Along with Hawaii, Utah is the most-restrictive of all U.S. states when it comes to gambling laws.

However, Utah’s residents have discovered creative ways in which to enjoy gambling in Utah. While the majority Mormon population sees gambling as against their beliefs, bingo and poker tournament parlors are popping-up in Salt Lake City, offering prizes for tournaments with free entry, thereby circumnavigating the state’s strict laws. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) competitions for real money are also available for residents and visitors to Utah.

Utah Casino Gambling

Neither commercial or tribal venues operate inside the State of Utah. In fact, no casinos at all are permitted under the state’s strict laws. Many of the state’s residents cross state borders to legally play casinos, most notably, into neighboring Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico, Wyoming or Colorado.

Whilst no casinos exist in Utah at which you can gamble for real money, there are, however, plenty of establishments that hold events called “casino parties” from time-to-time. They are venues that provide all of the games found in a casino, however, without any real money being wagered. All games on offer are for fun and free, including poker and blackjack. As stated above, travel options to nearby states exist for residents of the Beehive State to take part in casino gambling for real money.

Online Casinos in Utah

Online gaming options in Utah that can be played legally by online gambling aficionados are exclusively limited to DFS competitions.

Online players in Utah are advised to abstain from using both U.S. based online casinos (including N.J’s Online Casinos) and off-shore sites and not run the risk of running afoul of the state laws until the Beehive State’s lawmakers can eventually get up to speed by expanding the legal online gambling options in Utah. For the time being, online players can use the sole legal online gaming option, i.e. DFS.

Poker in Utah

No exception has been carved out under the Utah law allowing for social or ‘home’ poker between friends, and as stated above, no casinos or card rooms to play poker for real money exist in the state of Utah.

For information on how to play Poker legally in Utah in a league, please read on below.

Poker Rooms

While Poker Rooms where you can play for real money do not exist in Utah, Poker is possible via the bar leagues that do not charge for entry into their tournaments. Players are rewarded with cash prizes, and the leagues even have larger monthly events with bigger prize money up on offer. As there is no entry fee, authorities tolerate these popular poker tournaments. The Bar Poker Leagues give players an opportunity to keep their poker skills sharpened ahead of travelling to the legal casino states to play for real money.

Bingo is played in Utah, with restaurants creatively offering free-cards with their meals which give-away cash prizes for those ‘players’.

Online Poker Laws

Online Poker is not a legal option in the state of Utah. See above section – ‘Online Casinos in Utah’ for further clarification.

  • With no Utah State Government revenue currently being raised from legalized gambling, the State’s Budget could potentially benefit with legalization.
  • For example, in neighboring Idaho (with approximately half the population of Utah), the Idaho State Lottery gave back more than $53 million to the state’s economy in 2018 and more than $846 million in the last 30 years. Since the introduction of the Idaho Lottery in 1989, it has generated funding for building school classrooms, after-school programs, libraries, and scholarships and University scholarships.
  • Legalized, licensed and regulated online gambling, sports betting and/or commercial casino gambling could further improve the Utah’s infrastructure and services, in particular, among the state’s Native American citizens who might look for the approval of Tribal Casinos.
  • Additional State Government Revenue could be generated by Utah’s tourism sector and associated service industries with legalized gambling, ensuing in much-needed job creation in regional areas.

History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in Utah

1875; All gambling deemed illegal in Utah.

1925-1927; Horse racing betting legal in Utah for two short years.

2012; Online gambling specifically deemed illegal in Utah with HB 108.

2018; Utah State Lawmakers seek to further close loopholes in the state gaming law with SB 0225.

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