Sports betting was allowed to be legalized in the United States beginning in June 2018. The 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that outlawed sports betting in the United States was struck down by the Supreme Court, giving individual states the option to legalize sports betting. In recent years, we have seen the sports betting landscape shift a lot, especially since there have been significant changes to online betting law.

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Four states were exempt from the PASPA ruling: Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and Nevada. These had pre-existing sports lotteries. Nevada had Vegas, the capital of gambling, where sportsbooks were established.

New Jersey led the PASPA takedown. In 2009, Senator Raymond Lesniak sued that PASPA was discriminatory against the 46 states that weren’t grandfathered in. The NCAA and pro leagues pushed back against legalizing sports betting.

After a long battle, the Supreme Court ruled PASPA unconstitutional in 2018 by a 7-2 vote. Now, each state can legalize sports betting. Not all have jumped on board, but as of April 2024, 38 states have now legalized some form of sports betting. Others, meanwhile, are soon expected to increase that number.

Some are choosing online sportsbooks, some keep it retail. Most have done both. State officials are looking at accessibility and how taxes can work. Many see great value in legalized American betting, earning millions in their first year.

More and more states are seeing sports betting as a potential revenue source. This has a wide-ranging impact, including the increase in pressure for the federal government to renegotiate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and additional competition with state lotteries. Sports betting has proven to be a significant source of tax revenue for many states thus far.

 

States With Legal Sports Betting in the USA

Arizona

Online sports betting has been given the green light in Arizona. Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill in April 2021, paving the way for its legalization. The official launch date for sports betting in the state was September 9, 2021.

Arkansas

Sports betting was legalized and launched in Arkansas in July 2019, making it the ninth state to legalize sports betting in the USA. Currently, you can place wagers at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, AR.

Colorado

Colorado launched sports betting in the state in May 2020. They have taken the mobile sports betting route, with four operators available. They also have retail sportsbooks.

Delaware

Delaware technically already had permission to bet on sports, but they didn’t waste any time once PASPA was overturned to offer sports betting at three casinos.

Florida

The history of Florida sports betting is complicated. Initially, it was legalized via an exclusive gaming compact between the state and the Seminole tribe. Gambling operations were rolled out sometime in November 2021. However, West Flagler Associates, a gaming facility operator based in Florida, filed a lawsuit alleging the Seminoles' gaming compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Florida sports gambling forced to shut down shortly thereafter. Roughly two years later, though, the Seminoles were able to relaunch their sports betting services. Though the matter is still tied up in litigation and potentially headed to the Supreme Court, Florida sports betting remains live as of April 2024.

Illinois

Awkward timing got Illinois, the 15th state to legalize sports betting, off to a rocky start. A global pandemic took the world by storm one week after they launched their retail sportsbooks. The first bets were placed at Rivers Casino in March 2020, and days later, much of the United States was shut down due to COVID-19.

Indiana

In September 2019, Indiana jumped on board (surprisingly) and legalized sports betting in the state. You can bet on your mobile device or at any of their designated retail locations.

Iowa

Sports betting was legalized in Iowa in August 2019, and they offer retail locations as well as mobile betting.

Kentucky

In a monumental move, Kentucky has officially embraced sportsbooks, eliminating the need to venture beyond state lines to place your bets. As of June 28th, 2023, you can indulge in legal sports betting from anywhere in the Bluegrass State.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts legalized sports betting in 2022, permitting individuals to legally wager on sports events online and offline. If you meet the minimum age requirement of 21, you now have access to seven US-based sportsbooks, as well as the opportunity to participate in the lottery, visit casinos, bet on horse races, and explore numerous offshore online betting platforms.

Michigan

Michigan quickly followed behind Illinois as the 16th state to legalize sports betting—two days after, to be exact, on March 11, 2020. They also had awkward timing with the pandemic moving in on the United States, shutting down all retail sportsbooks. However, the market has since rebounded nicely. Especially when it come sto online sports betting.

Mississippi

Another surprising state to jump on the sports betting bandwagon so early was none other than Mississippi. They began accepting sports bets in August 2018, a mere three months after PASPA was overturned. The state only offers sports betting at land-based casinos, with no intention of offering mobile in the near future.

Montana

Montana launched its sports betting product in March 2020 during the pandemic. You can place a wager at any Sports Bet Montana kiosks in licensed retailers around the state.

Nevada

While PASPA’s overturning didn’t really affect Nevada or Las Vegas in the slightest, they have made some improvements to their sportsbooks and online offerings in the past two years.

New Hampshire

Sports betting was legalized in New Hampshire in July 2019 and launched just before the new year. They offer mobile betting through a partnership with DraftKings Sportsbook, the only mobile operator in the state thus far.

New Jersey

Obviously, since New Jersey spearheaded the PASPA overruling, they were the first state to legalize sports betting in June 2018. They offer retail sportsbooks as well as plenty of mobile betting options. Many New Yorkers would travel across the bridge to place a wager.

New Mexico

Legal sports betting launched in New Mexico in August 2018. NM was the sixth state to allow sports betting at their casinos. There is no plan thus far to offer online betting.

New York

In June 2019, New York legalized sports betting after the New York State Gaming Commission took its time developing laws and rules around sports betting, which evidently delayed the launch. As of January 2022, both retail and online sports betting services are live.

North Carolina

Sports betting in North Carolina is now legal and live. Online sports betting launched at noon on March 11, 2024, and eight state-licensed sports betting apps are currently available to bettors in the state. In addition to online sports betting, there are also three retail sports betting locations in North Carolina.

North Dakota

Sports betting has been available at tribal casinos in North Dakota since December 2021. However, attempts to legalize and regulate online sports betting through a proposed bill were unsuccessful. Some restrictions apply, including limitations when it comes to betting on in-state college teams and individual college athletes.

Oregon

Oregon launched its sports betting product in August 2019, opening a sportsbook at Chinook Winds Casino. They recently opened mobile betting in October 2019, which is overseen by the state's lottery department.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania launched sports betting in August 2018, not long after the PASPA overruling. They have plenty of retail sportsbooks around the state and officially launched their mobile betting platform in June 2019.

Rhode Island

Our smallest state began offering sports betting quite early after PASPA was overturned, launching in August 2018. They quickly added mobile betting to their offering in September 2019.

South Dakota

In a somewhat surprising move, South Dakota launched legal sports betting online and in person back in September 2021.

Tennessee

Sports betting was legalized in Tennessee in May 2019, and sports betting is planned to launch in September 2020, with licenses for sportsbooks being issued in July 2020.

Vermont

As of January 11, 2024, legal sports betting has been introduced in Vermont. Residents of the Green Mountain State now have access to three leading U.S. betting sites, along with special promotions from a unique Vermont sportsbook tailored for the NFL playoffs. Vermont has become the 38th state in the U.S. to legalize sports betting.

Virginia

Sports bettors began to place bets in January of 2021 but are not allowed to bet on Virginia-based collegiate sports. The Commonwealth finally implemented its legal sports betting legislation that it approved in August of 2020.

West Virginia

In August 2018, West Virginia lawmakers approved sports betting in the state, and only a few short months later, added online betting to their offering through the BetLucky app.

Which States are Unlikely to Legalize Sports Betting?

While we feel that many states will legalize American sports betting, we think there may be a few that hold out on legalization indefinitely. The main state we believe won’t ever legalize is Utah, with its large Mormon population and strict state laws.

Hawaii and Alaska are outliers that likely won’t legalize either, as they are both not part of continental USA, and have such huge stakes in tourism income that they won’t be seeking the sports betting tax revenue.

California is another state that is still looking unlikely to make any major changes regarding the legalization of sports betting. However, we did see a big push towards bringing a ballot to Californians in 2022. The state would likely be the most profitable in the country, with a huge sports influence. But with an ongoing battle between state tribes and online sports betting lobbyists, it will not be easy to pass a legal betting bill.

Other states we think could be leaning more towards not legalizing or waiting a substantial amount of time are South Dakota, Wisconsin, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

 

Which State Might be Next to Legalize Sports Betting?

Missouri's push for sports betting legalization gains traction, with over 340,000 signatures secured for the November ballot, exceeding the required 180,000. Backed by major sports teams and supported by FanDuel and DraftKings, the effort faces Senate hurdles, particularly over video lottery terminals (VLTs). With +250 odds, Missouri aims to join seven neighboring states in legalizing sports betting.

 

Is Online Betting Legal in the US?

Since there is no federal law against betting online, gambling online with offshore sportsbooks is legal in the US. However, it's important to always avoid Blacklisted /closed books like Caliente.

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State by State Betting Guides and Updates

We’ve kept up to date on all things sports betting in the United States. We have created individual sports betting guides for all 50 states and updates on sports betting legislation and legalization as it occurs.


 

Online Sportsbooks for Legal Betting in the USA

While sports betting isn’t legalized everywhere in the US yet, you can still use offshore books to bet legally. Online books are great options for bettors without local books or state betting.

In fact, many online sportsbooks will be far better than state betting sites. Online sportsbooks have decades of experience and know-how to make a great platforms. They offer many deposit options, bonuses, great mobile sites/apps, and huge customer service teams.

Key Factors to Consider

However, not all sportsbooks are the same. On the contrary, some are definitely better than others. Many don't recommend offshore betting because sketchy books could take your funds. You can't bring American legal teams in since these aren't on US soil.

But don't let that scare you. The top offshore sportsbooks are totally legit, safe, and trustworthy. Many in states with legal betting still use offshore sportsbooks anyway for convenience.

Reading reviews and researching before signing up helps avoid bad books. We review and use the top online betting sites and only recommend the most trusted.

You can find our online sportsbook reviews in our reviews section, the majority of which are available in the United States.