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Gambling in Utah

Utah is the most anti-gambling state in the entire country. The local regulations prohibit Utah residents and visitors from participating in any games of chance for money. Even bingo, charity gambling events, raffles, and home games are banned.

Utah doesn’t have a state-controlled lottery – and if that wasn’t enough, the local authorities do everything in their power to enforce the current regulations. As you’ve probably already guessed, Utah doesn’t have a regulated iGaming market. In addition, playing on offshore sites is explicitly prohibited.

Casinos in Utah

Gambling is illegal in Utah (UT), and there are no casinos in the state. While much of the country has started loosening their gambling laws, the opposite is actually happening in UT. State legislators are working hard to close legal loopholes, with nearly unanimous support from fellow lawmakers.

Online gambling and online casinos are also prohibited by a law passed in 2012 to close another loophole. It is expected to stay closed, regardless of what other states in the region decide to do.

Utah Sportsbooks & Sports Betting

According to Utah Senator Todd Weiler, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling allowing states to set their own sports gambling laws is a good thing, but he would not support legalization. “The Utah legislature is not inclined right now, and probably won’t be in the near future, to allow sports gambling in this state.”

The federal law the Supreme Court overruled was originally sponsored by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch in 1992.

Fantasy Sports Gambling

When it comes to daily fantasy sports (DFS), the situation in Utah is far more muddled. All forms of gambling are illegal, but UT lawmakers seem to be operating under the assumption that DFS isn’t gambling. They have no specific laws to address it so far, and there is no legislation currently in the works.

As it stands today, all major DFS companies have been operating under the same assumption, and have made themselves available to customers in the state.

Perhaps the state will decide this is another gambling loophole that needs to be closed, but since there are no bills in Utah regarding DFS currently on the table, a change in legal status isn’t likely to happen soon.

Animal Racing

You can still find the occasional horse race in Utah. There’s a track in Beaver that runs races four different days in the summer. The town of Hurricane hosts the annual Dixie Downs meeting in April.

There is absolutely no legal gambling allowed at any horse race in the state.

Utah is home to a number of greyhound rescue and adoption associations, but the racing of greyhounds in the state is also illegal.

Utah Poker Games

One of the most famous cinematic poker scenes of all time, the opening sequence of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, featured one of Utah’s most famous residents, Robert Redford. Since cash-on-the-table poker rooms are illegal in UT, residents won’t be able to act out his depiction in the movies.

In Salt Lake City, however, there is the Wasatch Poker Tour, which hosts 15 nights of poker a week.

How do they do it legally? You don’t have to pay to play, just register at the bar hosting. You receive points for winning, not money. Prizes are then awarded based on the points accumulated over the course of a season. Utah’s enforcement agencies have looked into the games, but so far there haven’t been any legal challenges.

Lottery

Not only does the state not have a lottery, the constitution specifically forbids it in Article IV, Section 27, which reads, “The Legislature shall not authorize any game of chance, lottery, or gift enterprise under any pretense or for any purpose.”

For the foreseeable future, residents will continue to travel to their neighbors in Idaho and Wyoming if they want to purchase lottery tickets.

Bingo

Utah has no legal bingo, and there is no charitable carveout in the law for nonprofit organizations.

There may be a restaurant or two that will pass out bingo cards for the price of a meal, but strictly speaking, those are illegal.