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Is it legal to play online roulette?

Last updated: 11.24.2022 by Chris Mwangi

Roulette is a game that can also be played online, but many players hesitate as to whether doing so will be a legal action. There are hundreds of casino sites on the internet that offer you the chance to play roulette online. But would it be legal to play on one of these sites? Below, we answer this question.

The legality of online gambling

First of all, there is no situation where roulette per se is legal or not. Simply put, if online gambling is legal, online roulette is also legal – and vice versa. In other words, there is no legal regulation about roulette, but the legal regulations about online gambling in general also affect this game. In this regard, we can say that there are three different approaches in different regions:

  • Online gambling is legal
  • Online gambling is illegal
  • Online gambling is neither legal nor illegal

Let's examine these possibilities one by one to answer is online roulette legal question.

Legal online gambling

If a country or region has made online gambling legal, this will also make roulette legal. In such a case, that country or region has a licensing agency. This agency gives gambling operators a license so they can operate legally. For example, in the New Jersey area, this agency is the Division of Gaming Enforcement. Similarly, the “Gambling Commission” issues licenses covering the entire United Kingdom. You can play roulette legally in online casinos using a license issued by an authorized agency.

Illegal online gambling

In this option, online gambling is declared illegal by local or federal laws. This applies to all casino games (and, therefore, roulette). There is no local site where you can play casino games in such a country or region. Players can still play roulette in online casinos abroad, which are called “offshore”, but this will have different sanctions. In the Middle East and Asian regions, such an act could be considered a crime in itself. In some countries, there are no legal sanctions for players, but making payments and/or accessing casino sites can be a problem.

Neither legal nor illegal

In this scenario, there is no legal regulation about online gambling in the relevant country or region. Roulette is not legal as there is no law regulating it, but it is also not illegal for the same reason. It can be said that casino games are in a “grey area” legally. This is the case in most South American countries. It is possible to find local casino sites, but playing on them will often not be safe and/or reliable as there is no authority overseeing these websites.

Is online roulette legal in USA?

It can be said that both the first and the second of these options are valid for the USA. We know this is confusing, but this is because the United States is made up of states, as the name implies. In this regard, there are two things you should know:

  • All forms of gambling (online and offline) are considered illegal at the federal level. However, this does not mean that gambling is completely prohibited: it simply indicates that no gambling-related services (payments, communal prize pools, etc.) can be offered between states.
  • Each state in the USA is free to make its own laws regarding gambling. Any state can decide to make gambling legal. In such a case, this decision will only be valid within the borders of the relevant state due to the federal law mentioned above.

By 2022, some states in the United States have made online casino games legal and have established their own licensing agencies. If you live in these states and play at casino sites licensed by the relevant agency, you can play legal roulette. We can cite New Jersey as a simple example: NJ residents can legally play online roulette, and other games on DGE (Division of Gaming Enforcement) licensed casino sites. This is also true for Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia: if you live in these states, the “legal online gambling” scenario we described above will apply to you.

Some states have only legalized online sports betting and have not made online casinos a part of legal gambling. This means that option number two (illegal online gambling) will apply in these states. You won’t be able to find a local casino where you can legally play roulette, but you can still do so at offshore casinos. In these states, players are not legally sanctioned for playing at internet casinos. However, you may have difficulty making payments and withdrawing funds. New York, California, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Colorado, and Texas are among the states where online casino games are still not considered legal.

In short, the answer to the question is online roulette legal in USA varies depending on the state you live in; there is no single regulation that covers the whole country. If you live in Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and West Virginia, the answer would be yes. For other states, unfortunately, the answer is currently no.

Demo games are always legal

There is also a situation where none of the scenarios we have described above apply: demo games. All online casino games can be played without real money, including roulette. If you're playing demo roulette for free, you don't have to worry about the legality: you can do it even in countries where online gambling is clearly declared illegal. In this context, let's say that it is possible to do this from all US states too.

This is because, predictably, no real money is used for gameplay. Demo games are played with virtual credits and do not involve any financial risk. Therefore, they do not fall under the scope of gambling: they are just like any other PC or mobile game. In terms of gameplay, chances of winning, betting options, and other features, they are no different from real roulette. You can play demo versions of roulette games to have fun, learn the rules, or test strategies: it will always be legal, no matter where you live.

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