Is it Legal to Play Online Slots for Real Money?

Online gambling is a growing phenomenon that produces billions of dollars in revenue each year. Slot machines, also known as fruit machines, are one of the most popular casino games in the world. New online casinos, betting sites, and apps are popping up constantly to meet the market demand. This growing interest has lawmakers and prospective gamblers in a constant state of confusion.

Many national laws do not apply to online betting with games such as slots making legislators scramble to regain control. Other countries are restricted by archaic laws limit what could be a safe stream of revenue. Due to this disarray, many online gamblers turn to off-shore sites and apps to do their betting. Fear of the law or the attractiveness of offers coming from freer countries stretches the market across the globe.

So, what is the legality of betting on online games like slots with real money? Here is what you need to know.

The most important thing to consider is that there are different laws, regulations, and restrictions for each county or state. There is no simple answer to the question of legality. Legislation new and old, social norms, and religious rules, all play a part in online gambling globally. It is important to check your local or national laws before committing to gambling online with real money.

United States

Having said this, it is clear that playing games like slots online for real money is totally legal in many major countries across the world. In the U.S.A., for example, playing games online for real money is legal on a federal level.

For many years it seemed that the Wire Act of 1961 would classify online betting games as illegal. However, in 2011 the Department of Justice made it clear that this act refers only to sports betting, leaving casino games like slots or table games untouched.

So, playing online games for real-money is LEGAL unless your state prohibits it. Some states, like Arkansas, Kentucky, Utah, and Washington, have strict laws against gambling. States like New Jersey seem to seriously embrace online gambling with recent legislation establishing its legality, while most states have vague laws that do not specifically mention online gambling.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the laws surrounding online gambling are much more clear. Since 1960, all types of gambling have been legal. The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act of 2014 explicitly connected online gambling in all forms to the gambling laws of the UK. The legislation went as far as to make offshore gambling by UK citizens legal, require the offshore company to pay the 15% tax.

Across the board, UK legislation on gambling is clear and leans towards freedom for the citizens and revenue for the country. Betting on online slots is 100% legal in the UK.

European Union

Europe is the largest market for online gambling in the world. Unfortunately, the regulatory environment is a jungle of inconsistency and oversight. The EU has failed to establish any clear regulations relating to online gambling. Laws and regulations are made on a national level, but due to the border-blurring nature of online gambling, parts of Europe are struggling to keep up.

There are many countries that allow gambling with real money on slots, but each country should be investigated separately due to the inconsistency across the EU.


It would seem, more often than not, online slots for real money is legal but subject to strict guidelines. Playing the game is usually legal, but difficulty can come in other forms. Often it is difficult to make deposits or withdrawals.

Visa is the most widely accepted credit card for online casinos, followed by MasterCard and American Express. Many smaller companies will be rejected.

To avoid money-laundering, there are often strict identification rules. Many countries require valid identification following the Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines.

Another concern is in withdrawing your winnings and paying taxes on them. Many banks across the world will not accept deposits from online gambling companies. Often third-party payment processors are necessary to access your winnings, or checks can be sent in the mail.

Taxation of winnings is another important consideration that varies widely. In the United Kingdom, gambling winnings are 100% tax-free, whereas in other countries they are treated as income and are taxed accordingly.

Final Thoughts

Countries seem to become more open to the idea of online gambling each year. Online slots rake in more money and grow in popularity each year with more sites and apps being made than ever. The future for online gambling looks more open, consistent, and secure. Be sure to check with your countries legislation before playing slots or any other game for real-money online.