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.
Four states were grandfathered in, making them exempt from PASPA ruling: Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and Nevada. These states had pre-existing sports lotteries, and obviously Nevada had Las Vegas, the home of gambling, where sportsbooks were already established.
New Jersey spearheaded the PASPA takedown, starting in 2009 when Senator Raymond Lesniak filed a lawsuit that PASPA was discriminatory against the 46 states that didn’t get the option to be grandfathered in. Needless to say, the NCAA and professional sports leagues pushed back at every chance against sports betting being legalized.
It wasn’t without a long battle, but the Supreme Court ruled PASPA unconstitutional in a 7-2 vote in May 2018. Now, each state can legalize sports betting, with its own rules and regulations. Not all states will jump on board, but we are seeing great leaps and bounds to legalizing sports betting across the United States.
Some are choosing online platforms, while some are strictly keeping it in retail or brick and mortar sportsbook venues. State officials are looking at accessibility and how the sports betting tax revenue can work for their government - many are seeing great value in having legalized sports betting, earning millions in their first year.
States With Legal Sports Betting in the USA
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sports betting in North Carolina was legalized in July 2019 but is limited to the two state-licensed tribal casinos.
Oregon launched their 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Separate from the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, or the Wild West feel of Fremont Street, sports betting fans in the Gambling Capital of the World can wager from the cool comfort of their home with the online sports betting sites available in Las Vegas.
Atlantic City is often referred to as the East Coast Las Vegas. However, while AC offers great Casinos and horse wagering action, sportsbook betting is still not available on the Boardwalk. For that reason, we bring sports wagering junkies information on the best online sports wagering options in Atlantic City.
Betting on the Sports of Kings is easily accessible live at the track, or through simulcasts at Off-Track betting parlors in Kentucky. For pony punters who can’t get to the rail in the Bluegrass State, we recommend the offshore wagering websites presented here at OSB.
New Jersey is on the cusp of becoming the fifth State in the Union to allow live betting on sporting events that are streamed online from every corner of the globe. They would join DE, MT, NV, and OR as the only States able to offer live sports betting in their casinos and area horse-racing tracks.
Delaware became the fourth state in America, and the first east of the mighty Mississippi River, to offer legal sports betting back in 2009. Delaware has revived their grandfathered sports lottery program and sports wagering is now available online at select locations throughout The First State.
Considering that nine of the 113 US based major professional sports teams are located in Florida, you know the residents in the Sunshine State are online sports betting crazy. Our review of the Florida sports wagering industry advised on the best offshore sports websites available to Floridians.
Sports fans in the state of Maryland turn to online wagering sites for their handicapping needs. With the Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles as the only pro teams in town fans look to the Internet, and popular offshore betting websites, to wager on their favorite sports teams from around the globe.
Casino wagering, horse betting, and card rooms, lead the way when it comes to live betting action in California. Sports handicappers in the Golden State get their online sports betting fix from OSB recommended sports action websites specifically available in the good olde USA.
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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 yet legalized everywhere across the United States, you can still use online offshore sportsbooks to bet on sports without breaking the law. Online sportsbooks are fantastic options for sports bettors who don’t have a local sportsbook location near them or online betting in their state.
Many online sportsbooks will be far superior to any state-offered betting product on the market. Online sportsbooks have been around for decades, and have the experience and know-how to really make a great sportsbook product. They offer plenty of deposit options, bonuses, have great mobile sites or apps, and huge customer service teams that help you with anything you need.
Not all sportsbooks are the same though, so some are definitely better than others. Some people don’t recommend offshore sports betting because if you do sign up for a sketchy sportsbook, you could run into some issues where you may not get your funds. Then you cannot bring American legal teams into it because these sportsbooks aren’t run on American soil.
Don’t let that scare you though, the top online sportsbooks are totally legit, safe and trustworthy, and many who actually live in states with legal sports betting use offshore books anyway - because they are so much more convenient and useful in the long run.
Reading sportsbook reviews and doing some research before signing up at a sportsbook will help protect you from any problems that could arise from choosing a bad sportsbook. We use and review the top online sportsbooks in the market, and only recommend the most trusted online sportsbooks.
You can find our online sportsbook reviews in our reviews section, and many of which are available in the United States.