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Online gambling & casino legislation in North America


The North American online gambling industry is worth billions of dollars yearly, and in today's article I will dive into the different laws and regulations that currently are in place.

Betting Sites & Online Casinos in Canada

Online gambling is a bit of a gray zone in Canada. There is regulation in place that prohibits anyone from operating a so called “common gaming house” without the proper license in place (and there is no way of attaining a license for online gaming in Canada if you are not a government owned entity).

However, the loophole is casino operators that offer their products online, from offshore locations.

This means that gambling site, as long as they are located in foreign nations, can legally offer real money gambling to Canadian players. And at this time there are over 250 online casinos accepting Canadian players, according to the online.casino.

Also, the Canadian federal law does not state that online gambling is illegal. In other words, Canadian casino players are not breaking any laws when gambling online.

Online Gambling in the United States

The United States gambling laws are way more complex than in Canada.

For many years, US online gambling have been illegal. This was because of the Wire Act, which prohibits betting on sports across state borders.

However, back in 2011 the DOJ made it possible for US states to decide for themselves if they wanted to legalise gambling in different forms, like Lottery, Bingo, Sports Betting and Casino.

It took just over 2 years until we saw the first states, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, legalising internet gaming.

Today, the following US states have legal online gambling in some form:

  • West Virginia
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan
  • Delaware
  • Mississippi
  • Iowa
  • Rhode Island

And the following US states are considering laws which would legalize gambling in some form:

  • North Carolina
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Tennessee
  • New Hampshire
  • California

Gambling regulation in Mexico

Today, real money casinos, betting sites or lottery sites are regulated in Mexico. This means Mexican players can bet online without breaking laws. However, its also not considered fully legal.

As with Canada, it’s a gray zone, and this adds risk to punters looking to bet online on unregulated sites from offshore islands. The risk of not getting your money when winning, or other unfair events to occur is much higher when playing on unregulated casino sites.

However, the Mexican government are currently reviewing their laws and the 1947 Federal Gaming Law Bill. This could very well lead to Mexico becoming a regulated market within the near future.


Compared to European internet gaming laws, the regulations in North America are truly a few years behind. However, the wheels are turning and more nations and states are considering legal options for punters to bet on the internet. A future where all of the United States have legal online gambling is probably not that likely, but surely a majority will legalise internet real money gaming. Sooner or later.