US states generally have stricter gambling rules than anywhere else in the world, but alongside Hawaii, Utah definitely takes the cake. Every form of gambling is illegal here. There are neither tribal casinos nor commercial ones; there isn’t even a state lottery.
The beehive state is famous for a lot of things, but casino gambling clearly isn’t one of them. Its gambling laws are under the criminal code and are classified in the chapter titled “Offences Against Public Health, Safety, Welfare, and Morals.” It seems a bit excessive, and it doesn’t look like anything will change in the near future.
The Mormon church has a strong presence in Utah, and according to the beliefs of avid followers, in order to live vice-free, alcohol and gambling are forbidden. With hardcore sanctions on gambling practices, Utahns have resorted to fishing out creative ways to gamble within the state lines. Bingo operators have found a loophole to work in their favor- it is called dinner time bingo.
Bingo halls now offer a combined scheme that includes dinner and bingo. Patrons pay for a meal and are provided bingo games as a “side dish.” Lawmakers argued that being obligated to pay for a meal is illegal. Now bingo parlors let visitors go straight for the free bingo without dinner. Southgate Dinner & Bingo is an open bingo hall located in Salt Lake City.
The absence of a state lottery has done little to deter residents as yearly revenue of more than $6 million flows from the beehive state towards The Idaho lottery. Lotto ticket sellers along the Utah- Idaho border see thousands of Utahns buying the weekly ticket. Lawmakers should have shown some signs of wavering with such a significant amount leaving the territory to enrich neighboring states. But it appears that they have put their foot down on the matter.
According to state law, “gambling means risking something of value in a contest where the outcome is based on an element of chance with the understanding that someone will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.” Social casino gaming is not explicitly illegal, but it falls under the definition of gambling. This means that in-home real money gambling on poker or bingo and the likes is unlawful. Having said that, as long as there is no real-world reward to be won, players can get away with social gaming.
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Interesting State Facts
Utah is filled with lakes, canyons, the tallest mountain peaks, and lots of snowfall. With five national parks and six national forests, there is plenty to see and explore in Utah. The state has also been voted one of the safest places to live.
It got its name from the Native American Ute tribe, and it means people of the mountain. 65% of Utahns are Mormons, and the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City took 40 years to complete. It is also quite interesting that Salt Lake City is the only state capital with three words, and each word comprises four letters. The state also has the highest literacy rate in the United States.
Utah Gambling Venues
For online gambling, there is very little to say. Utah has taken a firm position; it is a no-go area. Residents can take their chances on offshore sites that accept US citizens, but these are scarce and a bit risky.
Slotmania, Double Down Casino, and other popular social gaming companies accept Utahn players. Using sites like MyVegas, which offer a tangible reward component, would be a violation and will incur legal consequences.
West Wendover, Nevada, is the casino destination for Utah residents who prefer to travel out of state. The town holds five casinos, out of which Montego Bay, Rainbow, and Wendover Nugget Casino are over 40,000 square feet and offer 4,000 rooms each. Players can find thousands of slot machines, as well as table games like Blackjack, Roulette, Poker, Pai Gow Poker, 3 Card Poker, Craps, Sic Bo, and Let it Ride.
Other nearby casino states are Colorado and New Mexico to the southeast, Idaho, and Wyoming to the north, and Arizona to the south.