US States With Legal Sports Betting

Legal sports betting in the United States is highly regulated, which makes finding states with legal sports betting rather hard. Over the course of nearly sixty years, the US federal government has created laws that limit how and where sports betting can be done in the states. While these federal laws have successfully been able to eradicate land-based sports gambling in almost every US state, today’s digital age has helped give residents more options. Online, offshore sportsbooks provide US states with legal sports betting options that they wouldn’t be able to find at land-based locations. On this page, we’ll review everything you need to know about US states with legal sports betting, both land-based and online.

US States With Land Based Sports Betting

There are only two states with legal land-based sports betting in the entire country and they are Nevada and Delaware. The truth of the matter is that this is a direct result of the federal law PASPA. Passed in 1992, this law prevents states from legalizing and regulating sports betting either land based or online. At the time of its passage, there were four states that had legalized sports betting in one form or fashion. These four states (Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon) became exempt. Of these four, only two still exercise this ability. Delaware and Nevada are the only US states with legal sports betting at land-based locations.

Legal Sports Betting In Nevada – The Biggest Sports Betting State

Sports Betting in Nevada is all-encompassing. Nevada is the only US State with sports betting that can be done on single games for every sport. This is because NV fully legalized all aspects of this form of gambling in the late 1940’s, well before anyone began passing laws that restricted legal sports wagering. In Nevada, sports betting must be done in a licensed bet shop or at a casino-hosted sportsbook. Businesses with liquor licenses (sports bars) are not authorized to start their own sportsbook or offer legal sports betting.

A unique feature of sports betting in Nevada is that you can actually use mobile betting apps. 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.

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 50’s and 60’s, they’ve all but gone out of business since the casinos and hotels took over the sports betting business. 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 are able to offer every type of wager they think will make money. Nevada sportsbooks will have everything from basic game lines like moneylines, spreads, and totals, to parlays, props, futures, specials, pleasers, teasers, if-bets, reverse if-bets, Asian Handicaps, and more. These sportsbooks bank on the fact that they are able to offer something that every other state is denied the right to, so you’ll definitely be able to find the wager types you’re looking for.

Legal Sports Betting In Delaware

Delaware is the only other US State with legal sports betting aside from Nevada. This is because, in 1976, Delaware expanded its lottery laws to include NFL parlay cards. They weren’t very popular and 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 in to the federal law PASPA. Sports betting in Delaware can be found at each of its three racetracks, Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway & Casino, and Delaware Park Racetrack. Delaware may only offer 3 or more team parlay cards to bettors during the NFL regular season.

Parlay Betting In Delaware

Because parlay betting was the only form of legal sports betting in Delaware at the time of PASPA, it is the only form of wagering that can be offered today. Parlay cards containing a minimum of three contingencies can be wagered on during the NFL season. The racetracks that offer these cards offer a number of different ways to participate in parlay betting in Delaware. They include things like half-point cards, Teaser and Super Teaser cards, off-the-board parlays and more. Each track does things a little differently, but you get the basic idea. It’s just all different types of parlay bets.

States With Legal Online Sports Betting

Fortunately for players who enjoy betting on sports but don’t feel like driving or flying to Nevada to do so, there are many more states with legal online sports betting than there are states with legal land-based sports betting. This is because most states have not passed legislation that disallows the use of online gambling platforms. Legal sports betting can be done at online, offshore sportsbooks in any state that has not passed anti-online gambling legislation. To date, that’s 43 states.

The states that do not have legal online sports betting are Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. That being said, their anti-gambling laws don’t actually mention sports betting by name, it’s just assumed under the umbrella of gambling. Also, most of these laws target the person who operates the site, rather than the person who places a bet. So it’s really at the bettor’s risk if they want to bet online.

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

You might be wondering how a single country’s gaming commission or control board can regulate offshore sports betting sites that serve a global community. While the laws in each country vary greatly, legal sports betting still abides by the same principles and basic standards. Those basic principles and standards are what create the framework that these gaming control boards use for regulating sportsbooks. To earn and keep a license, these legal sports betting sites have to maintain the standards set forth by the gaming commission in their country. If they don’t, they get their licenses taken away.

Why Do Only A Few States Have Laws That Regulate Sports Betting?

Due to the laws enacted by the federal government, only a few states have laws that regulate sports betting. The Professional and Amateur Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) essentially makes land-based sports betting illegal in all but four states. As such, state governments prefer to remain under the umbrella of the federal law rather than enacting their own. This is beneficial to sports enthusiasts because the absence of laws means that there are none to break. Even in the states that do have sports betting legislation, the laws are typically directed toward the operator and not the bettor.

If The GAME Act Passes What Will That Mean For States That Want To Legalize Sports Betting?

If the GAME Act passes, that will have a positive impact on the various states that want to legalize sports betting. Rep. Frank Pallone’s (D-New Jersey) Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement (GAME) Act would repeal PASPA and lift the federal ban on sports betting. The federal law has limited sports betting to Oregon, Montana, Delaware, and Nevada since its enactment in 1992. With the GAME Act, each state would be able to make the decision on if and how to regulate sports betting within its borders. There are also provisions in the proposed bill that would permit states to legalize online sports betting along with all other forms of gambling. The passage of the GAME Act would stimulate local economies and allow states to benefit from gaming tax revenues.

If The Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of New Jerseys Will Other States Be Able To Implement Sports Betting?

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the New Jersey sports betting case, other states would most likely be able to implement sports betting rather quickly. The Supreme Court would either declare PASPA unconstitutional and call for a repeal, or, overturn the Third Circuit ruling which would permit NJ to simply repeal their own laws prohibiting sports betting. In either instance, the case would serve as a precedent for any other state that shows interest in sports betting. Numerous states have already introduced sports betting legislation that will be ready should New Jersey win their case. This means that more than 10 states could have legal sports betting by summer 2018.

Will Legalizing Sports Betting Really Create More Jobs for the states?

Yes, legalizing sports betting will really create more jobs in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the US is 4.3% as of May 2017. Currently, the gaming industry supports 1.7 million jobs and over $73.5 billion in wages. If sports betting were to be legalized, a report * * by Oxford Economics indicated that these numbers would grow significantly. The research found that more than 150,000 jobs could be created paying between $6.0 billion and $7.5 billion in wages. Regulated sports betting could help build the middle class with hundreds of different career opportunities. The gaming industry represents one of the most diverse areas in the U.S. workforce, with 45% of the employee base composed of minorities.

How Safe Is Betting Real Money At Online Sportsbooks?

Betting real money at online sportsbooks is as safe as paying your utility bill or making any other purchase online. Legitimate sports betting sites utilize technology such as SSL certificates to encrypt your financial data. You can always verify that a site is safe by looking for the word “Secure” or a green lock in the top left section of your internet address bar. Your personal information is kept confidential and never sold to third parties. Additional verification procedures when depositing and withdrawing helps to ensure that all of your real money transactions are protected from fraudulent activity. Real money sports betting is safe when you use trustworthy sports betting sites.

Are Online Sportsbooks More Like Nevada Sportsbooks Or Delaware?

When comparing online sportsbooks to those in Nevada or Delaware, you will find that sports betting sites are better than both combined. The sheer variety of sports, wagers available, and odds put online sportsbooks in a category of their own. Sports betting sites get the latest odds on events that would be hard to find at most land-based books, such as the NFL Draft or Game of Thrones. You also get huge bonuses just for creating an account and making a minimal deposit. In some cases, you can get free bets just for trying mobile betting or checking out the live betting section. With online sportsbooks, you save money on travel and rooms while also winning big on your favorite sports. If we had to choose between a free online sportsbook or booking a flight to another state, 9 times out 10 we would opt for the sports betting site that accepts players in that state.