Latest Updates in Online Gambling Regulation in North America

Online casinos in America have gone through a tremendous change in the past couple of years. Ever since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, brick-and-mortar brands have started launching legal online casinos in different states. Online casinos are not the only ones that have become regulated, the regulation also applies to sportsbooks, which brands are also launching.

This article will discuss how are online casino sites regulated in the USA and Canada. Without further ado, let’s get started.

How Online Gambling Regulation Works in the USA

Online casinos in USA operate in a specific way due to the legal system of the country. There are Federal Laws and State Laws. The PASPA repeal is important because it was a regulation on a Federal level. Therefore, all the US states had to follow it. With it out of the way, each state has the freedom to regulate different types of gambling. These include:

  • Horse betting
  • Sports betting
  • Casinos
  • Poker
  • Bingo and lottery
  • DFS

Therefore, casinos online can be legal in one state and completely illegal in another state. Still, residents of one state can gamble in another state, as long as they are within its territory. Let’s take a look at three examples and see how New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania regulate gambling.

New Jersey

New Jersey is at the forefront of online casinos USA regulation. The state had a big role in PASPA repeal, and it was practically already ready to regulate digital gambling. This state has the highest number of regulated gambling platforms, and those searching for New Jersey online casinos have dozens of options at their disposal. It’s no wonder that New Jersey is leading the online casinos America race, Atlantic City is home to many brick-and-mortar casinos.


Michigan is another state where online gambling has been legalized. It did take some time for bills to pass the House. While the regulation was signed into law in 2019, the first retail sportsbooks were started operating in 2020 but it wasn’t until January 2021 that sports betting, Michigan online casinos and poker went live. Over 15 different sportsbooks and casinos went live in by the end of January, making it a very big launch for the US online gambling scene.


Pennsylvania is another state where online gambling is completely legal. It was among the first states to regulate it. Gamblers can enjoy sports betting, casinos, lottery as well as poker right from their devices. The gambling industry is an important element of the Pennsylvanian economy, which receives a significant boost from it. Like in other regulated states, there are over 15 different brands present to provide gambling services to Pennsylvanians.

How Online Gambling Regulation Works in Canada

Online casinos in Canada work a little bit differently. The country is quite late with its regulation, given that almost half of the US and the whole of Europe are regulated. Since there is no regulation, the market is considered grey. That means that players can access online casinos Canada that are regulated in other countries. Therefore, all the brands holding licenses from Malta Gaming Authority and UK Gambling Commission operate legally in Canada.

The only exception is the Ontario province. Since April 2022, Ontarians can legally gamble only on platforms that hold licenses from the iGaming Ontario. It’s quite likely that other provinces will soon follow, which will change how online casinos in Canada operate.


Comparison of Legal Online Casinos in Canada and the USA 

Until the market in Canada become regulated completely, it’s going to be quite different than the one in the US. An important difference to mention is that the legal gambling age is different, being 21 in the US and 19 in Canada. Plus, taxes work differently in this country because the US has much higher taxes than Canada.

In terms of how laws operate, these countries are similar. Each Canadian province can regulate digital gambling in the same way as individual US states do. Ontario is the perfect example where online casinos and sportsbooks are now fully regulated.

Do legal Online Casinos in North America Work Differently from European Ones?

European casinos operate a bit differently than the ones in the US. Even though different rules apply to every country in Europe, it’s possible to run a gambling platform without partnering up with a brick-and-mortar casino. In the US, in many states, partnering up with local brick-and-mortar brands is necessary to establish an online sportsbook or a casino. Plus, the gambling age is different, starting at 18 in Europe.


The online casino industry in the US is going through a growth period. Brands are continuing to rush to the new market to claim a piece of it. It’s likely that more states will regulate their gambling and boost their local economies that way. Instead of residents having to travel to another state, they’ll be able to have fun right from their homes.

Huynh Nguyen

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