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Utah Online Gambling Laws

State gambling laws are complex and confusing. The law often has to be twisted and contorted to deal with newly regulated forms of gambling. This however is not an issue with Utah. Utah law does not exempt any form of gambling. All forms of gambling are illegal in Utah. It is safe to say that Utah is not a gambling friendly state, and doesn't show much interest in warming up to the concept any time soon. This section will explain how the state's gambling laws affect gambling opportunities, and will also address Utah online gambling. A number of venues will be discussed, including brick and mortar gambling, as well as Utah online casinos, poker, sports betting and bingo wagering.

Legal Definition of Gambling in Utah Gambling Laws

Utah is the only state in continental United States with no form of legalized state sponsored gambling. Hawaii is the only other state with no form of legalized gambling. Utah gambling law has a straightforward definition of gambling. Risking anything of value is considered as gambling under Utah gambling law if the risking is done for a return or upon the result of a game, contest, gaming device or gaming scheme where the result involves an element of chance and it is agreed that someone will get something of value based on the result.

Participating in an illegal gambling activity as mere player is a misdemeanor offense in Utah. Promoting gambling is a misdemeanor offense. Those who derive or intend to derive any economic benefit other than personal winnings from a gambling activity can be charged with gambling promotion. Repeat offenders - players as well as those charged with gambling promotion will be subject to more severe charges.

What Are The Poker Gambling Laws in Utah?

Home poker games are not legal in Utah. There are no exceptions. Even if the game is being played behind closed doors and the players are related to each other, the game is still illegal. As long as someone risks something of value on the outcome of an event that involves an element of chance, it is illegal. This being the case, poker players in the state may want to consider legal Utah online poker options which are legally licensed and regulated online poker rooms which are located outside of the United States.

What Are the Laws Concerning Charitable Gambling in Utah?

Charitable gambling is illegal in Utah. The gambling laws in most states have an exception for charitable gambling. In most states, qualified non profit organizations can conduct charitable gambling events to raise funds for charitable purposes. In Utah however there is no such exception for charitable gambling.

History of Gambling in Utah

Gambling existed in Utah as it did in most other places way back in the 1700s and early 1800s. Things changed with the arrival of the Mormons in the 1840s. One of their first laws was to declare gambling illegal. The law was strictly enforced and soon all saloons and gambling establishments in the state shut down. There was a short period of time when Utah had a legalized form of gambling - wagering on horse races. In 1920 wagering on horse racing was legalized but within two years the legislature, concerned about the moral impact of horse race betting, suspended all wagering on horse racing. The issue of legalizing wagering on horse racing again came up during the early 1990s. A group of ranchers lobbied to have it legalized but the move was met with stiff opposition from anti-gambling forces. The state legislature refused to hear it. The then governor went on record saying that he would veto any such bill passed by the legislature. The supporters of the move managed to get enough votes to put the issue on ballot in 1992. It was however rejected by the voters. As of now pari mutuel wagering on horse races is prohibited in Utah although a few quarter horse races are held each year.

Online Gambling Laws in Utah

Presently there are no laws in Utah that specifically address the issue of online gambling, whether it is online casino games or online poker. It is unlikely that the state will legalize online poker anytime in the near future. In March 2012 Utah passed a landmark bill that excluded the state from any federal online poker or online gambling bill. So if the federal government passes any law legalizing online gambling or online poker, the law will exclude residents of Utah. While Utah does not smile on any type of gambling in general, their laws do not specifically prohibit online gambling at legally licensed and regulated sites. There is also no federal law which prohibits online gambling. There are multiple legal gambling sites that are located outside of the United States, and that welcome players from Utah, including several licensed and regulated Utah online sports betting sites, casinos and poker rooms.

Are There Any Federal Laws Which Affect Gamblers in Utah?

Federal laws do not prohibit engaging in online gambling. The Wire Act is applicable only to sports betting while the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act does not apply to those who engage in online poker or online gambling as mere players. When the Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 many states saw the potential to increase revenue and negotiated gaming compacts with Indian tribes allowing them to set up tribal casinos on Indian reservations. Utah however has not negotiated any gaming compacts with any Indian tribe. As such there are no Indian casinos in Utah.

Utah Gambling Laws

This content was provided for informational purposes only, and was not designed or intended to serve as or replace professional legal services or advice. We are not lawyers and are not trained or certified to provide any type of legal services. If you are seeking legal services of any type or professional interpretation of any law or statute, then you should contact an attorney.

Those interested in reviewing the official laws and statutes in their original context can access the documents trough the Utah State Legislature Website where you will find them in their original language and in their entirety.