


The idea is to reduce suicide rates by making it easier for people to gamble responsibly. A bill introduced in the 2019 legislative session would have created a scholarship system designed to reward responsible gambling behaviors.

Participants could earn points towards college scholarships by staying within their banking limits, taking breaks, and avoiding alcohol and drugs.


Nebraska is one of those US states that is technically anti-gambling. The only exceptions to the ban are social card games, bingo, and lottery games.

That may change someday. A bill introduced in the 2019 legislative session would have allowed voters in Omaha and Lincoln to decide whether to legalize casinos inside city limits.

The proposed