Utah Likely To Never Allow Legal Sports Betting

Eric Uribe
By , Updated on: Sep 4, 2022 08:00 PM
Utah Likely To Never Allow Legal Sports Betting

Never say never, but the chances of Utah legalizing sports betting are astronomically low — perhaps the lowest of any state inside the country that hasn't already done so (a list that's under 20 at this point).  But hey, you never know, the state could have a change of heart one day. Here's everything we know about the state's current stance on sports betting (things can change, after all).

No Legalized Betting Of Any Kind In Utah

Sports betting is 100-percent illegal in Utah. So is the wagering of any kind — whether that's on horses, card games, or a lottery. In fact, Utah is one of two states inside the Union with zero gambling presence (the other is Hawaii). In the Utah constitution, it outright says the state “shall not authorize any game of chance.”

Of course, this staunch anti-betting view stems from Utah's population, which is majority affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or Mormonism as it's commonly called). About 60 percent of the state's three-million population identifies as LDS. The church has similar strong stances on alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and even caffeine — but unlike those, gambling is completely banned in all capacities.

Not even the thought of additional tax revenue, which is the main reason why 30-plus states have rushed to legalize sports betting in the USA, is enough to convince Utah to even consider it (as of this writing, no bill has ever been drafted proposing its legalization). Jay Kornegay, executive VP of the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, said Utah could make, conservatively, around $7 million in tax dollars from legalizing. Kornegay's projection comes from similar-sized states and doesn't account for Utah's own growth, which is the fourth-fastest in the country.

We wouldn't "bet" on Utah legalizing sports betting anytime soon. Again, never say never, but if it does ever happens, Utah would likely be the very last state in the Union to do it. Utah bettors will have to look elsewhere to get their gambling fix (more on that shortly).

Utah Not Without A Strong Sports Culture

Few think of sports when the thought of Utah comes to mind, perhaps Winter sports (which are a haven in the north part of the state). However, Utah has a quite underrated sports scene. It has not one, but two major sports teams in the NBA's Utah Jazz and MLS' Real Salt Lake. Both franchises have had success in spades recently, too.

On the collegiate side, there are also big-name universities such as the Utah Utes, Utah State Aggies, and the Mormon-affiliated Brigham Young University (BYU for short). Each school has built winning basketball and football programs during the last decade.

None of the teams we just mentioned will be able to monetize from the sports betting boom currently happening. Sportsbook operators are spending millions on endorsements with big-name teams, but alas, that won't be a necessity here since local fans have no legal betting options. But there is something else Utahns can do to wager.

How To Bet If You're Inside Utah

Utah residents looking to get into some sports betting action still have plenty of options. The Beehive State (yes, it's actually nicknamed that) borders four neighboring states where legal sports betting is now available. Drive far enough south along Interstate 15, and you will arrive in Las Vegas, which is still the gambling mecca despite no longer having a monopoly on the practice.

To the east, a wide variety of brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are open for business across Colorado. The state is also a leader in mobile betting. Further south, a limited number of licensed sportsbooks are ready to take your bet in New Mexico but don’t expect to find too many mobile betting options just yet.

Placing bets with long-established online sportsbooks remains a popular option among Utah sports bettors. While many of the biggest names in online sportsbooks are based offshore, they have been servicing American sports bettors for decades, and are qualified to be included among our reviews of top online sportsbooks. Going this route will save you gas money from driving elsewhere — which in economic times like this, we could all use help on!

Meet the author

Eric Uribe

Eric has been passionate about sports since he was 10 years old. He brings over 10 years of sports journalism experience to his expert coverage of sports betting. Hailing from the US, Eric leverages his diverse expertise covering sports at all levels – from high schoo...

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