US States With Legal Sports Betting
American citizens are now able to find more US states with legal sports betting than ever before. Throughout history, sports gambling has been a popular yet highly debated topic for lawmakers and gaming operators. It may have taken years of prodding, but the widespread regulation of single-game sports wagering is well on its way. Sports betting states are now able to capitalize on an entirely new source of revenue that helps benefit their local economies in various ways. For citizens, state-licensed sports gambling opens the door to increased wagering options. With government officials drafting sports betting bills on a regular basis, there is a high probability for all Americans that legal sports betting will be coming to a city or state nearby. Of course, it is also important to learn how the ability to bet online at offshore sportsbooks has been impacted by these legal sports betting states. Both topics will be addressed thoroughly, giving you a well-round picture of the legal environment for states in the US with legal sports betting.
Map Of Legal Sports Betting States
No Plans To Legalize Sports Betting Bills Introduced Full Scale Legal Sports Betting
States With Legal Sports Betting Map
States With Legal Sports Betting Map ( copy)
US States With Land-Based Sports Betting
Land-based sports betting in the United States has expanded to 23 different states now. This new found boom in approved regulated sports betting comes following the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Protection Act (PASPA) that barred states from allowing locally based sports betting. Now sports bettors in these states are able to travel to local casino operations and bet on their favorite sports. These sportsbooks are Las Vegas-style full-service sportsbooks, which means they offer the same high-quality sports betting that you would find in Sin City. The number of regulated states will continue as many states are in the process of passing legislation to bring land-based sports betting to their residents.
Every state’s local sports betting laws are different when it comes to land-based sports betting. For example, Tennessee only allows online and mobile betting, no land-based operations, while New York only allows land-based sports betting operations. Here you can find all the information you may need about betting on sports in the US. Legal sports betting is a growing market so the number of states with land-based sports betting may increase. It is also important to note that some states have already past legislation for regulated land-based sports betting but they have not launched as of yet. Betting on sports is slowly becoming the norm so expect the total number of regulated sportsbooks to increase.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia
States That Have Past Sports Betting Legislation But Have Not Launched Land-Based Sportsbooks:
- North Carolina
US States With Land-Based Sports Betting
While many states have regulated sports betting, each state is different when it comes to their own rules for betting on sports. Some states have strict restrictions than others and it is important to know what you can and cannot wager on in which state. For example, land-based sportsbooks in New York can’t accept sports bets on collegiate teams that are based in the state of collegiate sporting events that take place in the state, this is common for many states as the risk of point-shaving is a major issue.
Indiana sportsbooks will also not offer betting lines on high school events for the same reason. Betting on esports tournaments is also banned in Indiana. Iowa will offer collegiate betting lines on home teams, but won’t offer wagering opportunities like prop bets on the Iowa collegiate athletes themselves. It’s because of these reasons that even though, land-based sportsbooks are starting to appear all across the US, people are still using legal online sportsbooks located outside of the U.S. and their state’s borders in order to find betting lines on the most obscure events.
States That Ban Or Restrict Local Collegiate Betting:
- New York
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
States That Ban Or Restricts Esports Betting:
- West Virginia (If participants are under 18)
Legal Sports Betting In Nevada – The Biggest Sports Betting State
It should come as no surprise legal sports betting in Nevada is a billion-dollar industry, considering that it is the original sports betting state. Nevada was exempt from the confines of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) due to legalizing sports wagering in the 1940s, which was prior to PASPA’s passage in 1992. The only restriction per Nevada sports betting laws was that sports bars could not become sportsbook licensees. State-licensed casinos and independent betting shops, however, can legally offer sportsbooks.
A unique feature of legal sports betting in Nevada is that you can actually use mobile betting apps to browse boards and place wagers. Most of the casinos that own and operate sportsbooks have apps that allow you to place wagers and track your bet slips from your mobile device, giving you the ability to leave the casino and still get your bets in. These apps can only be used within the state of Nevada. (Several other states have taken a cue from NV on mobile wagering and have legalized similar practices within their own borders.)
Most of Nevada’s sportsbooks are located in Las Vegas, Reno, and Henderson. While individual betting shops used to be very popular back in the ’50s and ’60s, they’ve all but gone out of business since the casinos and hotels took over the sports betting scene. That being said, you’ll still be able to find small sportsbooks in cities scattered throughout the state.
Types Of Wagers Offered At Vegas Sportsbooks
Because of its full exemption from PASPA, Nevada sportsbooks were able to offer every type of wager they thought would make money, using trial and error to focus that field over the years. Nevada sportsbooks have everything from basic game odds like moneylines, spreads, and totals, to parlays, props, futures, specials, pleasers, teasers, if-bets, reverse if-bets, Asian Handicaps, and more. These sportsbooks used to bank on the fact that they were able to offer something that every other state was denied the right to, which has given them the time, space, and money to set the full-service, single-game sports wagering standard that all current states are following in their own efforts to legalize post-PASPA. Despite lots of upstart competition, Nevada is still the grand-daddy of them all.
Legal Sports Betting In Delaware
Delaware is another state that was exempt from PASPA, though initially only partially. This is because, in 1976, Delaware expanded its lottery laws to include NFL parlay cards. They weren’t very popular and the state ceased offering this form of legal sports betting after a single year. But because they never repealed the law, Delaware became one of the four states grandfathered into the federal law exemptions (though only for those parlay cards).
With the overturn of PASPA, legal Delaware sports betting now includes single-game wagering. The same Vegas-style odds and betting options that were once only in Nevada are now offered in the First State. Sports betting in Delaware can be found at each of its three racetracks, Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway & Casino, and Delaware Park Racetrack. Delaware has also legalized online sports betting, but that product has not yet been rolled out.
Legal Sports Betting In Mississippi
Technically speaking, sports betting in Mississippi has been legal since the state included the provision in a 2017 daily fantasy sports bill. It was not until August 2018 that Mississippi sportsbooks launched in Tunica and Biloxi, as the state had to wait for the Supreme Court ruling on PASPA.
Now, residents and tourists can wager on sports at more than 20 different sportsbooks spread across the state. All of these locations offer full-service sports wagering, though the state has not yet fully addressed mobile sports betting within its statutes. Most insiders believe Mississippi will have legal online sports wagering up and running sometime in 2020 or 2021 at the latest.
Legal Sports Betting In Rhode Island
Rhode Island sports betting took most of the nation by surprise, with the state becoming the eighth state to start accepting sports bets. Only two casinos can hold sports betting licenses in the state – Twin River Casino (Lincoln) and Twin River Tiverton Casino. The law to legalize sports betting was passed on June 22, 2018, as part of the governor’s budget package.
Now, anyone 18 or older can place bets on football, basketball, hockey, tennis, baseball, and other popular sports at local Rhode Island sportsbooks. Mobile sports betting in Rhode Island was also made possible by bill that passed in early 2019. There is only one mobile sportsbook in Rhode Island and you will have to register in-person at one of the Twin River casino locations to use it.
Legal Sports Betting In New Jersey
After a years-long battle, no state is prouder to offer legal sports betting than New Jersey. The state has legalized sports betting at local racetracks and all of its Atlantic City casinos as of June 2018. New Jersey sportsbooks are the most comprehensive betting products available on the East Coast, with land-based, online, and mobile betting options. Of all the legal sports betting states, New Jersey has the most competitive market outside of Nevada.
While most of the wagering action is concentrated in Atlantic City, all of the sportsbooks in New Jersey have full-service sports betting. Betting lines are available on all of the most popular sports, and each sports gambling property provides a unique experience.
Legal Sports Betting In West Virginia
Lawmakers in West Virginia were vocal proponents of regulated sports betting in the US. The law to legalize West Virginia sports betting was passed in March 2018, with full-scale West Virginia sportsbooks launching in August 2018 after the May SCOTUS ruling. As the fifth state to launch legal sports gambling, WV could be considered an early pioneer of the industry.
There are five casinos in WV that can offer sports betting, though one (The Greenbrier) is a members-only location. Three out of the five are operational at the moment. All of the locations accept single-game wagers on sports like football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and more. There are also online sports betting options in WV powered by local sportsbooks. The Greenbrier’s mobile sportsbook is powered by FanDuel and is available to the public.
Legal Sports Betting In New Mexico
New Mexico sportsbooks appear to have been legalized overnight. The sportsbook at the tribal Santa Ana Star Casino opened its doors in October 2018, making New Mexico the sixth state with legal sports betting. Interestingly enough, there was no new legislation passed to make this happen. The Tamaya Nation at the Pueblo of Santa Ana was able to start offering sports betting based on the language within their state-tribal compact.
New Mexico’s first tribal sportsbook (Santa Ana Star) accepts bets on both professional and collegiate sports. The venue features two self-service kiosks for convenience, along with four wagering stations. The Santa Ana Sportsbook is not able to accept mobile or online sports bets per their existing compact. Since the Tamaya gambit, more land-based NM sportsbooks have opened under the same compact allowances, albeit at different tribal venues. Legal online sports betting requires the NM congress to pass a new law, which is currently not in the cards.
Legal Sports Betting In Pennsylvania
Sports betting in Pennsylvania was first legalized toward the end of 2017, with the law becoming active in May 2018 upon PASPA’s overturn. Pennsylvania sportsbooks first launched in November 2018 with full mobile and online capabilities, though the first online book wasn’t launched until late May 2019. There are a total of 12 casino and racetrack locations eligible to offer legal PA sports betting, and nearly all of them currently do.
PA sportsbooks are of course located in major cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, though there are also several sports wagering venues in central PA. The Rivers Casino Sportsbook is one of the most popular books for sports fans, as the bookmaker is near both Heinz Field and PNC Park. Pennsylvania sportsbooks are taxed at 36% of revenue, the highest rate in the country.
Legal Sports Betting In Montana
Two different kinds of sports wagering were legalized in Montana in May 2019: sports tabs/pools and single-game online betting. These were each passed in their own bills, and both versions are slated to go live by the start of the 2019-2020 NFL season. Barring any unforeseen setbacks to sports betting in Montana, this deadline is definitely achievable.
Montana’s famous tavern industry will be the beneficiary of the renewed and refreshed sports tabs and sports pools, all of which will be offered at these venues in-person on a pari-mutuel basis. The Montana Lottery will handle the administration of full single-game (i.e. “Vegas-style”) betting, which will be available over the Internet (at on-site locations only) and at lottery retailers and other bar and restaurant venues in the form of electronic sports wagering kiosks.
Legal Sports Betting In New York
New York actually legalized sports betting at its four upstate commercial casino venues (and by extension, its 7 tribal casino locales) all the way back in 2013 via public referendum. However, instead of immediately launching these books upon PASPA’s overturn, lawmakers in the Empire State took extra time to work out the finer points of New York sports betting. That culminated in a list of regulatory rules, which have finally been approved and adopted.
With no challenges to the rules, land-based single-game sports wagering was formally launched on July 16, 2019, when the Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady opened its sportsbook to the public. There will be no state-licensed online sports betting in New York until new laws are passed to allow for such.
Legal Sports Betting In Connecticut
Land-based sports wagering was legalized in CT in 2017, before the overturn of PASPA. However, the state must carefully decide how to implement the new industry, as it has to balance commercial interests with the tribal interests already established in the state. So far, this task has proven more difficult than expected.
The Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Nation believe they have exclusive rights to offer sports betting in Connectiut, while OTB providers like Sportech and the Connecticut Lottery – and big hitters like Caesars Entertainment – are all angling for a piece of the action. Until a functional operational agreement can be hammered out, no land-based sports wagering venues will open inside the state.
Legal Sports Betting In Arkansas
Land-based sports betting was legalized in Arkansas in November 2018 via voter referendum (Issue 4). The law authorizes four Arkansas sports betting racino/casino venues, though only three have been confirmed: Oaklawn Jockey Club (Garland County), Southland Racing Corporation (Crittenden County), and Saracen Casino Resort (Pine Bluff). Sports wagering is overseen by the Arkansas Racing Commission, and bettors must be 21 or older in order to participate. The Oaklawn venue was first to market, accepting its first bets on July 1, 2019. Saracen Casino was the second having launched its sports betting annex on October 1, 2019, while the resort itself is still under construction. Southland Racing has yet to launch an AR sportsbook and a casino licensee for Pope County has yet to be named.
There is no provision in the existing AR law for state-licensed online sports betting. In order for any Internet-based domestic sportsbooks to open, a new law will have to be crafted and passed. It is unclear if such an expansion would require statewide voter approval.
Legal Sports Betting In Illinois
Sports wagering was legalized in Illinois on June 28, 2019, when Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed SB 690 into law. The Illinois sports betting laws allow for sports betting lounges to operate at the state’s 10 riverboat casino venues, and it also allows horse racing tracks in the state to host sportsbooks. Lottery retail locations could also offer sports betting under the law. Additionally, SB 690 allows for online and mobile sports betting statewide, and it also creates 6 new casino licenses to expand gambling in the state.
Sports betting revenue in IL will be taxed at a rate of 15%. Master sports betting license fees are set at 5% of gross gaming revenue for each applicant, with a maximum $10 million fee. These licenses are good for four years. The law also allows for three online-only sportsbook licenses, which cost $20 million each. For the first 18 months, online bettors will have to register in person at their books’ partner casinos.
After SB 690 passed on June 28, 2019, sports betting in Illinois technically became legal. SB 690 allows Illinois’s 10 riverboat casinos, and its horse racing tracks to open sportsbooks. The law also authorizes Illinois to issue sports betting licenses to casinos as well. In March 2020, the first retail sportsbooks in the state. Three casinos, two in the greater Chicago area and one near St. Louis, were issued preliminary licenses. The goal was to begin accepting wagers in time for March Madness, but COVID-19 obviously had other plans.
Illinois will tax all sports betting revenue at a rate of 15%. Retail sportsbooks in Illinois will pay 5% of their gross gaming revenue as a licensing fee, with the maximum allowable fee being $10 million. These licenses last for four years. SB 690 also allows Illinois to issue three online-only sports betting licenses, which will cost $20 million each. Rivers Casino in Des Planes secured Illinois’s first online sports betting license in June 2020. For the first 18 months of operation, bettors will need to register in-person at a partnered casino in order to place bets online.
Legal Sports Betting In New Hampshire
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) signed HB 480 into law on July 12, 2019. The law authorizes up to 10 in-state retail betting licenses and up to 5 online betting licenses for statewide mobile wagering. License fees are not specified in the New Hampshire sports betting law, and sportsbook applicants will be selected based on a bidding process. New Hampshire will select the operators that offer the largest revenue-sharing proposals to the state. Currently, Hew Hampshire offers its residents mobile and internet sports betting platforms with DraftKings Sportsbook.
The launch of the state-affiliated sports betting outlet occurred in December 2019. DraftKings was chosen by the state’s lottery to head up mobile and internet operations. Sports bettors must be 21 years old to use this application for wagering on sports. There is no concrete timeline for when retail sports betting will formally launch in NH. The only restrictions of the new sports betting law is no in-state NCAA team or game being played within state lines can be wagered on at state-licensed books. Collegiate games that include non-NH teams and which are played outside state borders can be wagered on at New Hampshire sportsbooks.
Legal Sports Betting In Indiana
The Indiana legislature passed legislation to legalize sports wagering in late April 2019, and it was signed by the governor on May 8, 2019. Legal sports wagering in Indiana is allowed to be offered at any of IN’s 13 state-licensed gaming venues, though the bill allows for the building of more gambling sites, which will also be able to offer sports betting. Laws regulating sports betting in Indiana also allows state-wide online sports wagering, making the state one of the most comprehensive sports wagering destinations on the map.
On September 1, 2019, sports betting launched in three retail locations. Since then more and more gambling establishments have joined and have launched Indiana sportsbooks themselves. However, it wasn’t until October 3, 2019, that online sports betting in Indiana went live. Rush Street Gaming launched an online sportsbook via its partnership with French Lick Casino and DraftKings launched one as well through its partnership with Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago.
Legal Sports Betting In Tennessee
Tennessee unveiled their online and mobile sports betting industry on November 1, 2020, nearly 18 months after the pastime became legal. The law only allows for internet and mobile sports betting platforms, meaning no land-based locations are available as they are not specified as such within the law. Four sportsbook operators launched on the official date with more to come in the future.
Having just the four initial sports wagering businesses, Tennesseans still jumped at the chance to bet on sports matchups using local outlets. In the first eight days, $27 million was wagered by sports bettors in the state. That number is expected to grow as the popularity of the activity does and more sports betting operations open. During each meeting held by the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL), the committee can issue licenses to applicants for sports betting businesses. There is no limit on how many licenses can or will be issued when the final count comes in for Tennessee’s sports betting industry.
Legal Sports Betting In Iowa
Three closely-related sports wagering bills have been passed by the IA legislature and were signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds on May 13, 2019. These legal Iowa sports wagering bills allow betting to take place at any of the state’s 19 brick-and-mortar gambling venues (both land-based and riverboat). The Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission oversees the industry, and vendors are taxed at 6.75%, matching NV’s sportsbook tax rate as the lowest in the US. Online sports betting is authorized under the law, but it will require in-person registration at a qualified casino venue until January 1, 2021. Both land-based and state-wide online sports betting apps were launched on August 15, 2019.
Legal Sports Betting In Oregon
Oregon was originally one of four states that were exempt from the federal ban on sports betting known as PASPA. After PASPA was repealed, the Oregon Lottery took it upon themselves to create regulations for the state’s legal sports betting industry. There was no need for any Oregon sports betting bills to pass through the legislature in order to authorize sports betting because of that pre-existing exception. Oregon did, however, still need to put appropriate infrastructure in place to support sports betting.
The first sportsbooks to launch came at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort on August 27, 2019. Tribal casinos can only offer land-based sports betting options, but they can also offer collegiate betting. To counter that, the state lottery launched a state-wide mobile betting app—called Scoreboard— in the fall of 2019 but limits it to only betting on professional sports such as the NFL, NBA, and MLB. In June 2020, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde announced a partnership with ROAR Digital to launch both online and retail sports betting for several tribal casinos.
Legal Minnesota Sports Betting
Legal sports betting in Minnesota is an idea that lawmakers in the state have not warmed up to yet but has been long-awaited by many residents of the state. There is no doubt that people in the Land of 10,000 Lakes love sports and love betting on their favorite teams even more. The state as a whole is known to be a pro-gambling state and federal laws have changed to allow legal sports betting all across the nation. In a state with high activity of gambling and sports teams, it is assumed that legal MN sports betting gain traction and be a legitimate option sooner rather than later.
With constantly changing laws, both on the federal and state level, it is extremely difficult to stay on top of what’s happening in regards to gambling. Not to worry as we collected all of that information and compiled it in this guide to ensure you fully comprehend every aspect of the gambling industry. After reading through this, you should be able to understand your rights to legally place bets on your favorite sports teams (or against your least favorite) and locations of where to get it done. Our goal is to ensure you are comfortable with all of the information presented and can safely and legally make a wager without the question of its legality.
Legal Sports Betting In Colorado
Legal sports betting in Colorado had to jump through some hoops but, alas, it is officially here! Voters approved the activity when they voted “yes” to Proposition DD during their November ballot in 2019. Colorado residents and visitors of the state will now have a chance to go to a retail sportsbook in one of three towns. Those gambling towns are Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City. Casinos in those towns that receive a license to conduct sports betting in CO will also be able to offer statewide mobile sports wagering apps. In-person registration won’t be required to use these apps so as long as you are within state lines you will be able to bet on the Broncos, Rockies, or any other professional or collegiate team for that matter.
Legal Sports Betting In Michigan
At the tail end of 2019, Michigan legalized sports betting on December 20. This was entirely possible thanks to lawmakers passing MI HB 4916 and it was then signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The battle to legalize sports wagering in Michigan was a battle. In 2018, lawmakers actually did end up passing sports betting legislation. Then when it went to the previous Governors desk, he decided to veto the bill. He was concerned that legalizing sports betting in Michigan would undercut the School Aid Fund in Michigan.
Current Gov. Whitmer had similar concerns. She indicated that she would not sign a sports betting bill that would undercut the School Aid Fund. To prevent that from happening, lawmakers and the governor worked together to find a tax sweet spot to help sportsbooks remain profitable while keeping the School Aid Fund funded. Sports betting is taxed at an 8.4% tax rate in Michigan. Once sportsbooks open, 26 casinos in the state will be able to open retails and online sportsbooks. Online sportsbooks will be available statewide and remote registration for mobile sportsbooks will be allowed as well.
Michigan legalized sports betting on December 20, 2019 when it passed HB 4916. There was a previous effort to legalize Michigan sports betting in 2018, but the bill was vetoed by then-Governor Rick Snyder out of concern for the state’s School Aid Fund. The new bill addressed his concern with a healthy, but reasonable, 8.4% tax rate on sports betting revenues that will directly contribute to the School Aid Fund. There are currently 26 casinos throughout Michigan, and all will be authorized to open retail and online sportsbooks.
Three casinos, all in Detroit, opened their sportsbooks to the public in early March. Michigan state and casino officials had been working around the clock since December to prepare sportsbooks for a pre-March Madness launch, but widespread sports cancellations in response to the COVID pandemic will likely stunt any potential growth for Michigan sports betting over the next several months. Still, the industry is in a good place moving forward, especially now that large sports betting firms like William Hill have begun signing deals to operate online sportsbooks for major casinos.
Legal Betting On The Breeders’ Cup
Legal betting on the Breeders’ Cup kicks off this weekend with races from dawn to dusk. However, the main event of the day is going to be the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will feature some of the most talented and special horses in this year’s crop. At the top of the tables is Improbable, followed by Belmont Stakes winner Tiz The Law. Maximum Security, Tom’s D’Etat and Authentic make up the rest of the favorites, and after them, the odds fall off of a cliff.
Bettors can wager on the horse races at the Breeders’ Cup by using the online sportsbooks that are located offshore if they are not in a state which has state-operated legal horse race betting. Many states do have that, generally via apps as well as at various designated locations. However, for the ones that do not, the online sportsbooks are a great bet. Here’s what the Top 5 horses for the Breeders’ Cup Classic look like right now:
- 8. Improbable +275
- 2. Tiz The Law +350
- 10. Maximum Security +400
- 4. Tom’s D’Etat +550
- 9. Authentic +550
Types Of Wagers Offered At Land-Based Sportsbooks
The types of wagers offered at land-based sportsbooks are contingent upon your individual state’s sports betting laws. For example, land-based sportsbooks in New York can’t accept sports bets on collegiate teams that are based in the state or collegiate sporting events that take place in the state. Indiana sportsbooks will also not offer betting lines on high school events or esports tournaments. Iowa will offer collegiate betting lines on home teams, but won’t offer wagering opportunities like prop bets on the Iowa collegiate athletes themselves. It’s because of these reasons that even though, land-based sportsbooks are starting to appear all across the US, people are still using legal online sportsbooks located outside of the U.S. and their state’s borders in order to find betting lines on the most obscure events.
States With Legal Online And Mobile Sports Betting
In addition to land-based sports betting, mobile and online sports betting is also a massive draw for sports bettors. Many states have begun regulated online sports betting but that number is far less than those that have land-based sports betting. With regulated online sports betting, you are able to wager at your local sportsbook without physically having to be there. You will find betting lines online and on mobile apps that offer the same betting lines that you would find if you entered these sportsbooks. Many top US-based mobile sportsbooks have curated deals with states all over to bring mobile sports betting. Books like DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill US for example are common names in the mobile and online sports betting world.
Many states, however, have not regulated online betting and in some cases, online and mobile betting is still restricted to being on the casino floor. In addition, even states that offer true mobile on the go sports betting can only be accessed from within the state. This means if you travel outside of the state you cannot access your sportsbook. Fortunately, there is a solution, online international sportsbooks bring sports betting to all sports bettors across the country. This means no matter where you are you will be able to bet on your favorite sport. These sportsbooks have the best odds you can find, and it doesn’t matter if your state passed sports betting regulations or not as these books can legally operate regardless.
States With Active Regulated Mobile Betting:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
States With Online Sports Betting Pending Launch:
Does The Wire Act Make Sports Betting Illegal?
No, the Wire Act does not make sports betting illegal. The Wire Act actually makes it unlawful for someone to take your bet, rather than to place one. The law was written this way in order to prevent interstate sports wagering from occurring. Federal lawmakers knew that if they made betting illegal, people would find a way around it. They figured that going after the person who takes the bets would be the more prudent course of action because people would just try to keep themselves out of trouble and stop taking bets on the phone or online. They were right because the Wire Act still prevents interstate sports betting from occurring today. Fortunately, though, the Wire Act is a US federal law, and so it has no jurisdiction over online sportsbooks that are located overseas. US laws cannot tell people in other countries what to do. Because of this, the Wire Act has no effect over online, offshore sportsbooks taking your wagers.
Regulating Online Sports Betting By State
As you know, regulated online sports betting is now a state-by-state matter. With no more federal interference, states can individually decide how, when, and where to offer their own sports wagering products. Each state’s regulations will be unique to that state, even if multiple states elect to follow the same general rubric. However, such regulation is limited only to books and services that operate inside a given state’s borders.
In the case of offshore online sports betting sites, state regulations – as well as federal regulations (including PASPA, when it was still active) – have no impact whatsoever on those businesses or your freedom to enjoy their sports wagering products. Offshore books exist outside the scope of US regulatory oversight and legal jurisdiction. Because all these US and state laws criminalize only unlicensed domestic sportsbook operators, offshore operators are unaffected. And since individuals in the US are not criminalized for placing wagers with real money sportsbooks, nobody is breaking any laws.
All that said, do not make the mistake of thinking that these offshore books are not regulated. They are absolutely regulated, licensed, and regularly inspected for compliance by their home countries’ gaming commissions and other appropriate government bodies. As such, it remains against the law for these books to cheat their customers, and they are all held to as high a standard as any licensed, domestic US book. Again, just because an offshore book is not licensed and regulated by the US, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t licensed and regulated in their own countries. These books are safe and legitimate, provided you choose the most respected, long-lived providers in the business.
Sports Betting Is Extremely Popular In The USA
Betting on sports has grown from an occasional hobby to one of the most impactful economic activities in the world. Sports betting is a multi-billion dollar industry across the United Kingdom and in countries such as Spain, Australia, and Macau. In the United States, only a handful of states have legalized sports betting, and even fewer have legalized online sports betting, meaning that states are leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table. Sports betting is extremely popular in the United States, and the lack of legal land-based options has not diminished the demand for the product in any way. States with state-regulated legal sports betting now include:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
According to a report by UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, the total amount bet on sports in Nevada from 1984 through 2018 was roughly $77.25 billion. If you add in the other post-PASPA legal betting states’ figures ($1.54 billion), you get a nationwide total handle of nearly $79 billion. While this may seem like a huge handle, it is peanuts compared to the “illegal” sports betting market. As a point of comparison to drive that point home, the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates that over $10 billion is wagered illegally (or via overseas sportsbooks) on March Madness every single year.
The same group also estimated that over $90 billion is wagered through the same avenues during the annual NFL and NCAA football seasons. This means that in over 30 years of effectively having a legal sports betting monopoly in the US, Nevada (plus the few states currently also offering sports wagering services) took in a total handle that US bettors regularly surpass in a single half-year of sports betting. In other words, at best, NV accounts for 2-3% of all US sports betting on an annual basis (though there is not yet enough data to tell how much of the existing market other states will take from local bookies and overseas sites going forward).
The figures above prove that by not expanding government regulated sports betting, the states of the US – and the federal government itself – are depriving their coffers of billions of dollars in potential tax revenue. Americans want to bet on sports, and their spending behaviors show that the activity will be continued (and continue to grow) with or without regulations. Now that PASPA is no more, it is time for states to overcome any obstacles that currently prevent them from regulating sports betting on their own soil.
Legal Sports Betting FAQs
Which States Have Legal Mobile Sports Betting?
Mobile sports betting has made its way to a handful of the states that have passed measures to legalize sports betting. The states that have domestic (i.e. state-based) mobile betting up and running are Nevada, New Jersey, West Virginia, Iowa, Indiana, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and New Hampshire. Mississippi has mobile betting, but this is limited only to the grounds of licensed casinos that have operational books. Several other states – particularly those without existing casino districts or robust land-based gambling industries – are legalizing mobile betting as a matter of course whenever they pass otherwise standard sports betting legislation. Delaware is something of a special case, as it is legally able to offer mobile sports betting via its state lottery, but that product has not yet rolled out. Tennessee is in a unique position as the only state that has legalized mobile betting but not land-based betting. Eventually, of course, almost all states that establish their own legal sports betting industries will.
Regardless of what state you officially reside in, you will only be able to bet on sports via domestic online or land-based books while physically inside that specific state. In other words, for state-based sports betting, states are geo-fenced. You cannot be in California and call in a bet to a Las Vegas casino, for example. Similarly, you cannot physically be in Tennessee and place bets with an online New Jersey sportsbook. This is all due to a federal law known as the Interstate Wire Act, which prevents sportsbooks from accepting wagers across state lines. Some states, like Mississippi, have taken this geo-fencing concept one step further by only permitting mobile betting to be operational if the player is physically located on the casino’s grounds.
Why Are States All Of A Sudden Allowed To Legalize Sports Betting?
The sudden rush to legalize sports betting has come from a successful appeal of the federal law known as PASPA. This law prevented licensed sportsbooks from operating within the country, with the exception of Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana (who all were grandfathered in due to their previously approved sports betting legislation). For years, the State of New Jersey challenged this ruling, even bringing it to the Supreme Court. In May of 2018, SCOTUS determined that entirety of PASPA was unconstitutional by violating each state’s 10th amendment right, choosing to overturn it by a vote of 6-3. This left a void in many states’ book of codes and now each state is determining their own regulations and legality in general of the sports betting industry for their state alone.
How Many States Currently Have Legal Sports Betting?
There are currently 18 states and Washington D.C with operational, licensed sportsbooks that offer full-scale single-game wagering. There are a few states that have legalized the activity but are still working to fully launch in their state market. Keep in mind that all of the states have different regulations. For example, New Jersey sportsbooks cannot offer betting lines on college teams that are located in the state. This even includes sporting events that are played outside of state lines. Iowa sportsbooks don’t allow for player prop bets on collegiate athletes. Tennessee sports betting is limited to only online platforms.
Which States Are Trying To Pass Legal Sports Betting Bills?
The legislative chaos induced by the COVID-19 pandemic has left many proposed sports betting bills across the country in a state of limbo. A few markets, like Michigan and Washington, managed to pass bills and become operational in the last few months. Other states like Kentucky and Alaska could pass but will likely be tabled until at least 2021 as legislators scramble to address the health crisis. States like Virginia and North Carolina have already passed sports betting but still have not been able to fully launch.
Do All States Have Legal Sports Betting Since PASPA Was Overturned?
Although New Jersey’s appeal of PASPA opened the door for legal sports betting, it didn’t universally legalize sports betting in every state. Individual states still have to pass their own laws legalizing sports betting, which can be a complicated an arduous process. Many states have successfully passed such legislation, and eventually, most, if not all, states will have legal sports betting of some kind. One of the biggest incentives for legalizing sports betting has been the financial success in states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which each handled well over $1 billion in their first full calendar year of legal sports betting.
When Will My State Have Legal Sports Betting?
With such a popular industry that can make each state extra money from tax contributions, you can assume that legal sports betting is coming to your state sometime in the near future (unless you live in Utah). Even Hawaii, a state that is notorious for its long-running anti-gambling stance, is actively studying the implementation of legal sports betting. According to the American Gaming Association, public support for sports betting is at an all-time high, where 79% of Americans support their state legalizing the pastime. Furthermore, with half of the country primed to have measures in place within 1-3 years, the dominoes will likely fall once the first one does. It is estimated that two-thirds of the states will have legalized sports betting by the year 2022.
Why Do Only A Few States Have Laws That Regulate Sports Betting?
Only a few states have laws that regulate legal sports betting because of dramatic changes to the industry. For 25 years, it was illegal for the majority of states to offer any kind of regulated sports betting. It was not until May 2018 that the Supreme Court put the power back into the states to legalize sports gambling. At this point, states are playing catch up and are carefully drafting sports betting legislation. Some states were able to legalize and launch sports betting in the immediate months after the SCOTUS ruling, while others prefer a wait-and-see approach. In either case, the states that regulate sports betting will eventually outnumber those that do not.
Are Online Sportsbooks Similar To Land-Based Sportsbooks?
Online sportsbooks and land-based sportsbooks both provide options for legal sports betting. All sportsbooks offer full-service wagering options, meaning that you will be able to find betting odds on all of the major sports leagues. Offshore online sportsbooks typically have the most wagering options, as state-licensed sites and sportsbooks sometimes have restrictions on local collegiate teams. The high licensing fees and taxes paid by regulated bookmakers to the state government also mean higher odds for customers, as does any lopsided action on local teams in a given sportsbook’s geographical region. For example, BetOnline might have a spread at the standard -110 odds, while a local sportsbook could have the same line at -140 odds (or even worse). Sports bettors should always shop lines between multiple sportsbooks in order to find the best odds with the biggest payouts.
Will Sports Betting in Minnesota Ever Be Legal?
We have strong reason to believe that Minnesota sports betting will become legal in the future. Sports betting bills have been brought up and introduced in the state government that would formally legalize sports wagering. Unfortunately, none of the bills have passed yet. But there is hope because if lawmakers are becoming more interested in legalizing sports betting, they may do so in the future. This is especially true because states that surround Minnesota, like Iowa, does have legal sports betting. State lawmakers do not like losing tax revenue to surrounding states and they are doing so by not legalizing sports betting in Minnesota. At this rate, it is only a matter of time before Minnesota sports betting will be legal.