Are Card Games for Money Illegal?

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By Eric Wilson

Many people enjoy playing card games with their friends and family, and sometimes they even decide to put some money on the line. But is it legal to play card games for money The answer isn’t straightforward as it depends on a few factors.

What is Gambling

Gambling is defined as any activity where a person risks something of value, usually money, on an event that has an uncertain outcome. When we think of gambling, we often picture casinos and slot machines. However, gambling can come in many forms, including card games.

State Laws

The legality of card games for money depends on the state you’re in. Each state has its own laws regarding gambling, and some states allow certain types of gambling while others do not.

In some states, all forms of gambling are illegal. In other states, only certain types of gambling are allowed. For example, some states allow horse racing and lottery games but prohibit casino-style games like blackjack and poker.

Skill vs. Chance

Another factor that determines whether a card game played for money is legal or not is whether the game is considered a game of skill or chance.

A game of chance is one in which luck plays a significant role in determining the outcome. Slot machines and roulette are examples of games of chance.

A game of skill requires a certain level of skill to be successful. Chess and poker are examples of games that require skill to win.

Most states have laws that permit games that involve skill but prohibit those based solely on chance. This means that if you’re playing a game like poker where skill plays a significant role in determining the outcome, it’s more likely to be legal than if you’re playing a game like roulette.


The legality of card games for money is a complex issue that depends on several factors. In general, it’s best to check your state’s laws before engaging in any form of gambling to avoid legal trouble.

Remember, even if you’re playing a game of skill, it’s still important to gamble responsibly and never risk more than you can afford to lose. Gambling can be addictive and lead to financial ruin if not done in moderation.

  • Tip: If you’re unsure whether a particular card game is legal or not, consult with a lawyer who specializes in gambling laws.