Utah is one of just two states that do not offer any forms of legal gambling. Hawaii is the only other one.
There is not a state lottery in Utah. Charity bingo is even illegal. This makes it impossible for the state’s tribes to offer any gambling as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act requires a compact for games not already legal commercially. Since there are no forms of gambling legal in Utah, its tribes cannot operate under charity gaming laws that give reservations an exemption is most other jurisdictions. Utah is the only state with reservations that do not permit any form of gambling on them.
This is due to the large Mormon population in the state that opposes all gambling. There are some skill games available to Utah players. Otherwise, a trip to Nevada is required to gamble.
Nevada casinos offer any form of gambling imaginable. This includes sports betting, poker, slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and many other table games. West Wendover, Nevada is about one hour and 45 minutes west of Salt Lake City. Residents in the southern part of the state near Saint George are just a half an hour from Mesquite and an hour and a half from Las Vegas.
Utah Online Gambling Ban
There was concern in 2012 that the U.S. may legalize online gambling. Some bills under consideration in Congress at the time required states to opt out of the games. Utah decided to act before any federal bill had a chance to pass.
All forms of online gambling are illegal in Utah. This includes ones offered from offshore sites, as well as any specifically legal and regulated by federal law. Many offshore U.S. sites decided to leave Utah after this law passed. There are only a handful of options available to Utah players. Gamblers in Utah should know that any site offering online poker, casinos or sports betting is illegal. No site or player has ever been convicted of online gambling in the state.
Utah Daily Fantasy Sports
Utah’s law that bans online gambling did not scare away daily fantasy sites. These groups assert that they fall under Utah’s skill game laws, even though they resemble sports betting.
Daily fantasy sports players deposit cash to participate in pools where athletes are picked and the winner takes home money based on the points accumulated. As anti-gambling as Utah is, the state has taken no action to force daily fantasy sports companies out. Utah residents may play at all major sites, including DraftKings and FanDuel.
Football is the most popular daily fantasy sport. Baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, UFC and NASCAR are other popular events for daily fantasy sports players.