HomeCultureHow Do Gambling Laws in Each of the Southern States Differ?

How Do Gambling Laws in Each of the Southern States Differ?

Within the US, individual states have all the control over their gambling laws and regulations. It wasn’t always this way, though. A hard-fought battle by New Jersey opened up the option for more states than just Nevada to have online casinos, sports betting, and land-based casinos. 

Since each state has say over their gambling and sports betting, the rules vary among them all. You’ll need to check them each individually, as they change regularly. Many states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan have followed in the steps of New Jersey and legalised online casino games, online sports betting, and other gambling activities.

This article will provide a short rundown of what gambling regulations can be expected in each of the Deep South states. 


Arkansas is one of the strictest in the Deep South – in fact, you won’t find conventional casinos here. This means that while you might be used to slot machines and gambling games in a casino – you won’t find them in Arkansas. 

Instead, the residents of Arkansas can enjoy dog racing, horse racing, poker, and bingo. Horse racing possesses a long-standing history in Arkansas. Due to this relevant history, horse racing remains a timeless tradition.

If you head to Arkansas, be prepared to experience the unique Racinos – a casino dedicated to horse and dog racing. 


Alabama also maintains strict laws surrounding gambling activities. In fact, Alabama law prohibits all casinos. However, like many Deep South states, horse and dog racing have been prevalent for many years. 

The state of Alabama also allows the horse and dog races to be shown on TV – which aids their popularity. Bingo games are allowed to take place so long as they are strictly under charitable gambling regulations. Unlike many states, though, you won’t find a statewide lottery. 


A fun experience in Louisiana is that they offer land-based casinos, horse racing, bingo, and the lottery. Further to those, they also provide riverboat casinos. Riverboat Casinos are found in many states in the US, and a few states authorize this type of casino usage. 

Initially, the paddlewheel riverboats were used to transport freight and passengers, and over time entertainment became common. Riverboat casinos were approved in the late 29th century, and this became a way to gamble without gambling illegally on land – since it was prohibited at that time. 


Mississippi is a welcoming state for gamblers, and their gambling and betting activities are under the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. Like many states in the US, Mississippi uses the taxes from gambling activities to fund state programs like transportation, health care, housing, and education. 

In Mississippi, you will also find tribal casinos and riverboat or water-based casinos. 

If you wonder if any activities aren’t allowed, horse racing, cockfighting, and raffles aren’t. But for fans of bingo, there is no need to worry since Mississippi allows bingo. 


A state that looks to have a bright and exciting gambling future in Virginia. Currently, the governor is looking at implementing a framework that can help expand their gambling policy. 

The expansion of the gambling policy will make it more open, and thus new casinos, sports betting, and online gambling should become more prevalent. 

At the moment, you can find charitable gambling here, as well as a range of lotteries. 

West Virginia

When it comes to Deep South states that welcome gambling, West Virginia is certainly one of them! They have horse and dog races, and the Racinos like Arkansas, but in general, are more tolerant of gambling. 

West Virginia also has the infrastructure for online gambling regulation. 


It is known as the Sunshine State for its warm and welcoming client – with plenty to do for residents and tourists alike. What makes Florida an exciting state right now is that they are moving towards completing a historic gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. The Seminole Tribe will get exclusive rights to sports wager across the entire state. 

The Tribe has the green light to take bets as early as October 15th, however timeline changes based on the discussions between the Tribe and the state. 

The compact is the ideal way for Florida to increase its revenue without causing a massive spike in the number of gamblers in the state. 


Don’t be fooled by the name of the most famous poker style globally, Texas Hold ‘em. Texas actually has some of the strictest gambling rules, and the authorities only permit people to participate in the state lottery and race betting. 

Most of the Deep South still have tight reigns on their gambling rules and regulations, which sees them take in a significant amount less than the other states that are more relaxed. 

Of course, the state with the most relaxed laws remains Nevada, with the hub of Las Vegas taking in billions in revenue each year. 

In what might be a surprising twist, there are 48 states with some form of lottery or other gambling – even with such tight rules. The exception may always be Hawaii and Utah. Hawaii wants to retain its family-friendly tourism, and Utah has a high Mormon population. 

As such, Utah bans gambling in the State Constitution. One occasion governors made a move to benefit the gambling was the pari-mutuel horse racing that was legalized within state lines. 

The future of gambling in the Deep South looks like they may follow the other states that have made a range of gambling, sports betting, and betting legal – but it will be a slow and steady process.

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