Online Gambling For Real Money in Utah

Throughout our country’s history, there has been a real resistance toward gambling, where even today’s most permissive states have had long periods of gambling prohibition. Things have really opened up on the U.S. gambling scene over last few years, but not everywhere.

Utah is one of only two states in the country, along with Hawaii, that has absolutely no legal gambling. Utah didn’t even wait until it became a state to outlaw gambling, they actually wrote the law the year before so that they could hit the ground running with this.

Utah hasn’t so much as flinched during its history, during this great revival we are having in this country, but this does not mean that there aren’t a lot of people in the state who gamble regularly, outside the peering view of the state. There’s a lot more opportunity to gamble in Utah than many people think.

History of Gambling in Utah

Utah Online Casinos and SlotsUtah became a state in 1876, and from the moment it happened, anti-gambling laws were already written and ready to go. The door to gambling was completely locked and barred back then and it hasn’t even had a hand on the doorknob since.

Utah is Mormon country, a religious sect that takes an even harsher view of the so-called carnal pleasures, which extends to include the enjoyment of playing games. Gambling has been deemed to be sinful, and the Mormons that dominate this state’s population have no trouble criminalizing activity that are counter to their religious beliefs.

In a perfect world, if we could write a new constitution, we would make this one more clear on the need for governments to reasonably justify all infringements on liberty. There are always some, like the limitation on speech not allowing us creating a clear and present danger to someone with it, but they need a good reason to restrain these things.

Prohibiting people from spending their own money on what they want and choosing forms of entertainment they wish is as fundamental liberty as they come, similar to being able to choose what brands you like at the store. Regulators insist that what we buy is safe, but that’s as far as they are entitled to go without stepping on a fundamental liberty. Somehow, in Utah, gambling is different.

The fourteenth amendment does provide an obligation toward ensuring affronts on liberty are justifiable, such that it shall not be taken from us without due process of law, which doesn’t just mean that you get a fair hearing with representation and procedural law is complied with.

The Supreme Court has viewed this as having real substance, where the due process of politics is subject to the due process of law, meaning that political will is not sufficient in itself to usurp liberty. This was the main argument in Roe v. Wade, where it was found that anti-abortion laws deprive liberty without due process, and has been used numerous other times as a general requirement that laws that deprive liberty be just, which is the goal of the due process.

The problem though is that justices tend to have differing viewpoints on how far the provision of due process extends, generally preferring to interpret it according to their own personal views. Anti-gambling laws such as Utah’s could not survive reasonable scrutiny, but we need the Court to move more towards being against the law being used this way for real change to be possible.

We may see this someday, although for whatever reason the Supreme Court has yet to hear a case on this. Utah would be the perfect state to do it with since they have completely banned it. It only takes one case to set a precedent, and we at least need to hold these states accountable for their laws and not just rely on the arbitrary preferences of others to govern our actions.

We have been moving more and more away from repressive laws that seek to ban gambling, but in the worst states, and Utah is the worst of all, the people insist on clinging to their misguided beliefs where they seek to enforce their religion upon everyone. The beliefs remain strong in this state, and this is as close to the Muslim world we have, and the Muslims aren’t expected to get hip to gambling anytime soon either.

Sadly, Utah has no real gambling history in the way we normally think of history, official history, and people in the state are left with no choice but to disobey this law. When you take a dim view of even playing cards for fun and see that as the Devil’s work, it will take a lot to change the beliefs about doing it for money.

Utah Key Facts

  • Abbreviation: UT
  • State Motto: Industry
  • Capital City: Salt Lake City
  • Largest City: Salt Lake City
  • Population Estimate: 3.21 Million (30th)
  • Website: utah.gov

Utah Gambling Laws

Utah prohibits risking anything of value on the outcome of “a contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device where the return or outcome is based upon an element of chance.” This actually might appear to just ban gambling is based upon an element of chance, but Utah law really shows the power of the comma.

If we compare “contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device where the return or outcome is based upon an element of chance” with “contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device, where the outcome is based upon an element of chance,” these are completely different statements.

By not putting a comma after gaming device, the requirement of chance only applies to these gaming devices, and not to the other inclusions, a contest, game, etc. Perhaps this is written in a more awkward way than what would have been ideal, but it doesn’t take much careful reading to get the fact that betting on contests or games is in itself illegal without condition.

Utah is entirely opposed to gambling, without exception, and while we find cracks in a lot of state gambling law where there is either a lack of clarity or certain gambling practices have been left out entirely, there are no such cracks in Utah law even under our very rigorous legal examination.

To see how a law may apply to specific forms of gambling, we generally use the three most popular forms, casino games, poker, and sports betting, as well as see how these laws may also apply to online gambling. Casino games involve the use of gaming devices of some sort, and also constitute betting on a game. Both poker and sports betting involve betting on a game or contest. Pools involve betting on gaming schemes. There is nothing left unattended to.

Just in case people become confused with whether this applies to online real money gambling, Utah takes no chances. Now we have defined gambling in the law as betting on any game, contest, or gambling scheme, or by way of a gambling device, the crime of gambling in Utah involves participating “in gambling, including any internet or online gambling.”

Since Utah’s law involves risking something of value on these games, this also closes the door to where this gambling is understood to occur. Regardless of where the game is played, on a server in another country, the risking of something of value clearly occurs in Utah when you place bets online while in the state, so there are no cracks here either, not even tiny ones.

Whenever we contemplate an action that may be against the law, we do need to start by identifying whether the act is prohibited by law or not, and in this case any gambling in Utah would be clearly in violation of the law. The discussion does not end here though, and given that we desire to gamble, we need to examine the practical consequences of our disobedience and weigh that against the benefits to decide what we should do.

Holding a crap game in full public view may not be a good idea, but this all depends on both the will and the opportunity to enforce these laws. Maybe the authorities prefer to have it against the law on the books but they take a less objectionable view personally, and may even feel that these laws are wrong but aren’t in the legislature and don’t get to decide the law, but they may get to decide how they are executed and enforced.

They have to want to catch you, and they also need to have the opportunity to catch you. There is also an internal element that may be present even with anti-gambling laws, perhaps you believe that laws should be obeyed without question just because they are laws, or even may agree with them, as many in Utah do.

This all starts with being willing to question whether the government of Utah is even morally entitled to seek to infringe upon personal decisions such as this, and while they may feel that their religious beliefs provide the justification, this cannot apply to those who do not share these beliefs, and we are also constitutionally protected from someone’s religious beliefs being forced upon us by way of the power of the law, and with good reason.

It’s completely illegal to engage in gambling in Utah, in all forms, for whatever that’s worth, but we do need to deconstruct this a bit to go from they don’t want us to do this and get into the consequences of any disagreements that may arise from this.

Land-Based Gambling in Utah

Utah is the Dead Sea of gambling in the United States. There is no gambling allowed of any kind. It’s not even that people aren’t trying, for instance with the recent flurry of sweepstakes-based gaming machines that have popped up at convenience stores in low income areas of the state.

This has been met with a response from state legislators who want to further clarify the law about this even though it should be pretty clear that these things are not permitted by law, by virtue of this being a “gaming scheme” which are not allowed. However, they are moving forward with the passing of this clarification, specifically prohibiting these machines so that all Utahns will wonder no more about this.

There is obviously a market for real money gambling in these areas at least, but it’s much more widespread than that. Utah authorities have their hands full with the illegal gambling that goes on in the state but stay well on top of this and jump in when it resurfaces.

While Utah plays a game of whack-a-mole with its illegal gambling operators, there is very little chance that their opposition to gambling will lessen enough to actually approve of it. Gambling in Utah means gambling underground, and it may be a long time before it emerges above ground.

  • List of Land Based Casinos in Utah
    CasinoAddressPhone
    Southgate Dinner & Bingo3725 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84106801-266-6025

Utah Online Casinos & Slots Gambling

All gambling is illegal in Utah, pure and simple. There is no reasons that can even be construed to believe otherwise. Online gambling does not need to be specifically mentioned in the law, and making it against the law to risk things of value on games in of itself captures all of the categories that people wager on, casino games, poker games, and betting on sporting games.

If you can’t bet on a game period, you can’t do it either offline or online. Utah does not take any chances, as courts do not always apply the law correctly, and this is a particular risk with interpreting gambling law where judges may find it more difficult to keep their personal views aside.

Utah specifically mentions online gambling as consisting as part of the gambling that Utah prohibits. It is against the law to gamble, “including online gambling.” This does not require any interpretation and have answered this question with certainty.

Utah “protects” its citizens from the evils of gambling with an iron fist, but their arm is only so long. The people of Utah who long to gamble without risking an encounter with the long arm of the law do have an easy means to do exactly that.

Controlling land-based gambling is a feat that can be accomplished reasonably well depending on how big the “problem” is and what resources you are prepared to commit to it. Utah does do a good job of this, but they have to be able to see it to stop it. If they do not see it, it is not possible for them to even intervene.

When you gamble online in Utah, there is no question that you are breaking the law, and the fact that they need a specific provision in the law to ban it does tell you that this is something that people can and do partake in, otherwise there would be no need to include it. We need to ask what power this law has in practice though.

There is a good reason why no one ever gets charged with online gambling, and it’s because governments can’t catch people doing this. Some jurisdictions in other countries ban their ISPs from providing access to certain gambling websites, but people just connect to them through a VPN instead.

They may also restrict what payment methods that you can use with real money online gambling sites, and this is definitely the case when playing from Utah or any state that does not have its own regulated online gambling, but people use anonymous methods like Bitcoin. Using both Bitcoin and a VPN allows you to play completely anonymously.

It’s not even that anonymous browsing is even needed, but there are some who do derive peace of mind from it, especially given that those who choose to go around Utah’s online gambling laws are breaking them and may feel better about there not even being the possibility of consequences.

See also
Future of Gambling in Utah

The future of gambling in Utah as far as authorized real money gambling goes is almost as bleak as its present, where for gambling to even make its debut in this state, the state’s opposition to it will have to lessen considerably. There is a threshold where the objections can become outweighed by the benefits, the economic and tax benefits of gambling, but Utah’s side of the scale is mighty and well mightier than it would need to be to push away economic benefits.

Aside from enjoying playing illegal slots when they pop up, until they are taken away, and other forms of illegal land-based gambling, all of which risk arrest, Utahns have no real other options than jumping on the online gambling train and sticking their tongue out at Utah authorities as the train pulls away from the station unseen.

There are two main elements required to take advantage of this, the first of which is coming to terms with disobeying the law by playing, where we may look at this from a moral rather than a legal perspective and conclude that it morally wrong for the state to prevent us from doing this, or at least lacks any real justification.

Once we have decided that we want to do this, to step out into the world of offshore real money gambling, we should not just step into this new world without the proper amount of guidance. We will show you the future of Utah gambling right now, and you do not have to wait for the future to enjoy it.

World class real money online poker, casino games, and sports betting await, where the top sites that we will direct you toward will warmly beckon you in and take good care of you. Online gambling in Utah has been around since the start, you just need to find the door.

Utah Online Slots & Casinos FAQs
  • Has Utah ever had legal gambling?

    Utah has been completely opposed to gambling from the very day it became a state until today. Utah has simply said no to gambling at every turn. They rejected every form of gambling that has become popular elsewhere in the country, and Utah hasn’t even made it to the point where they even allow charity gambling. Utah views all gambling as wrong and has never waivered.

  • Why is Utah so against gambling?

    Western states generally have a rich history of gambling in their frontier days, which has often set the tone once gambling became popular again. Utah was settled by Mormons, who are even generally opposed to playing games, let alone play them for money, which is seen to add greatly to the degree of sin committed with entertainment choices. It is more difficult to change your outlook toward gambling if you think it is evil.

  • What does Utah law say about real money gambling?

    Utah gambling law leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination in prohibiting gambling in all forms. With betting on games being against the law, and gambling consisting of betting on games, this net is going to clearly include all forms of gambling as we know it. Utah does not even need to add anything to this in order to make all gambling illegal, but they still felt the need to point out explicitly that both offline and online gambling is illegal.

  • What are the chances of Utah taking a less harsh view of gambling soon?

    Utah is very firmly entrenched in its anti-gambling views, considerably more so than in even their most conservative competitors. The reason behind this is that, while many states wrestle with the role of religious beliefs with gambling, the religious beliefs in Utah are held more strongly. Seeing Nevada right next door does not serve to tempt them, as observing what is believed to be sin generally does not.

  • Is there any land-based gambling at all in Utah?

    When all forms of gambling are illegal, the only gambling possible is the illegal variety, and Utah does have some illegal gambling within its borders. Slot machines pop up in Utah from time to time, in the hope that the operators won’t get caught, but Utah takes gambling enforcement seriously and quickly shuts them down. They even passed a special law to outlaw slot machines of any and all varieties.

  • Does Utah law even permit wondering if online gambling is illegal as well?

    Utah makes it against the law to risk something of value on a game, and when you gamble online, in all cases you risk something of value on a game. The game itself may be understood to be played outside Utah, but the risking of something of value happens in Utah. Just in case, Utah law specifically forbids online gambling by mentioning it by name.

  • Doesn’t Utah even allow charities to offer bingo games?

    If you outlaw all gambling, this includes even the least offensive such as church bingo. The Mormon Church that the majority of Utah residents belong to does not do bingo. The idea of a church that is four square against gambling to offer it in any form is a strange idea actually. Social gambling is not permitted either. Utah isn’t just against commercial gambling, they are against gambling period.

  • Are there players in Utah that gamble online anyway?

    Online gambling has been popular in the United States since online gambling first began, and while gambling is certainly less popular in Utah than in other states, there still is a good number of them that have enjoyed the world of online gambling for years and continue to do so today. In spite of this breaking Utah law, they do so without being concerned about the consequences of this.

  • Why are Utah online gamblers not concerned about Utah law?

    For a law to have force, it must be enforceable. Utah may include provisions that specifically ban online gambling, but do not have a way to catch people doing it. There are places in the world that are considerably more against gambling than Utah but they just don’t have a way to stop it from happening in the virtual world, a world apart from the physical one that law enforcement resides in.

  • How can Utah players start enjoying real money online gambling right now?

    There are a number of great real money casino, real money poker, and real money sports betting sites that both accept Utahns and treat them the right way. We specialize in providing our players with the best recommendations out there based upon where you live, and the thrill of real money gambling awaits those who choose to follow us.

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Lead Writer: Toby is a very experienced online gambler who particularly enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and guiding them toward more enjoyment in their own play.