Online Gambling in Utah: an Expert Guide

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Online Gambling in Utah: an Expert Guide

Utah is one of two U.S. states with a 100% ban on gambling, so Utah’s gambling laws are tied with Hawaii for the strictest and least forgiving. A person in Utah cannot legally gamble at brick-and-mortar casinos, sportsbooks, online poker sites, or race tracks with pari-mutuel wagering. Utah has no state lottery and it certainly does not allow Powerball or Mega Millions lottery betting. Even charitable gambling in bingo halls is considered illegal.

While Utah’s gambling laws leave no gray area for gamblers, that does not mean Utah’s ban is 100% effective. Like any activity which is popular, bans do not work. Utah online gamblers therefore sign up at unregulated offshore online casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks, and bingo halls.  It would be naïve to believe Utahans do not gamble.

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Utah Online Gambling Laws FAQ

Utah Gambling Laws

Gambling is not legal in the state of Utah. Any and all forms of gambling are 100% restricted in Utah. Because a majority of the population is Mormon — and a majority of its lawmakers — it is illegal to gamble in any way in Utah. While many states in the deep south of the USA restricts gambling severely, not even Alabama, Tennessee, or South Carolina have a comprehensive ban on gambling. Utah does.

In fact, Hawaii is the only state in the Union besides Utah to 100% ban gambling. Hawaii’s statutes discuss how gambling brings players and operators into disrepute. Utah does not have such high-flown language. It simply bans all forms of gambling.

SOURCES:

Utah Criminal Code – Gambling

HB 23 Outlaws Fringe Gambling

 

Does Utah Have Land-Based Casinos?

No. Utah bans all forms of gambling.

This prohibition includes brick-and-mortar casinos.

Does Utah Have Any Legal Betting Tracks?

No. Though many states which outlaw other forms of gambling legalize horse racing (example: Kentucky), Utah even bans pari-mutuel wagering.

The Utah Horse Racing Commission exists, though it regulates non-gaming horse races in the state.

The Racing Commission’s duty is to “license, regulate, and supervise all persons involved in the racing of horses” and to “license, regulate, and supervise all recognized race meets held in this state.” These race meets do not involve pari-mutuel wagering, though, because gambling is strictly illegal in Utah.

Does Utah Allow Off-Track Betting?

No. Utah has not off-track betting facilities or betting shops.

If you want to enjoy simulcasting at an OTB facility, you need to drive to a neighboring state like Nevada.

 

Does Utah Allow Charitable Gambling?

No. Utah does not permit charitable gaming.

Though non-profit charitable gambling is considered among the most harmless forms of gambling and helps civic, religious, and veterans’ organizations, the Utah legislature maintains a strict 100% ban on charitable bingo and raffles.

Is Social Gaming Allowed in Utah?

Yes. Because Utah has a strict ban on most forms of gambling, its legislature is not always responsive to the newest forms of gaming.

Social casino games found on sites like Facebook are considered harmless (and are). Since they do not allow people to sign up for real money gambling, Utah has not passed laws banning social gaming sites.

If you want to play for free on Big Fish Games, Double Down Casino, Slotomania from Playtika, or Zynga, it is legal to do so at the moment. Do not pay for bonus chips, because that might be considered illegal gambling.

PlayMGM, a free-to-play casino site owned by MGM Resorts, is not active in Utah. MGM Resorts provides real life rewards for freeplay on PlayMGM, so its use in Utah could lead to questions of legality.

Social card games played in the privacy of one’s home are legal, so long as no gambling takes place. The way the laws are written, a poker game with small cash wagered presumably would not be raided by law enforcement, so long as the organizer does not collect a rake from each hand.

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