Why Are There No Casinos in Vermont?

Vermont State Logo on Left and Blacked Out Casino Games With A Red Crossed Circle Over it

Vermont has NO casinos at all. Why is that?

This is weird because casinos are plentiful in the New England area.

And, while it’s legal to host a “casino night,” the state has restrictions about when you can hold such an event.

Some states with strict slot machine laws have gas stations where you can play slots on the down-low. You won’t find slot machines in gas stations in Vermont, either.

The short answer to your question – there are no casinos in Vermont because the state has laws prohibiting them.

If you want to play casino games in Vermont, you’ll either need to find an online casino or visit someplace nearby like Maine or Massachusetts.

Vermont Gambling Laws

The minimum legal gambling age in Vermont is 18.

It’s illegal to gamble professionally in Vermont. This applies to individuals as well as corporations, so it’s illegal to operate a casino. After all, casinos are gambling professionally.

The state’s attitude toward gambling is that nonprofits and fraternal organizations are the only entities allowed to host games of chance. All the proceeds must directly support “charitable, religious, educational, or civic undertakings.”

Oh, and political parties are allowed to hold raffles.

The state also has specific laws regarding the size of prizes. $400 is the max except for a single prize which can only be offered once daily. You can also offer a $5000 prize once a month. Once a year, you can offer a prize worth up to $50,000.

Such organizations are only allowed to offer games of chance twice a week. And that’s if they’re offering bingo games, lotteries, or raffles. If they’re hosting casino games, they’re limited to one casino night per month. And you’re limited to no more than three casino nights per year.

It’s illegal to own any kind of slot machine in Vermont unless you’re a collector. Even then, the slot machine must be an antique that was built before 1954.

Vermont has so little gambling that they don’t even have a gambling commission in the state.

You can find more specific details regarding the gambling laws in Vermont on their official site.

Where Can You Gamble If You Live in Vermont?

If you live in Vermont and still want to gamble in a casino, you have options besides just flying to Las Vegas. The 4 states closest to Vermont all offer casino gambling options. For most Vermont residents, this means that casino gambling is within driving distance.

I recommend nine casinos in nearby states for Vermont gamblers who don’t mind doing a little driving.

Also, Vermont residents might find some online gambling options to suit their needs. These are usually offshore sites that operate under the laws of their jurisdiction rather than under the laws of the United States.

Closeup of Hands on Car Steering Wheel

Strictly speaking, it might not be entirely legal to gamble at an online casino if you live in Vermont. The probability of being the target of any kind of prosecution for playing a few hands of online poker is so small as to be almost unmentionable, though.

You can find plenty of recommendations for online casinos that would be happy to serve a resident of Vermont, though.

Massachusetts Casinos Are a Great Option for Vermont Gambling

Massachusetts has had legal casinos since 2011, but the story of casinos in the state is a long and complicated one.

Massachusetts outlawed games of chance for money in 1788, and they further outlawed other forms of gambling in the 1830s. They legalized betting on dog races and horse races in the 1930s. But Massachusetts didn’t even offer lottery games until the 1970s.

As I write this post, you have three full-service casinos to choose from in Massachusetts:

  1. Encore Boston Harbor
  2. MGM Springfield
  3. Plainridge Park Casino
Encore Boston is the most luxurious of the casinos in Massachusetts. Besides gambling, the property offers upscale shopping, luxury accommodations in the hotel, and at least one expensive gourmet restaurant.

The MGM Springfield offers real money slot machines and table games.

And Plainridge Park Casino offers live harness racing and over 1200 gambling machines. Their table games are limited to electronic versions.

Maine Casinos Are Another Great Option for Vermont Gamblers

Maine used to have gambling laws that were just as strict as Vermont’s, but they legalized gambling machines at racinos several years ago. They also allow poker games for real money, bingo (albeit for charity), the lottery, and pari-mutuel betting.

The only legal online form of gambling is daily fantasy sports.

You have two casinos to choose from in Maine:

  1. Hollywood Casino Bangor
  2. Oxford Casino

Hollywood Casino Bangor offers most of the traditional casino games you’d be interested in, including slot machines and traditional table games like blackjack, craps, and roulette. They also offer harness race betting.

Maine Casinos

Oxford Casino also offers all the traditional casino gambling options. With over 1000 gambling machines, Oxford Casino is the bigger of the 2 Maine casinos that welcome Vermont gamblers.

New York Casinos for Vermont Gamblers

You have more casinos to choose from if you can make it to New York to gamble. Most of them offer the same kinds of slot machines, table games, and video poker games you’d find in a Las Vegas casino.

Many of the casinos in New York are tribal casinos. They operate according to a compact between the tribe and the state.

Also, some of the casinos in New York are “racinos,” which are racetracks that also offer limited amounts of gambling machines. These are usually more along the lines of video lottery machines than slot machines, although the difference is subtle. They also sometimes offer keno games.

I can recommend the following casinos in New York as suitable for Vermont gamblers, mostly because of their proximity:

  1. Mohawk Casino
  2. Saratoga Casino Hotel

Mohawk Casino is near the border to Canada in Hogansburg, New York. It’s a 140,000 square foot, full-service casino that’s been open since 1999. Besides the traditional casino games, Mohawk Casino also hosts poker games and bingo games on site.

Saratoga Casino Hotel offers over 1200 gambling machines and electronic versions of the most popular table games, including blackjack, craps, and roulette. You can also bet on harness race betting here.

Connecticut Casinos Near Vermont

Connecticut didn’t have casinos until the 1990s. In 1993, Foxwood Casino opened, and then in 1996, Mohegan Sun Casino opened. Before those two casinos, gambling in Connecticut was limited to bingo, lotteries, and pari-mutuel betting.

Foxwoods used to be the biggest casino in the United States. The Winstar in Oklahoma dethroned Foxwoods, but Foxwoods is still a monolithic achievement. You can find over 5500 slot machines games and over 250 table games within.

Foxwoods Casino Resort Logo and Exterior of Casino

Mohegan Sun is also a huge casino – in fact, it’s actually two casinos within one resort:

  1. Casino of the Earth
  2. Casino of the Sky

Mohegan Sun might be the smaller of the 2 Connecticut properties, but it’s still a massive complex with over 364,000 square feet of space on their gambling floor. They offer just about as many gambling machines and table games as Foxwoods, too.

Any kind of gambling you can imagine can be found at either of these Connecticut casinos. That includes sports betting, bingo, and traditional table games. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a casino with more gambling machines available than either of these properties.

Our Final Thoughts on Gambling in Vermont

You won’t find any casinos in Vermont because of the strict gambling laws within the state.

But you still have plenty of options when you account for internet casinos and land-based casinos in the surrounding states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York.

Most people living in Vermont are driving distance from a casino in one of these other states.