Legal Gambling

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What Is Legal Gambling?

Gambling is illegal in nearly every state.  However, most states recognize exceptions to this rule and allow some forms of legal gambling.  In some states, these exceptions are recognized in law and there are actual statutes that make certain forms of gambling illegal.  In other states, the exceptions are recognized in practice only so although they may still be technically illegal, you will not be arrested for them.

What Are Some Common Forms of Legal Gambling?

The forms of gambling that are legal differ from state to state.  However, there are certain types of gambling that are more frequently treated as legal.  These forms include: 

What Are Some Factors States Consider when Deciding whether Gambling is Legal?

In deciding whether certain forms of gambling are legal or illegal, states consider some of the following factors: 

Do I Have to Be a Certain Age to Gamble Legally?s

Yes, most states require that you be at least over the age of majority.  In some states you will need to be 21 to gamble.  In other states, you will only need to be 18. In most states it is illegal for minors to gamble or play games of chamce, this includes professional or college sports pools, poker games, and betting on school sports.

What Are the Consequences of Gambling Illegally?

If you engage in illegal gambling, the consequences will vary according to the laws of your state.  Some of the possible consequences are: 

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

If you have questions about legal and illegal gambling, you should contact a lawyer who is experienced in gaming law.  An experienced lawyer will be able to explain to you the applicable laws in your state, and can inform you of your rights.  If necessary, a lawyer can represent you in court and ensure that your rights are protected.

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Last Modified: 04-22-2011 11:40 AM PDT

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