The nationwide rise of daily fantasy sports gambling has taken hold in Utah. It's helped by the fact that Utah's ruling on DFS legality is very much a gray zone, because there is no strict ruling on it. That's a big surprise from a state known for banning just about everything and anything related to wagering. As long as brands such as DraftKings and FanDuel are accessible to Utahans, the game looks like a legitimate gambling option.
While many US states can look forward to legalized sports betting and online casino gambling in the next few years, Utah is unlikely to be one of them. The good news is that Utah players can still partake in daily fantasy games online without fear of being prosecuted as long as legislators don't pass a restriction.
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When it comes to gambling, Utah residents are out of luck.
Utah presents an interesting juxtaposition, given the state's high percentage of actively anti-gambling residents and its proximity to the wagering heaven of Las Vegas. The law is very strict on gambling in Utah, and those in the state certainly don't have as much freedom as bettors in other parts of the United States.
Utah joins Hawaii as American states that for all intents and purposes ban every type of gambling, making it one of the worst locations to live if you're looking to freely wager. Utah doesn't even permit the parimutuel horse racing and dog track betting that some strict states do, nor the tribal gambling laws that allow Native American communities to develop casino resorts on their lands.
The list of technically illegal gambling activities includes casinos, poker, horse and dog betting, lotteries and bingo, charitable gambling and social betting. The stance of the Utah authorities is evident via the fact they don't even permit charitable and social gambling—two forms of betting that are often embraced even by states that lean tough on betting laws.
In essence, the real issue for gamblers in Utah is the lack of availability—but at least the border states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming offer potential for gambling adventures.
As you'd expect from a state that has had a strong anti-gambling stance for a very long time, the timeline of gambling legislation in Utah has always been something of a losing battle for bettors.
If you're a gambler in Utah, you'll soon get tired of hearing that another form of gambling is illegal—and that's the case with online casino gaming (which is another class B violation). Online gambling in Utah is also theoretically illegal, outlawing sports betting, online casinos and poker gaming, with a gray zone hovering over Daily Fantasy Sports betting. But while trusted DFS operators function in the Beehive State, there are no legal casino gaming sites.
Both online and offline poker gambling are technically illegal in Utah. There are no viable options for for-money poker players and little indication that will change anytime soon. Online poker players will have to travel over to Nevada to play a hand.
The sports betting scene in Utah is similarly restrictive as casino and poker betting, with no legitimate online or offline options. Though it could choose to do so since the federal ban was struck down, Utah still has a constitutional ban against all forms of sports betting is unlikely to ever take a legal sports bet.