homepage logo

Legalisation of Online Gambling in Utah Seems Increasingly Far-Fetched

Sponsored Content
By Staff | Nov 25, 2023

Utah, the beehive state, is well known for its strong conservative culture which, among other things, completely prohibits all forms of gambling. Not even raffles can be held in Utah, which puts it directly at odds with the current legislative trend that is slowly sweeping across the nation, the legalisation of online sports betting and gambling. Despite mounting financial pressure as other states accept and regulate these forms of entertainment and reap the resulting revenue benefits, Utah shows no signs of doing so, in fact, Utah has shown that it is more staunchly opposed to any form of gambling than ever. 

This article will touch on the ways in which Utah opposes different forms of gambling, the benefits that states that have embraced online gambling are receiving, the states that have similar views to Utah’s and what the results of their staunch opposition entail.

All kinds of gambling continue to face strong opposition in Utah

The ban on all forms of gambling is not a new thing in Utah, the anti-gambling laws have been a part of the state since its inception in the 1890s and have been upheld pretty much ever since. This means that there is no state lottery, no raffles held, no casinos and no online casinos. For the most part, it seems that the resistance to the legalisation of gambling comes from a place of morality and a concern for the perceived damage that gambling addiction can cause. Considering the state’s long history of conservative and religious values being predominant, this is no surprise. 

Of course, this can make things confusing for people who aren’t well versed in the history or laws of the state that might be passing through. Whether tourists from other parts of America or travellers from abroad, it might be natural for them to not consider gambling a big deal and to land themselves in legal hot water. It is therefore a good idea for travellers to look up laws on US online gambling sites and information for each state regarding the legality of physical or online gambling and betting before they travel there. Even if one state is okay with gambling, it doesn’t mean that even the neighbouring states are, Nevada is just to the West of Utah and has a well-regulated gambling scene, but cross the border and those same activities will get you in a lot of trouble.

Other states reaping the benefits

So why are other states allowing gambling, both physical and online? The answer is pretty straightforward, money. States like Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to name just a few, have all legalised both physical and online gambling, and are collecting a large amount every year in tax revenue because of it. Every state has different policies, but with regulation comes licence fees and taxes for operators to pay, and in some cases, gambling winnings are taxed as well. 

All told, the total revenue generated by the gambling industry in America in the first 9 months of this year is $48 billion and change. This is across the states where these activities are legal of course, which means that there are untapped billions to be made by other state governments. In many cases, this money is funnelled into infrastructure or schools or in some way put back into improving the state as a place to live for all inhabitants.

With the regulation of these activities, there is also a focus on mitigating exactly the thing that Utah’s lawmakers claim is the reason not to allow the activities in the first place. Gambling hotlines are often subsidised by taxes taken from the gambling industry and in some cases, regulations stipulate that warnings about spending too much or gambling too frequently are necessary on gambling and betting sites.

Other states that share Utah’s views

Utah is by no means alone in its opposition to gambling, around half the states share its views, if maybe not for the same reasons or quite as fervently. In many states where gambling is illegal, there are native reservations that are allowed to operate gambling ventures, and things like state lotteries and raffles are also commonplace amongst states that continue to leave sports betting and online gambling illegal. This is not the case for Utah or Hawaii however, as both states have repeatedly knocked back any attempts at legalising any measure of what they see as gambling.

The results of Utah’s strict ban

Apart from the lack of tax revenue, there is one definite takeaway that would make Utah lawmakers and residents proud. The state recently ranked as the 50th most gambling-addicted state, which means they are the least gambling-addicted state. This is something that the beehive state should be very proud of. 

Despite the potential windfall of tax revenue, it does seem that the state of Utah will stand firm in its views and gambling will remain a thing that people will do in other places and not within the state boundaries. The future is, of course, always uncertain and no one can know for sure what might come to pass, but as long as Utah maintains its strong conservative values, the rattle of dice will never be heard.


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)