Sports betting was legalized in the United States in June 2018 - two years ago. 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.

Four states were exempt from the PASPA ruling: Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and Nevada. These had pre-existing sports lotteries. Nevada had Vegas, home 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 will jump on board, but many are legalizing sports betting across the US.

Some are choosing online sportsbooks, while some keep it retail. 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 is having wide-ranging impacts including pressure for the federal government to renegotiate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and increased 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

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 will also have retail sportsbooks eventually, but it was challenging to launch in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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, and will be offering mobile betting in the near future.

Illinois

Awkward timing got Illinois, the 15th state to legalize sports betting off to a rocky start - with a pandemic starting 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 will offer retail locations as well as mobile betting - the only catch is that you will need to visit a retail location to set up your mobile account.

Kentucky

In a monumental move, Kentucky has embraced sportsbooks, eliminating the need to venture beyond state lines to place your bets. From 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. Their mobile product won’t be ready until 2021.

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 amidst 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 their time developing laws and rules around sports betting, which evidently delayed the launch. Currently, they only offer in-person betting at casinos.

North Carolina

Sports betting in North Carolina was legalized in July 2019 but is limited to the two state-licensed tribal casinos.

North Dakota

Sports betting is available at tribal casinos in North Dakota since December 2021. However, attempts to legalize and regulate sports betting through a proposed bill were unsuccessful. Some restrictions apply, including limitations on 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 on the state lottery’s online sportsbook.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania launched sports betting in August 2018, not long after the PASPA overruling. They have plenty of retail sportsbooks around the state and just launched their mobile betting platform one year ago, 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.

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. The state would likely be the most profitable in the country, with a huge sports influence. But, with an ongoing battle with state tribes, 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.

 

Is Online Betting Legal in the US?

Since there is no federal law against betting online, gambling online is legal in the US.  Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legalized online betting, but you have to play in one of their approved casinos or legal betting sites. Always avoid Blacklisted /closed books like Caliente.

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 - some are definitely better than others. Some 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 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, and many of which are available in the United States.