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Sweepstakes casino licenses in the US

Jerard Villena Author Profile Picture

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Jerard V.

Date Post

Nov 23, 2023

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Overview of US-based sweepstakes casino licenses

In the past two decades, the gambling industry in the United States has experienced a massive transformation. More and more states are embracing and legalizing gambling establishments and websites. Online gambling platforms, including traditional real money and online sweepstakes casinos, have experienced a significant rise over the past few years.

However, it’s worth noting that legalization is still going slowly, as regulations are happening on the state level, creating an intricate maze of rules and regulations that significantly vary from state to state an d between casino types. That’s also why encountering an entirely legal and safe online sweepstakes casino without a license is so common.

Today, we’ll dive deeper into these state-level rules and regulations, mention the most well-known regulatory entities, and examine what a US-based sweepstakes casino needs to obtain a proper gambling license and adhere to all the necessary rules.

Rules and regulations at the state level

Despite the name of the United States of America, gambling licenses and regulations are still happening at the state level. No single national entity is handling all gambling regulations across the country.

Therefore, traditional in-person and online casinos, including real money and sweepstakes casinos, are regulated by state-level entities responsible for creating rules and issuing casino licenses on a state level. That creates an issue where these rules, regulations, and permits vary considerably from state to state, making legalizing the casino for the entire country nearly impossible.

Key regulatory entities

Before we dive deeper into the varying rules and regulations of these state-level casino regulation entities, let’s examine some of the key ones responsible for issuing casino licenses for US-based online sweepstakes casinos. Some of the most well-known ones include the following:

  • Nevada gaming commission and nevada gaming control board – Nevada is among the few states with a two-agency approach to regulating gaming and gambling. These two agencies are responsible for in-person Vegas-based casinos and online platforms.
  • Arizona department of gaming – This establishment oversees and regulates all gaming and gambling activities and websites based in Arizona.
  • New jersey division of gaming enforcement – As the name suggests, this agency enforces rules on all gaming and gambling establishments and websites in the bustling hub of such activities in New Jersey.
  • Pennsylvania gaming control board – Since Pennsylvania is one of the few states that has entirely endorsed the gambling wave and completely accepted online sweepstakes casinos, it’s clear why they’ve established a gaming control board to regulate such activities.
  • Michigan gaming control board – This agency is responsible for horse racing, tribal casinos, millionaire parties, Detroit-based casinos, and all internet gaming and fantasy contests in Michigan.
  • California bureau of gambling control and california gambling control commission – California has established a bureau to ensure the integrity of all gambling locations and websites. It’s created a haven for honest gambling, ensuring it’s free of criminal activities and working with the commission to regulate the gambling industry.
  • New York state gaming commission – This establishment handles all gaming, lottery, and horse racing events in New York, providing responsible gaming measures in all gaming facilities here.
  • Florida gaming control commission – This five-member regulatory agency handles all regulations related to gambling, pari-mutuel wagering, slot machine establishments, cardrooms, and gaming websites in Florida. This agency regulates everything except the state lottery.
  • Delaware gaming enforcement – They ensure the integrity of Delaware’s gaming industry, create maps of licensed and regulated in-person casinos, and offer responsible gambling tools to Delaware-operated online sweepstakes casinos and similar gaming websites.

These are only a handful of examples of regulatory entities responsible for licensing US-based sweepstakes casinos. Many more also exist, with New Jersey’s state website listing more than 50 in the country.

As mentioned, most of these operate on a state level, and most states have independent gaming control boards. However, tribal-level regulatory entities also exist, and we’ll dive deeper into how this works below.

The legal status of online sweepstakes casinos varies

The existence of so many different regulatory entities showcases the significantly varying rules and regulations of sweepstakes platforms nationwide. Although most states have independent establishments that govern online sweepstakes casinos, many other states treat them as equals to traditional in-person or real money online casinos, which they’re not.

Moreover, some US states might not permit online sweepstakes casinos, treating them as traditional gambling and altogether banning them in that state. Washington is a perfect example of such a state – no casino or gambling is allowed here.

Generally speaking, apart from Washington, all other US states have technically made online sweepstakes casinos legal. However, a few other states have stringent laws, including Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, New York, Kentucky, Delaware, and Michigan.

US-based online sweepstakes casinos can have issues regulating in these states. It’s also highly recommended to check the casino’s terms and conditions if you’re from one of these states.

Tribal gaming – Additional layer of complexity

Although some gaming commissions and gambling control boards also regulate tribal gaming casinos and websites, more often than not, these gaming operations fall under an entirely new category, adding a layer of complexity to regulating such sweepstakes casinos in the country.

If a tribal nation operates a casino on its land, whether an in-person establishment or an online sweepstakes platform, it adheres to different rules and regulations. A tribal gaming commission often handles such casinos, and they’re subject to federal laws instead of state-level authorities and organizations.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is a perfect example of such a federal law, showcasing that the requirements for tribal casinos can vary considerably from those regulated by state-level agencies and authorities.

Final thoughts

United States sweepstakes casinos adhere to multiple rules and regulations. Therefore, conducting due diligence and thoroughly researching the requirements, rules, regulations, and agencies you must contact beforehand is vital. Otherwise, your investment in such a company, your startup, or a sweepstakes casino website can fail to succeed.

Additionally, the entities, establishments, and regulatory agencies surrounding in-person Vegas-like casinos and traditional or sweepstakes online casinos significantly vary from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, Washington has banned gambling establishments and websites altogether, while some states have strict rules.

Finally, since we’re talking about a complex industry with multiple rules and exceptions, consulting industry and legal experts is highly advisable and will quickly get you on track to legalizing and operating your sweepstakes casino. You’ll ensure compliance with all the necessary laws and regulations and avoid fines and forced shutdowns.


Jerard Villena Author Profile Picture

The Author

Jerard Villena Author Profile Picture

Jerard V.

Content Writer

the author

Meet Jerard, an experienced content creator, and an all-things tech guy. He's here to help guide you through the landscape of sweepstakes casinos, one review at a time. Jerard’s passion for producing high-quality content that’s useful to the readers is always his top priority. Being a lifelong gamer has given him the skill to quickly distinguish what games in a casino's library are good or bad, to ultimately give you the best recommendations. Aside from work, Jerard loves traveling around his home country, the Philippines. A country composed of thousands of islands and with a very diverse culture where there’s always something new to learn or explore.

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