Most Restrictive States When It Comes to Gambling Online in the USA

Most Restrictive States When It Comes to Gambling Online in the USA

Online gambling in the United States is regulated by a complex patchwork of state laws, with some states adopting a more permissive stance whilst others remain highly restrictive.

This article will look into the most restrictive states for online gambling in 2024, with a focus on Georgia, Hawaii, Utah, and Alaska.

We will also look at other states that impose significant restrictions, examining the reasons behind these regulations and their implications for residents.

Georgia: Strict Prohibition and Minimal Progress

Georgia is known for its conservative stance on gambling. The state's constitution explicitly bans most forms of gambling, and this prohibition extends to online gambling. Efforts to introduce any form of legalised gambling, including sports betting and online casinos, have consistently met with resistance in the state legislature. You can read a more in-depth coverage here.

  • Legal Landscape: Georgia's gambling laws are among the strictest in the country. The state allows a lottery and charitable gaming but prohibits commercial casinos and online gambling platforms. The only games allowed in Georgia are bingo and raffles.
  • Recent Developments: Although there have been discussions about legalising sports betting, these efforts have faced significant opposition. Proponents argue that legalisation could provide substantial tax revenue, but moral and social concerns continue to dominate the debate.

Hawaii: A Complete Ban on All Forms of Gambling

Hawaii is one of the two states in the U.S. that prohibits all forms of gambling. This includes online gambling, commercial casinos, lotteries, and horse racing.

  • Cultural and Social Reasons: Hawaii's strict anti-gambling laws are deeply rooted in cultural and social concerns. The state places a strong emphasis on preserving its family-oriented image and protecting residents from the potential negative impacts of gambling.
  • Legislative Stance: Over the years, there have been proposals to introduce a state lottery or legalised sports betting, but these have consistently failed to gain traction. The state government remains firmly opposed to any form of gambling expansion.

Utah: The Most Stringent Anti-Gambling State

Utah stands out as the most restrictive state in the U.S. regarding gambling. The state has a complete ban on all forms of gambling, including online gambling, which is enforced through both state law and the Utah Constitution.

  • Religious Influences: Utah's large Mormon population, which generally opposes gambling on religious grounds, heavily influences the state's anti-gambling stance.
  • Legal Framework: There is no legal framework for any form of gambling in Utah. Efforts to introduce gambling have been minimal, and the state is unlikely to change its position in the foreseeable future.

Alaska: Limited Gambling Options and Strict Online Prohibition

Alaska allows limited forms of gambling, such as charitable gaming (bingo and pull-tab games), but prohibits commercial and online gambling.

  • Geographic and Demographic Factors: Alaska's remote and sparsely populated nature contributes to its limited gambling options. The state's small population and vast distances make it challenging to justify the infrastructure required for larger gambling operations.
  • Legislative Attempts: There have been occasional discussions about expanding gambling laws, but these efforts have not gained significant momentum. Online gambling remains firmly illegal under current regulations.

Other Highly Restrictive States

South Carolina

South Carolina has some of the strictest gambling laws in the nation. The state allows limited charitable gaming but explicitly bans online gambling. Efforts to introduce any form of legal gambling face significant resistance.


Idaho permits only limited forms of gambling, such as pari-mutuel betting and tribal casinos. Online gambling is illegal, and there has been little legislative effort to change this.


Whilst Tennessee has legalised online sports betting, it remains one of the few states without land-based casinos. Online casino games and poker are still illegal, reflecting the state's cautious approach to gambling expansion.


Alabama has restrictive gambling laws, with limited legal options such as tribal casinos and pari-mutuel betting. Online gambling is prohibited, and attempts to expand gambling laws have faced strong opposition.

Implications of Restrictive Gambling Laws

The restrictive gambling laws in these states have several significant implications:

  1. Limited Access to Legal Gambling: Residents in these states have limited access to legal gambling options, often leading them to seek out illegal or offshore sites that lack regulatory oversight and consumer protections.
  2. Economic Impact: These states miss out on potential economic benefits, such as tax revenue and job creation, associated with a regulated gambling market.
  3. Legal Risks for Residents: Engaging in online gambling in these restrictive states can result in legal consequences, including fines and other penalties. It is crucial for residents to be aware of their state's laws and adhere to them to avoid such risks.


Whilst the landscape of online gambling in the United States varies widely, some states maintain particularly stringent restrictions. Georgia, Hawaii, Utah, and Alaska are notable for their highly restrictive laws, reflecting a combination of cultural, social, and economic factors.

For residents in these states, the limited legal options can be frustrating, but adherence to state laws is essential to avoid legal repercussions. As the debate over online gambling continues, it will be interesting to see if any of these states reconsider their positions in the future.

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