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Gambling Regulations in Europe and USA – What Are the Key Differences?
March 19, 2021

Thousands of players from Europe and the USA are eager to register their gaming accounts in online casinos. This is because gambling has become more accessible to players with varying budgets. The recent years have also seen a gradual shift from land-based casino gambling to online casino gambling. However, as a beginner, you should first understand the legality of the casino that you intend to gamble at. Is it licensed and are the operations regulated? You may also seek to know which games you can play at the online casino, how much taxes if any you will be required to pay and generally what rules apply to gambling activities in your region.

Why do Countries Apply Gambling Regulations?

For many years, gambling has been an industry that has attracted both negative and positive criticism from governments and players alike. On the one hand, it can be a source of great revenue for the government. On the other hand, it can be a source of misery for the players involved if they do not do so responsibly. It can also be a conduit of money laundering activities if not regulated well. Consequently, regulating the gambling industry has brought out benefits such as:

  • Protecting casino players from being exploited by rogue operators. This includes ensuring that the game results are fair and that all players have an equal chance of winning.
  • Ensuring that players gamble responsibly when they have attained a legal age and after they have met their financial obligations.
  • Ensuring that fraudsters and money launderers do not use casinos to launder dirty money
  • Revoking the licenses of operators who have been found guilty of malpractice in the gambling industry

Major Differences in Online Casino USA and Online Casino Europe

There are thousands of online casinos spread out over the USA and Europe. However, the rules and guidelines that govern both regions are different and may not be applicable to all players. Some of the major regulations that players from both regions should note include:

1. Online Gambling Regulations in the USA

Online gambling laws in the USA have been set up by the different states. As such, there is no single gambling regulator that oversees the gambling operations for all the states. In some instances, interstate gambling is prohibited and a state can strictly prohibit gambling within its borders. While some states completely restrict land-based and online gambling, some states apply some rules on online gambling. The regulations are also applied to specific game varieties and even in states that support online gambling, it is restricted on the types of games the USA casinos can host.

There has been a recent relaxation of the strict rules regarding online gambling, with some states changing their stance on the same and allowing a few gaming operators to offer online gambling services. Currently, about a dozen states support online gambling on some game varieties. Here are some of the states where you can legally gamble online:

Players can bet online on sports and horse racing. Online poker, online casino and online lotteries are not yet legally accepted in Colorado. Players must also be 21 years or older to be able to bet real money on sports and horses. Players can also sign up at offshore online casinos to access online casino games.

There has been a recent relaxation of the strict rules regarding online gambling, with some states changing their stance on the same and allowing a few gaming operators to offer online gambling services. Currently, about a dozen states support online gambling on some game varieties. Here are some of the states where you can legally gamble online:

Delaware State supports all forms of online gambling. This includes online casino, poker and online sports betting activities.

Players can access online Sportsbetting services at some of the casinos in Illinois. However, online poker and online casino activities are currently not supported.

Online Sportsbetting services have been available in Indiana since early 2019.This is available in state-regulated sportsbooks and offshore bookmakers. Other activities such as online casino and online poker are yet to be legalized in the state.

Iowa state legalizes online Sportsbetting, fantasy sports and online horse racing. The state however prohibits online casino gambling. Players must be at least 21 years to place real money sports betting wagers at the online sportsbooks.

Michigan gambling fans are about to enjoy convenient gambling and betting on sports on the internet after the state legalized online gambling. The service is expected to be available on Michigan’s licensed land-based casinos. The law which allows online poker and Sportsbetting in Michigan was passed in December 2019 and by mid-January 2021 players will not have to be restricted to only gambling at the casino premises.

Players from Montana can join offshore online gambling sites. The main requirement is that one must be above 18 to be able to join an online gaming site. Players can also access all the major real money game varieties such as Sportsbetting, online poker, bingo and other icasino games. However, you should note that you cannot play online casino games at a local site that has been regulated by the state of Montana.

Nevada is among the states that have tried to balance online gambling with brick and mortar casino gaming. This is understandable as its prestigious land-based casinos and casino resorts such as MGM Grand and the Wynn and Encore complex are among the great contributors to the state’s revenue. As such, they have embraced some forms of online gambling such as online betting on real money online poker and online Sportsbetting. Online real money casino games are however not yet supported in the state that is best known for its Las Vegas gambling activities.

New Hampshire
You can bet online on sports, daily fantasy and lottery gambling. One must also be at least 18 years to gamble online. Players can however access online gambling in offshore gaming sites.

New Jersey
It is among the states that have relaxed its hold on online gambling. Consequently, players can play online poker, online casino games and also place online sports bets. It is also among the states with a large number of legalized online casinos. The main requirement is that the online casino must possess a license from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE)

Online casinos and online poker are restricted at Oregon State. Players can however access legalized online Sportsbetting.

Online sports betting and online casinos are legalized in the state. This includes betting on sports, online poker rooms, lottery, fantasy sports and online casino games.

Rhode Island
Players can place online sports bets. Online casinos and online poker rooms are however not yet legalized in the state.

West Virginia
2020 saw the legalization of online gambling in West Virginia. This includes supporting online Sportsbetting, online poker rooms and online casino gaming.

Land-based Gambling in USA

Land-based gambling in the USA is a bit relaxed seeing as land-based gambling has been existing in some states as early as the 17th century. The Native American tribes, such as American Indian tribes have been dominating the USA gambling industry and are some of the owners of the largest casinos and casino resorts in the world. Land-based gambling however, is also generally regulated and legalized by the specific states. There is therefore no specific law that applies to the gambling activities in the different states.

The only major law would be that players must have reached the legal gambling age, which could be 18 or 21 depending on the specific state and casino. For instance, depending on age, one could be allowed into the drinking area of the casino or resort site.

2. Gambling Regulations in Europe

The EU provides a common ground for many activities among its member countries ranging from trade and travel among others. However, there is no single gambling regulation that operates across the board. Different member countries have specific regulations that apply on the casino games and the overall operations in the gambling industry.

Some countries have legalized and regulated land-based and online casino gambling on virtually all games such as sports, lotteries and casino games. Some European Union countries only support some forms of gambling. However, in relation to the gambling regulations in the USA, players from European countries can enjoy a larger variety of games and get access to more gambling sites. Some of the major regulations applicable in some of the member countries are:

Players from France must be at least 18 years of age to be allowed to gamble at a casino. Since the legalization of some forms of online betting in 2010 by ARJEL, players can gamble online on sports, horse racing and online poker. Players must also remit the set tax amounts on their poker gambling winnings. Games of chance such as slots are not licensed.

Gambling was legalized in Italy in 2006 to include land-based and online Sportsbetting. The 2011 amendment on gambling laws has seen other forms of gambling such as online poker and online casino games be legalized. The licensing body mandated to oversee this is the AAMS (Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies). Players must meet the required tax on the winnings they collect through online gambling.


There are some common regulations that all players in Casino Europe sites and Casino USA sites must meet such as only gambling when they are of legal age. However, the other major applicable laws are region specific and it is advisable to understand which laws apply to your region.

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