It’s Friday night, and you’ve got the itch to try your luck, throw some dice, and maybe even hit the jackpot. But before you dust off that lucky rabbit’s foot and hop in your car, you might wonder, “Does my state even allow casinos?” Sure, you know places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City are a gambler’s paradise, but what about the rest of the US?
Contrary to popular belief, gambling isn’t universally legal across the country. The right to regulate gambling is left to individual states, not the federal government. As of now, only two states—Utah and Hawaii—have completely banned all forms of gambling. The remaining 48 states have some level of legalized gambling, though restrictions vary widely.
It’s not just about casinos—states regulate a broad range of activities like lotteries, sports betting, bingo, and even charitable events. The Wire Act of 1961 once controlled the gambling landscape, but advancements like the Department of Justice’s 2011 reinterpretation have made room for state-level online gambling laws.
The Not-So-Lucky Ones: States that Don’t Allow Casinos
Let’s find out who’s missing out on the casino fun:
- Utah leaves no room for chance. There are no lotteries, no bingo, and certainly no casinos. Even charities can’t hold raffles. Talk about playing it safe!
- Hawaii doesn’t greet gamblers with open arms, either. The state has no casinos, and even cruise ships can’t offer gambling activities within the state’s jurisdiction.
- Alabama has three casinos and two greyhound tracks in operation, but they’re limited in scope.
- Alaska lawmakers have seen no need to introduce commercial gambling.
- Arizona’s casinos are confined to Native American reservations.
- California, known for its tribal casinos focused on poker, has unique laws that don’t classify poker as gambling.
- Connecticut restricts casinos to tribal lands, with laws requiring a 25% payout on slot wins. Jai Alai and racing are also permitted.
- Florida pioneered decriminalizing greyhounds and horse racing while establishing the state lottery as its first form of legal gambling. But the state has no commercial casinos.
- Georgia restricts almost all forms of gambling, allowing only state-run lotteries and some home poker games without rakes or entry fees.
- Idaho is home to racetracks and tribal casinos, but these focus on video poker and slot machines rather than table games.
- Kansas houses three state-run casinos and five Native American casinos on reservation lands.
- Kentucky allows horse betting and the state lottery but struggles to expand into other forms of gambling like casinos.
- Minnesota permits off-track betting and horse racing. Casinos are confined to Native American reservations.
- Montana features bars with video lottery machines and poker tables, but table games remain illegal.
- Nebraska is limited to a state lottery, keno, and charity bingo.
- New Hampshire enables charity-based gambling, including poker rooms, which are sometimes called New Hampshire Casinos.
- New Mexico allows tribal casinos, but other forms of gambling need specific state exemptions.
- North Carolina restricts casinos to Cherokee tribal land, with a focus on skill-based games.
- North Dakota allows casinos only on Native American reservations, featuring a range of legal games.
- Oklahoma is dominated by tribal casinos that operate on Native American lands.
- Oregon hosts ten tribal casinos offering numerous gambling options.
- South Carolina has widespread video poker cabinets. The only other legal forms of gambling are the state lottery and casino cruises.
- Tennessee has very few options. Aside from the state lottery, casinos and gambling are absent.
- Texas has stringent laws against casinos. Horse and greyhound races are exceptions, but even those are tightly regulated.
- Vermont is almost devoid of gambling, save for occasional charity events and a state lottery.
- Virginia lacks casinos but offers transport services to nearby states with legalized gambling.
- Washington, DC, limits residents to lottery gambling.
- Wisconsin is home to 22 operational casinos, primarily benefiting Native American tribes.
- Wyoming restricts casinos to tribal lands and limits games to those requiring skill, such as poker.
Why No Dice? Reasons for Gambling Restrictions
Concerns about higher crime rates, compulsive gambling, and social issues often inform the decision to restrict or prohibit gambling. While critics argue that it’s a regressive tax on local economies, some states believe the cons outweigh the pros.
For those in states without casinos, online gambling offers a ray of hope. Several states have regulated and legalized online casinos, allowing residents to play without crossing state lines.
Book a Trip to Black Hawk, CO
The gambling laws in Colorado are relatively liberal, allowing a diverse range of activities from casinos to lotteries to horse racing. The state has both commercial and tribal casinos, with the majority located in three historic mountain towns: Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek. These casinos offer table games like poker and blackjack, as well as slot machines and sports betting. Colorado also has a state lottery that includes scratch-off tickets and drawings.
Whether you call Colorado home or live in a state without casinos, Black Hawk welcomes you! This beautiful destination set in the heart of the Rockies is the ultimate mountain getaway. See for yourself why Black Hawk is one of Colorado’s top destinations for casino gaming, gourmet dining, and relaxing hotel stays—plan your visit today!