The Most and Least Gambling-Friendly States in 2023

The Most and Least Gambling-Friendly States in 2023

It has been found that of the U.S. adult population who gamble online or in person, 10% do so at least once a week. At the same time, the U.S. online gambling market hit a record $54.93 billion in revenue in 2022.

These statistics prove many U.S. states are loosening their grip on gambling restrictions and embracing gambling activities.

However, despite this growing acceptance, some states still maintain strict gambling policies, prohibiting residents from numerous betting games.

The Most Gambling-Friendly States in the U.S.

Here are the most prominent gambling-accommodating states in the United States.

New Jersey

New Jersey allows various gambling activities, such as online sports gaming, casinos, and poker, and also has a number of land-based casinos for residents and tourists to enjoy. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement regulates gambling activities in the state. And, provided they are 21 and above, all New Jersey residents can participate in any of these games.

Online casinos started in New Jersey in 2013, and online sports betting went live in July 2018. On the other hand, the state began regulating DFS sites in 2017.

New Jersey offers multiple online gambling site options to boost its reputation as a prominent gambling-friendly state. So, if you want to play in New Jersey, browse from the various casino and sportsbook mobile sites available.


Although the Keystone State was relatively late to join the party of gambling-friendly US states, it has quickly become a pioneer in the US gambling scene. 

Starting with horse racing betting, legalized in 1959, Pennsylvania has since legalized more games to keep gamers entertained all year. Gamers can legally play slot and table games like roulette, baccarat, and poker, both in person and online.

Interestingly, the first bills designed to regulate online gambling in PA were prepared in 2013, the year online casinos were launched in New Jersey. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that the legislature passed the bill.

Since that time, online gambling activities in Pennsylvania have boomed year on year. The state currently ranks as one of the most recognized online gambling states in the United States. Following the recent regulations, any Pennsylvania resident can participate in games offered by licensed casinos, online sportsbooks, or mobile betting apps.


Nevada has a long history of gambling dating back to the state’s inception, as sports betting has been legalized since 1949. Poker, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports (DFS) betting are permitted in Nevada, while online casino gambling is not. Of course, in person casino gaming is legal and thriving, and is regulated by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Commission.

In addition, DFS gambling sites operating in Nevada must undergo licensing and approval processes to be acceptable.

Least Gambling-Friendly States in the U.S.

Many US states embrace online and in person gambling activities and amend their policies to accommodate more games. Yet, some states have rigorous online gambling policies and more or less ban it completely.


Several policies have been established to regulate gambling in Texas. For instance, while participating in state-sponsored lotteries and charitable gambling is legal, social gambling is regulated, and sportsbooks and online casinos are not allowed to operate within Texas. However, the upside is that Texans can sign up to online gambling sites and apps based in other jurisdictions where online casinos are permitted (offshore gambling sites).

Texans have voiced their desire to introduce legal sports betting and even online casinos through polls conducted in the state. Bettors and sports teams in the state hope that the legalization of sports betting in neighboring states, like New Mexico and online sports betting in Louisiana, will pressure Texas to follow suit, although it remains to be seen if and when this could happen (source: readwrite).


What comes to mind when the name Hawaii pops up?

Volcanoes, vacations, cultural sites, etc. These features make the state a nice place to relax and unwind. However, Hawaii isn’t the perfect spot for individuals whose relaxation involves any form of gambling.

This is because the Aloha State frowns upon all gambling-related activities, both in person and online. The residents and the state government believe betting games threaten the state’s traditional and cultural appeal.

Therefore, Hawaii residents are prohibited from engaging in betting of any kind, be it involving casino games, lotteries, sports betting, poker, or fantasy sports. All forms of gambling are considered misdemeanor offenses, and owning a gambling device is illegal.


Washington has strict regulations regarding gambling activities. All gambling devices, such as slot machines, pachinko, video poker machines, etc., are illegal.

However, licensed casinos can operate strictly on Indian reservations only. In addition, certain games and licensed horse racing gambling are permitted to help raise funds for charitable organizations.

Although Washington officially prohibits gambling offshore, this law hasn’t been enforced. As a result, many residents of Washington who are eighteen years and above play on international gambling sites.

Final thoughts

States like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nevada have embraced gambling activities and are reaping the benefits in terms of revenue and entertainment. However, Texas, Hawaii, and Washington are among the states that still maintain their stance against prohibiting or highly regulating online gambling activities.

Therefore, it is best to understand your state’s gambling regulations to play safely.

Author: Alan Morris