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United States Gambling Regulation a Patchwork of Laws

In the United States, it is impossible to pin down any one specific law for gambling. The federal laws of the country maintain that gambling is legal in the United States, for the most part, and that individual states are in charge of making their own laws and gambling regulation for their citizens.

There are a few federal statutes such as the Wire Act and the Rico Statute, which are intended to limit interstate gambling and cut down on illegal racketeering. Recently, federal laws have been used by the US Justice Department to limit US citizens’ usage of online gambling sites, shutting down top online poker websites or seizing funds of offshore bookmaking websites. Legal challenges mean that nothing is yet resolved

Otherwise, all gambling regulation takes place purely at the state level. One of the most popular forms of state-sponsored gaming is lotteries. In 1964, New Hampshire was the first state to offer a lottery, and many others soon followed suit. By the year 2012, 44 out of 50 states offered some sort of state-run lottery with the goal of the game to boost revenue and fund schools, libraries, and other government institutions.

Currently, lotteries, lotto games, and scratch cards are limited to the residents of the particular state which offers the game. But for the hundreds of Indian casinos, racetracks, and commercial casinos scattered around the country, all you have to do is be present to be able to play. Most casinos require a player to be 21 years old in order to play, but some Indian casinos (which can make some of their own regulations due to the peculiar sovereignty laws of Indian reservations) allow players form 18 years old.

US gambling laws are constantly changing, and the only thing that can be said for certain is that nothing is ever certain as far as gambling regulation in the United States.


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