Vermont 2017-09-14T05:59:44+00:00

Gambling in Vermont

Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont
(Credit: Photo courtesy of Trapp Family Lodge)
Vermont Vermont state flag

Vermont

US State, abbreviated “VT

(Not regulated)

  • Population0.63 million
  • Legal Online Poker Age21
  • Legal Poker Room Age21
  • Capital: Montpelier
  • GovernorPhil Scott (R)

Is Gambling in Vermont Legal?

The Green Mountain State is the second smallest state in terms of population in the country. But don’t let the small size fool you. Vermont has more gambling laws than its residents can count.

However, even though there are lots of laws, they all follow the basic principle of “if it’s not for charity, then it’s illegal”.

Originally a sovereign nation of its own before it became the first state to enter the union after the 13 original colonies, its independence persists till this day in that despite the neighbouring states all diving into the casino gambling industry head first, Vermont is just sitting back, patiently watching as things unfold.

Vermont was mostly a gambling-free zone up until 1959, with the only legal form of gambling being the few state-managed lotteries. The Vermont Lottery was introduced in 1978, and is pretty much the only widely used form of legal gambling option in the state today.

Combined with the fact that there are some severe punishments for illegal gambling, it’s safe to say that this state is not exactly a gambler’s heaven.

Vermont Gambling Laws

As one of the least gambling-friendly state with a long list of laws to go along with it, you would probably expect the laws to be very precise, accompanied by severe penalties.

However, you’d be surprised to find that not only are the laws more unclear than the murkiest waters, the penalties are also relatively insignificant, with a maximum fine of $200 for players.

With no specific definitions for commonly used defining terms, such as “bet” or “wager”, the core meaning of “gambling” can be put together from various different laws:

§ 2133. -At gaming house
A person who plays at cards, dice, tables or other game for money or other valuable in a common gaming or gambling house that is maintained for lucre and gain, shall be fined not more than $200.00 or imprisoned not more than sixty days, or both.

§ 2141. Winning or losing by gambling
A person who wins or loses money or other valuable thing by play or hazard at any game, or by betting on such play or hazard, or sharing in a stake wagered by others on such play or hazard, shall be fined not more than $200.00 nor less than $10.00.

A quick look at these two definitions and you’ll quickly understand why we think the Vermont gambling laws are ambiguous at best. For statute 2133, there is no definition of what qualifies as a “gaming or gambling” house to be found in the Vermont Statutes. Similarly, we have no idea what is meant by “hazard” in statute 2141.

You should also know that based on the open-language of statute 2133, it could also be interpreted as covering social gaming too, meaning that a friendly game of poker at home is implicitly illegal. However, it is not common for authorities to actually go knocking on doors of any recreational home games.

Legal Age for Gambling in Vermont

The minimum legal age for participating in lottery and bingo games is 18.

Is Gambling in Vermont Legal?

The Green Mountain State is the second smallest state in terms of population in the country. But don’t let the small size fool you. Vermont has more gambling laws than its residents can count. However, even though there are lots of laws, they all follow the basic principle of “if it’s not for charity, then it’s illegal”.

Originally a sovereign nation of its own before it became the first state to enter the union after the 13 original colonies, its independence persists till this day in that despite the neighbouring states all diving into the casino gambling industry head first, Vermont is just sitting back, patiently watching as things unfold.

Vermont was mostly a gambling-free zone up until 1959, with the only legal form of gambling being the few state-managed lotteries. The Vermont Lottery was introduced in 1978, and is pretty much the only widely used form of legal gambling option in the state today. Safe to say, this state is not exactly a gambler’s heaven.

Vermont Gambling Laws

As one of the least gambling-friendly state with a long list of laws to go along with it, you would probably expect the laws to be very precise, accompanied by severe penalties.

However, you’d be surprised to find that not only are the laws more unclear than the murkiest waters, the penalties are also relatively insignificant, with a maximum fine of $200 for players.

With no specific definitions for commonly used defining terms, such as “bet” or “wager”, the core meaning of “gambling” can be put together from various different laws:

§ 2133. -At gaming house
A person who plays at cards, dice, tables or other game for money or other valuable in a common gaming or gambling house that is maintained for lucre and gain, shall be fined not more than $200.00 or imprisoned not more than sixty days, or both.

§ 2141. Winning or losing by gambling
A person who wins or loses money or other valuable thing by play or hazard at any game, or by betting on such play or hazard, or sharing in a stake wagered by others on such play or hazard, shall be fined not more than $200.00 nor less than $10.00.

A quick look at these two definitions and you’ll quickly understand why we think the Vermont gambling laws are ambiguous at best. For statute 2133, there is no definition of what qualifies as a “gaming or gambling” house to be found in the Vermont Statutes. Similarly, we have no idea what is meant by “hazard” in statute 2141.

You should also know that based on the open-language of statute 2133, it could also be interpreted as covering social gaming too, meaning that a friendly game of poker at home is implicitly illegal. However, it is not common for authorities to actually go knocking on doors of any recreational home games.

Vermont Gambling Options

The only forms of legal gambling in this state are Lottery, which includes scratchcards and inter-state games like the Powerball and Mega Millions, and charity games, which includes bingo, raffles, casino nights and poker nights.

Poker: Poker games are allowed as part of the charity games carve out. Also, though social games are technically illegal, there’s only been a handful of instances where authorities have stepped in to provide legal intervention for small-stake home poker games.

Online Gambling in Vermont

When it comes to online gambling laws, Vermont shares the same fate as many other states. Much of the current laws were written decades, maybe even centuries ago. A time way before the internet even existed. As such, there are no laws that specifically address the issues of online gambling, leaving it in the proverbial “grey zone.”

Naturally, whether online gambling is truly legal or illegal comes down to one’s interpretation of the written law. But for all intents and purposes, gambling online is not explicitly illegal, and as long as you play at offshore online gambling sites, it is legal on a federal level.

Online Poker in Vermont

Just as we have explained in the above section, there are no laws specifically pertaining to the legality of online poker. One can assume it’s illegal based on the broadly used language within the laws, however, strictly speaking, it is neither legal or illegal, especially if you play at offshore sites. There are plenty of offshore poker rooms that accepts players from Vermont on a regular basis, and as far as we know, no one within the state has been arrested for gambling charges based on online poker.

The Future of Online Poker in Vermont

Given the back-seat approach the state has taken in regards to gambling in general, it’s unlikely Vermont will be next in line when it comes to regulating online poker.

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Keep in Mind

We are not legal professionals so be sure to educate yourself on responsible gambling and consult a lawyer where necessary in applicable matters, using this page only as an opinionated guide.