An overview of the international gambling laws: Italy vs USA

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Gambling is popular all over the globe, but you can’t just travel around the world and expect to play the same game in the same fashion in every country out there. On the contrary, there are major differences between certain countries and you need to get familiar with local gambling laws before placing your first bets.

If you come from Italy but plan to gamble in the States or vice versa, you should definitely learn their gambling laws. There are a lot of different and even contrasting aspects of the two legislation systems, so we want to help you figure it out in the quickest way possible. Here’s a brief overview of the gambling laws in Italy and the USA.

Italian Gambling Regulations

Italy had extremely strict gambling regulations until 2006, but then it had to adjust to the broader EU legal framework and loosen up restrictions. Today, there are literally hundreds of fully operational casinos and betting websites, while restrictions apply only to certain types of games. 

The only institution in charge of gambling laws is the Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies (AASM) and it has the power to make or change regulations in this field. Their rules are applicable to the entire country, which means there are no regional differences.

The most important aspect of Italian gambling laws is this: Games of pure chance are illegal, while skill-based games are not prohibited.

What matters the most here is that skill-based games are interpreted very liberally, so they include sports betting, Texan Hold’em Poker, lotteries, and many other gambling activities. However, gambling is not legal when organized privately or in a publicly accessible place.

Online gambling is also legal as there are more than 200 websites dedicated to virtual bookmaking and games of chance. Online casinos make more than three-quarters of those websites, while others incorporate poker sites, bingo games, and similar.

International companies eager to launch a gambling website or a casino need to fulfill a wide range of conditions such as pay $350 thousand of administrative fees to AASM.

The US Gambling Regulations

The simplest way to explain the US gambling law is to say that gambling is legally restricted. It is by no means prohibited, but it does go through two filters: federal and state.

The reason why the States legalized gambling is purely practical. Namely, they promote casino games and, for example, popular MI sportsbooks because it represents the quickest way to collect taxes and support a wide range of social services. They did a thorough job as now there are eight types of gambling categories available in the US: commercial casinos, charitable games, card rooms, bookmakers, lotteries, tribal casinos, advanced-deposit wagering, and pari-mutuel wagering.

The US federal considers gambling to be legal, but the issue is subject to state regulations as well. In such circumstances, each state has the right to allow or prohibit gambling in any way they want. For instance, here are some of the most interesting facts:

  • All types of gambling are legal in Iowa, Indiana, and Pennsylvania
  • All types of gambling are illegal in Hawaii and Utah
  • Georgia allows only lotteries and charitable gambling

The fact that each state has the right to set local rules makes the US gambling system extremely complex. They also get to decide who may gamble and where gambling can be located. In other words, it is better to focus on a specific country than to analyze the US gambling law in general.

The Bottom Line

People love gambling in the US just like they do in Italy, but they cannot enjoy the same playing privileges in these two countries. It turns out that Italy is highly specific when it comes to gambling regulations, while the US is even more complicated because it has both federal and state laws involved in the process.

In this post, we gave you a brief overview of the international gambling laws and compared how they function in the USA and Italy. Keep them in mind if you plan to travel to and gamble in one of these two countries!

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