Legal Online Sports Betting in the US

It’s been three years since the fall of PASPA, and we’ve seen some major success in terms of what’s now available to US bettors. The US sports betting scene hasn’t been in such a healthy state since the 1980s, with states creating new laws and regulations surrounding all things online sports betting. Prior to PASPA being struck down in May 2018, all but four states were irrefutably banned from setting up sports betting services in both the online and retail sectors.

Fast forward to the present day, though, and the US federal government has warmed to the idea of sports betting. Having ruled PASPA unconstitutional, the country is moving towards a regulated, legal sports gambling industry. Currently, 14 states offer legal online sports betting to players - something unthinkable just a few years ago. Expect this number to rise rapidly over the course of the coming decade.

Having said that, some dozen states remain bearish on the idea of legalizing sports betting. Utah, for example, shuts down the premise of gambling within its constitution. Therefore it’s highly improbable that the state will permit gambling of any kind, ever. For other states, it’s due to a lack of support from residents, political opposition, and/or tribal relationships.

But, the point is that the states now have the opportunity to allow sports betting. Previously, PASPA threw a blanket ban over the US. Today, the land of the free boasts yet another freedom for its people. One which is unquestionably a step in the right direction.

If you are in a legal jurisdiction, it is highly advised that you use the regulated options for obvious reasons. Regulated sportsbooks are licensed by each state and these licenses are not cheap. Not only are they backed by the state, but also are usually run by a large corporation that has strict guidelines to adhere to. 

Should you run into any issues with a deposit, withdrawal, bonus redemption, or any type of financial grievances with a regulated sportsbook, you can rest assured that the regulations in place will protect you from any issues or errors that can and do occur from time to time.

If you plan on using an off-shore sportsbook, with little to no regulation in their jurisdiction, be very cautious. Most of these sportsbooks offer very few options for deposits and withdrawals other than cryptocurrency. Some off-shore websites claim to accept Visa or Mastercard transactions, but that should be seen as a major red flag.

Firstly, you have no idea who you’re giving your personal information and debit or credit card information to. Secondly, The Interstate Wire Act of 1961, or the “Federal Wire Act”, is a federal law that explicitly prohibits the operation of sportsbooks in the United States. So you’re giving all types of information to an organization committing a felony by just taking the information, to begin with. What other felonies are they capable of committing?

Should you choose to remain anonymous and deposit with cryptocurrency, you may have a good experience and find a good offshore sportsbook. Should you, however, run into any type of financial grievances with the operators, it’s highly unlikely that they will make things right or even communicate with you. It’s the wild, wild west. Enter the off-shore gambling world at your own risk.

Online Sports Betting Explained

Online sports betting is an increasingly popular way to enjoy online gambling, with millions of players indulging in the activity across the nation every week. Essentially, online sports betting is when a user wagers money on the outcome of a particular sports event through an online betting site. This can be basketball, soccer, NFL, NHL, MLB, and anything in between - online sports betting is available for all.

Often, online sports betting odds are constantly refreshed to keep up to date with the latest action in the world of sport. Unlike retail sports betting, customers don’t need to rush back to the betting shop to place a new bet, as every option they’ll ever need is available at the touch of a button.

States With Legal Sports Betting

The following states currently offer legal sports betting within their jurisdiction in some capacity or another.

These states include:

Arkansas Sports Betting

Regulated by the Arkansas Racing Commission, Arkansas’ first sports bets were taken on July 1st, 2019 at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.

Currently, all sports betting is limited to in-person wagers only with online sports betting not yet written into law - and there doesn’t appear to be much movement with regards to doing so. That said, Arkansas boasts double the number of sportsbooks compared to Rhode Island, four in all.

  • Retail wagering is currently legal and regulated throughout the state. Not offered online at this time.
  • Date of Launch: July 2019
  • Number of physical sportsbooks: 3 locations - Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, Southland Casino, Saraceno Casino Resort

There are two new physical casinos slated to open in the near future. Arkansas authorized 5 separate casinos to operate sportsbooks after the referendum was passed in 2018.

Colorado Sports Betting

The sports betting market became a reality in Colorado during the month of May 2020. Following a vote which saw residents opt for the addition of regulated sports betting in Colorado, the state has started preparations to supply sports wagering services through casinos.

Retail and mobile sports wagering is permitted, with online registration also a feature. Whereas other states have decided to limit the number of casinos that can build relationships with sportsbooks, Colorado is allowing every one of its thirty-three casinos to obtain sports betting licenses. WynnBET, William Hill, and others have joined the market.

  • Retail and online wagering are both offered at 20+ different sportsbooks
  • Date of Launch: May 2020
  • Online Operators:
  • FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, BetMGM Sportsbook, and BetRivers Sportsbook all went live at the same time. The Las Vegas-based SuperBook, Circa Sportsbook, PointsBet Sportsbook, William Hill Sportsbook, WynnBET Sportsbook, BetAmerica Sportsbook, Betfred Sportsbook, theScore Sportsbook, and Barstool Sportsbook are all available online as well.
  • Number of physical sportsbooks: 33 locations

Colorado has 33 commercial and tribal physical casinos that may apply for online and/or in-person licenses for a sportsbook on their properties. As of February 2021, most have been granted at least a temporary license.

Delaware Sports Betting

Delaware’s sports betting scene took off in June 2018, not long after the crucial PASPA ruling. There are currently three casinos in operation in the state, none of which offer online sports betting platforms despite the practice being legal.

Players can visit any one of Dover Downs, Delaware Park Casino, or Harrington Raceway & Casino to wager on all types of sports activities. Even with sports betting permitted, Delaware bettors are prohibited from betting on in-state college teams. It’s arguable that we’re yet to see the “full-scale sports gaming operation” brandished by Gov. John Carney.

Date of Launch: June 2018

Number of physical sportsbooks: 3 locations

  • Delaware Park Casino
  • Dover Downs
  • Harrington Raceway & Casino.

If you’re currently residing in Delaware, you can also do “parlay” wagers on NFL games. This type of betting requires you to pick 3 or more games and choose the correct winner of all contests. This has been legal for decades, pre-dating the PASPA regulations.

Illinois Sports Betting

The passing of a bill to legalize sports betting in June 2019 led to the opening of Illinois’ sports betting market less than one year later, with first bets placed on March 9th, 2020.

Initially, it was required that all customers wanting to sign up with sportsbooks must do so in person, but with the COVID-19 pandemic preventing that, players may create accounts remotely for the time being.

  • Retail and online wagering are both offered at 30+ different sportsbooks.
  • Date of Launch: March 2020.
  • Online Operators: Current online operators are PointsBet Sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook, William Hill Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, and FanDuel Sportsbook.
  • The number of land-based sportsbooks: 7 locations.
  • Rivers Casino and Argosy Casino Alton are 2 well-known locations.
  • Illinois legalized sports betting in June 2019 when Capital Bill SB 690 was signed into law.

Indiana Sports Betting

Sports betting operations went full steam ahead on September 1st, 2019. At first, it was thought that online betting would be left out of the bill that eventually legalized sports wagering in Indiana, however it was later included in the final draft that was put into law.

Customers have the opportunity to register from the comfort of their homes with remote registration permitted, while almost fifteen land-based sportsbooks have taken on bets since the opening day of sports betting in the state.

  • Retail and online wagering are both offered at 20+ different sportsbooks.
  • Date of Launch: September 2019
  • Online Operators: BetMGM Sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, PointsBet Sportsbook, Unibet Sportsbook, William Hill Sportsbook, and FOX Bet Sportsbook.
  • Number of physical sportsbooks: 14 locations
  • Gambling expansion bill HB 1015 was passed in May 2019.

Iowa Sports Betting

A little slower on the pulse when it came to passing bills into law, Iowa is now one of the go-to destinations for all things sports betting. Becoming the first state to implement online and retail sports wagering on the same day, the state has unsurprisingly seen mass growth in terms of revenue as a result of sports betting.

It’s now been two years since sports betting was made legal in Iowa (August 2019), while the requirement for in-person registration for online sports betting platforms was thrown out at the beginning of January 2021.

  • Retail and online wagering are both offered at 20+ different sportsbooks.
  • Date of Launch: August 2019
  • Online Operators: William Hill Sportsbook, Elite Sportsbook, PointsBet Sportsbook, Barstool Sportsbook, Q Sportsbook, Hard Rock Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook
  • Number of physical sportsbooks: 19 locations
  • Iowa was one of the first states to launch retail and online sports betting, and Iowa residents have a wide range of sports betting options to choose from.
  • Iowa’s legislature began discussing legalization and regulation prior to the Supreme Court decision overturning PASPA in May 2018. SF 617 was passed and signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds in May 2019.

Michigan Sports Betting

The state began taking sports bets from March 11th, 2020, a few months after the Lawful Sports Betting Act became law. Unlike some other states we’ve mentioned, Michigan’s sports betting laws specifically allow for collegiate sports betting, with both mobile and retail services available for use.

It’s worth noting that every sportsbook in Michigan is tied to a land-based casino, which has become somewhat the norm for many states. As an added bonus, it was announced that Michigan would also be legalizing poker and casino games, too.

  • Retail and online wagering are both offered at 20+ different sportsbooks.
  • Date of Launch: January 2021
  • Online Brands: BetRivers Sportsbook, PointsBet Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, FOXBet Sportsbook, Parx Sportsbook, Golden Nugget Sportsbook, William Hill Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM Sportsbook
  • Number of retail sportsbooks: 9 locations
  • Notes: Michigan approved sports betting, online casinos, and online poker in 2019. The state also formally approved daily fantasy sports with the same bill.

Mississippi Sports Betting

An interesting state to have kept an eye on over the last few years, Mississippi actually proposed legislation that hoped to legalize sports betting if PASPA were to collapse.

We all know what happened just one year later. It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for those looking to place bets in Mississippi, though, as online betting outside of the four walls of a casino is illegal.

Proposals have been put forward over the last couple of years but to no avail. Since the inaugural month of sports betting in Mississippi, until now and probably the foreseeable future, in-person betting appears to be the sole contributor to the industry’s earnings.

  • Retail wagering is currently legal and regulated in Mississippi but it is not offered online at this time.
  • Date of Launch: August 2018
  • Number of physical sportsbooks: 29 locations (including Tribal owned)
  • There is no current legislation for online sportsbooks, however, this may change at any time.

Montana Sports Betting

In-person sports betting has been legal in Montana since March 2020, with the first sportsbooks opening up just one month later. Online betting is also allowed, but it’s restricted to certain areas within the state rather than being a statewide feature.

Bars, taverns, and other premises may provide sports betting kiosks, with betting locations sprinkled across the entire state. Regulated by the Montana State Lottery, complaints have come rolling in regarding the offerings from the primary sportsbook Intralot, so changes could well be seen soon.

  • Retail wagering is currently legal and regulated throughout the state. Not offered online at this time.
  • Date of Launch: April 2020.
  • Online Brands: SportsBet Montana
  • Number of retail sportsbooks: Unknown (Wagers can be placed in Kiosks scattered around the state, commonly found in Taverns)

The Lottery Bill was signed by Governor Steve Bullock and backed by the Montana Tavern Association. Ideally, kiosks can be placed in its members’ establishments, which in turn brings new patrons that are interested in placing wagers and watching the event unfold.

Nevada Sports Betting

The home of betting in the United States, Nevada is the first state that comes to mind when we think of betting. One of the few exemptions from PASPA, sports betting has been legal within the state since the late 1940s.

With both mobile and in-person sports betting available, Nevada sets the tone for positive and healthy gambling, so states seeking to improve their respective betting industries should look to the Silver State for inspiration.

  • Retail and online wagering are both offered at 50+ different sportsbooks.
  • Date of Launch: Around 1949.
  • Online Brands: 50+ different sportsbooks
  • Number of retail sportsbooks: ~190 locations
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, the obvious epicenter for gambling activities, still remains the mecca for physical and online sportsbooks of all shapes and sizes.

New Hampshire Sports Betting

There’s a zero-tolerance attitude towards college-level sports betting in New Hampshire, but in all other aspects of sports wagering customers are free to do as they wish.

By allowing players as young as 18 to sign up for online and in-person sportsbooks, New Hampshire has gone against the grain compared to the rest of the US. The market launched in December 2019 and has grown exponentially since, which is good news for New Hampshire considering half of DraftKings’ gross revenue will be paid back to the state.

  • Retail wagering is currently legal and regulated throughout the state. Offered online, but only through Draftkings Sportsbook.
  • Date of Launch: December 2019
  • Online Brands: DraftKings (Exclusive contract)
  • Number of physical sportsbooks: 10+ locations
  • You need to be 18+ to bet on sports in New Hampshire.

New Jersey Sports Betting

With sports betting launched on June 14th, 2018, New Jersey has gone on to accumulate massive customer interaction and earnings through its legalization of such services.

Industry figures are in-and-around the billions for 2020, with further profits expected over the coming years. Players can enjoy online and in-person sports betting in New Jersey, however, there are no plans to allow wagers on New Jersey’s college teams or college-level events held in-state.

  • Almost 20 sportsbooks are in operation across the state, with more than 90% of all wagers being placed via the internet.
  • Date of Launch: June 2018
  • Online Brands: 888 Sportsbook, BetAmerica Sportsbook, Borgata Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, FOXBet Sportsbook, theScore Sportsbook, William Hill Sportsbook, Golden Nugget Sportsbook
  • Number of physical sportsbooks: 11 locations

New Mexico Sports Betting

By launching its sports betting market in October 2018, New Mexico followed in the footsteps of the states we’ve previously mentioned. However, like Delaware, such betting cannot yet take place online.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on PASPA, New Mexico decided against creating legislation that sets in stone the legality of sports betting. Instead, via a compact gaming agreement with the state the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel opened its sports betting doors.

Since then, New Mexico has seen three more land-based sportsbooks take bets, including William Hill.

  • Retail wagering is currently legal and regulated throughout the state, including Native American reservations. Not offered online at this time.
  • Date of Launch: October 2018.
  • Number of physical sportsbooks: 5 locations (including Tribal owned)
  • Tribal-state compacts may suppress the launch of online sportsbooks as revenue-sharing agreements continue to stall.

New York Sports Betting

July 16th, 2019. The opening day for sports bets across the state of New York - despite the fact sports wagering was made legal (assuming federal law permitted it) over half a decade earlier.

Now, New York faces an issue with most of the states’ sportsbooks being positioned far away from the most populated areas. Fixable through adding online sports gambling services, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a budget deal in April of 2021 aiming to provide online sports betting platforms in every area of New York, although we’re awaiting a definitive launch date.

  • Retail wagering is currently legal and regulated throughout the state, including Native American reservations. Not offered online at this time.
  • Date of Launch: July 2019.
  • Number of physical sportsbooks: 7 locations (including tribal-owned)
  • Brands: FanDuel Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, Yellow Brick Road Casino Sportsbook, Points Place Casino Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, Bet Rivers Sportsbook.

No sportsbooks offer online services as of February 2021, but the services are likely coming by 2022 as the state budget is released. New York should be prioritizing their online wagering system, as a huge influx of New Jersey wagers are actually being placed by New York State residents.

North Carolina Sports Betting

By legalizing in-person sports betting in 2019, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper subsequently opened the door for - whether intentional or not - online sports wagering in the future.

For now, customers may place bets on college and professional-level sports events, but it’s not possible to do so via online means. Initial bets were taken very recently in March 2021, with expectations of online platforms entering the fray sooner rather than later.

  • Retail wagering is currently legal and regulated on Native American land. Not offered online at this time.
  • Date of Launch: June 2020
  • Number of land-based sportsbooks: 2+ Harrah’s Cherokee and Valley River

North Carolina passed SB 154 in July 2019, legalizing sports betting exclusively at two tribal casinos. Not much is known about these sportsbooks as they are located on Native American land in the extremely rural Western area of the state.

Oregon Sports Betting

Being in the minority as one of the states that already had legislation permitting sports gambling, Oregon lawmakers didn’t need to write up any new bills once PASPA came to a halt a few years ago.

Things haven’t been all smooth sailing though, with the sole online sportsbook, ScoreBoard, hit with heavily negative reviews. Subsequently, a bill was submitted in January 2021 that placed the Oregon Racing Commission as the regulator.

  • Retail wagering is currently legal and regulated throughout the state, including Native American reservations. Not offered online at this time.
  • Date of launch: August 2019.
  • Brands: ScoreBoard Sportsbook (Oregon Lottery)
  • The number of retail sportsbooks: 2 Locations. Chinook Winds Casino Resort. ROAR Digital will open the second retail sportsbook this year at Spirit Mountain Casino.

In January 2021, Oregon's Governor filed a new bill that would put the Oregon Racing Commission in charge of regulation while also opening up the market to non-lottery operators.

Pennsylvania Sports Betting

November 2018 was a big month for Pennsylvania’s sports betting industry, with bets taken for the first time at Penn National Race Course. Gov. Tom Wolf signed the all-important bill one year before, in a move to push for not only sports betting but poker and daily fantasy sports betting too.

Online registration is available for players interested in partaking in online sports betting in Pennsylvania, with sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, UniBet, and BetRivers onboarding customers.

  • Retail and online wagering are offered at 30+ sportsbooks.
  • Date of Launch: November 2018.
  • Online Brands: FanDuel Sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook, FOXBet Sportsbook, Parx Sportsbook, Unibet Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, BetAmerica Sportsbook, Barstool Sportsbook.
  • Number of physical sportsbooks: 13+
  • As of December 2020, nearly 90% of all sports wagers are placed via online sportsbooks.

Rhode Island Sports Betting

In a move that saw sports betting allowed from November 2018, Rhode Island residents started placing sports wagers at the Twin River Casino on the 26th of the month.

After Gov. Gina Raimondo signed into law a bill that permitted two casinos to take sports bets, players have since been able to wager both online (since 2019) and in-person through William Hill-powered sportsbooks.

Rhode Island’s sports betting set-up was put under the spotlight due to immense losses endured from Super Bowl LIII in what was the perfect example of what-not-to-do as a state in the youthful stages of sports betting.

  • Retail and online wagering are offered at 5+ sportsbooks. In 2018, Rhode Island passed its law legalizing sports wagering.
  • Date of Launch: November 2018
  • Online Brands: William Hill (Sportsbook Rhode Island/ Rhode Island Lottery)
  • The number of physical sportsbooks: 2+ Twin Rivers Casino and Tiverton Casino.

Tennessee Sports Betting

Beginning November 1st, 2020, Tennessee’s online-only approach to sports wagering has seen some success. Starting with nearly five operators and delivering on a vast array of sports odds, Tennessee’s growth in the sports betting market has been stifled by delays to incoming platforms obtaining their licenses.

Since all betting takes place online, there’s no need to register at a retail sportsbook or casino, with customers allowed to enjoy BetMGM, FanDuel, and others at the touch of a button. 2021 is poised to be a fascinating year for the state with the addition of WynnBET expected.

Retail wagering is currently legal and regulated throughout the state.

  • Date of Launch: November 1, 2020.
  • Online Brands: DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM Sportsbook, Tennessee Action 24/7 Sportsbook, WynnBET Sportsbook, and BetAmerica Sportsbook (TwinSpires).
  • The number of retail sportsbooks: Tennessee does not have any casinos currently, but sports betting is legal to wager on online sportsbooks only.

Tennessee legalized online sports betting in early 2019 with HB 1 (a substitute for SB 16). The law came into effect on July 1st, 2019. The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TELC) is the regulatory agency along with oversight from the Sports Wagering Advisory Council.

Virginia Sports Betting

January 22nd, 2021. The day that sports betting arrived on Virginia’s doorstep. In a nationwide first, the Washington Football Team was granted a license from the Virginia Lottery, allowing the NFL side to partner with FanDuel and offer sports betting products.

Despite no land-based sportsbooks in operation right now, the market is predicted to rise quickly, especially with the excitement surrounding the Washington Football Team’s unprecedented venture into the world of sports betting.

Online wagering offered at 1 sportsbook, retail locations coming soon.

  • Date of Launch: January 22, 2021.
  • Online Brands: FanDuel Sportsbook was the first to launch on Jan. 22, 2021. BetRivers Sportsbook and William Hill Sportsbook will have retail and online sportsbooks.
  • The number of physical sportsbooks: None at this moment.

Virginia approved sports betting for both online and retail sportsbooks in April 2020, and the bill becomes effective as of July 1, 2020. The Virginia Lottery will be in charge of regulating the market. Keep a close eye on upcoming news as 18 licenses will be allowed.

Washington D.C. Sports Betting

Interested bettors in the capital watched on with interest as the state’s lottery launched GameBetDC. The service was developed with the goal of providing users with sports markets from all over the world in one, easy-to-use place.

However, as we’ve seen with other sports betting platforms put together by state lotteries, things don’t always go according to plan. Negative reviews are rife across social media and beyond, leading to many users abandoning the service in anticipation of competitors entering the scene. Having taken off in May 2020, Intralot’s Washington, D.C. project isn’t going swimmingly.

  • Retail and online wagering are both offered at 2 different sportsbooks.
  • Date of Launch: May 2020
  • Online Brands: Intralot — GamBetDC is the only legal and regulated sports betting option available within city limits.
  • The number of land-based sportsbooks: William Hill sportsbook which is located at the Capital One Arena.

West Virginia Sports Betting

Although West Virginia wasn’t as quick to pull the trigger on sports betting, the Mountain State has reaped the rewards of legalizing the popular form of gambling in late August 2018.

From the 30th, West Virginian bettors were able to legally place bets on sports events, becoming the fifth state in the US to do so. Online betting is just as easily accessible as in-person gambling, with online registration permitted too.

  • Retail and online wagering are offered at 20+ sportsbooks.
  • Date of Launch: August 2018.
  • Online Brands: FanDuel Sportsbook (The Greenbrier), DraftKings Sportsbook (Hollywood Casino Charles Town), William Hill Sportsbook (Mountaineer Casino Racetrack), BetMGM Sportsbook(The Greenbrier skin), and Betly Sportsbook (Mardi Gras, Wheeling Island).
  • Number of land-based sportsbooks: 5+
  • Much like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, West Virginia also has legal and regulated online casinos available within state lines.

States Likely to Launch Sports Betting Soon

Below are US states that are currently pending legislation for sports betting.

Arizona

Signed. Sealed. Almost delivered. Arizona lawmakers worked hard to bring a bill that would allow for the legalization of sports betting in the state in 2021, and it’s expected that the first bets will be taken by Fall. Around 20 sportsbooks are expected to accept customers, and the only obstacle in their way is regulatory approval.

Florida

Sports betting is all but ready to go in Florida, with just a few details remaining before it can officially launch. Importantly, though, is that state officials found a sensational agreement with the Seminole Tribe, which had previously been the biggest hurdle for lawmakers.

Now things will really ramp up, but Florida bettors might need to be patient before their first bets can be placed.

Louisiana

A resounding parish referendum result in favor of sports betting saw 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes vote for the implementation of retail facilities. It remains to be seen whether or not regulators decide that online services should be included in the language within the legislation, but wagers should start over the course of the next year or so provided there aren’t any hiccups.

  • Date of Launch: Not yet
  • Online operators: Unknown
  • The number of land-based sportsbooks: 24 casinos and racetracks will be eligible to eventually offer on-premises sports betting.
  • In November 2020, residents of Louisiana voted to allow retail sports betting at existing casinos and horse racing tracks.

Maryland

Maryland is well on course to provide sports betting services, both online and retail, from Fall 2021. Voters were clear in their opinion when they took to the ballots last November, and in April lawmakers put the final pieces of their sports gambling puzzle together ahead of the official rollout.

Up to 60 online platforms can plant seeds in the state’s mobile gaming scene, while 30 retail shops are permitted to exercise their sports betting rights.

South Dakota

Fresh off the back of legalizing sports betting in November 2020, South Dakota should be ready to take the next step forward. A ballot was held before Christmas to determine whether or not retail sports wagering should be allowed, and since then we’ve seen lawmakers hard at work to make such services become a reality.

At the moment, sports betting is only permitted in specific areas of the state at land-based casinos and tribal lands, but we could see support for mobile platforms gather momentum throughout the year. The first retail bets are expected to take place in September.

Washington State

First, it’s important to understand that statewide online sports betting in Washington are highly unlikely. The current priority lies with finding an agreement that will permit wagering to take place on tribal land, and talks are progressing well with a deal expected to be formalized soon.

By Fall, Washington should see bettors enter retail establishments and placing bets on sports events. Upon opening, these operators will be able to offer mobile sports betting while the bettor is on the premises.

  • Market launch date: Coming soon
  • Online operators: Not yet known
  • The number of physical sportsbooks: There are currently more than 20 tribal casinos that will have the option to open a sportsbook. Regulations are unknown for now.
  • Governor Jay Insee signed a tribal-backed bill that will permit sports betting at Native American casino locations.

Wyoming

The second state to solely offer online sports wagering, Wyoming’s mobile platforms should be up and running in 2021. The state could see retail sports betting on the agenda soon too, and tribal casinos may set up retail sports betting shops, despite no license being granted. If all goes well, Wyoming should be enjoying a thriving sports gambling industry throughout the next decade.

Alabama

Before going as far as making sports betting legal, Alabama lawmakers are first finding ways to develop a proper lottery and casino scene. At the time of writing, bills that seek to make lotteries and mobile betting legal are under construction, and the natural progression from that is sports betting. For the time being, there’s little to report. 

Connecticut

Years of toing and froing between the tribes in the state and the states’ governor had seen talks come to a stalemate until now, with a breakthrough appearing to have been made in recent months. Finally, conversations look to be progressive rather than regressive and negative, with DraftKings reportedly setting up kiosks within tribe-owned casino resorts. Therefore, we can only assume it’s a matter of time before sports betting takes place in Connecticut.

Georgia

Backed by polls and professional sports teams in Atlanta, Georgia lawmakers pushed hard for the legalization of sports betting last year. Recently, a bill was passed by the Senate that allows for the development of sports betting regulatory framework, thus leading to speculation as to whether sports wagering would be made legal in 2021. However, having seen legislation fail in 2020 and early 2021, it’s clear that those in favor face an uphill task.

Kansas

If not for COVID-19, we might have seen Kansas legalize sports betting by now. Not long ago both the House and Senate put forward bills aiming to safely incorporate sports wagers into the state, but the worldwide pandemic brought talks to a sudden halt. Considering there was quite a bit of positive movement within Kansas with regards to making sports betting legal, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if a bill were to pass this year.

Kentucky

Despite support for sports betting from Democratic Party members in Kentucky, stringent opposition to the form of gambling from Republican representatives tossed any prayer of legalization in the trash - for now. Gov. Andy Beshear is an advocate for sports betting, so we may see pushback against long-held conservative views among party members in the state. Without statewide support, Kentucky could face a long fight for the right to wager on sports.

Maine

Progress in Maine was coming along nicely until Gov. Janet Mills vetoed a bill that would have introduced a fresh, competitive market. The governor explained that she was left unconvinced by support for the legislation, while the lack of support for those with problem gambling understandably left cause for concern. However, it’s expected that lawmakers will return to Mills with an improved sports betting bill in 2021, so watch this space.

Massachusetts

It’s a matter of when not if sports betting legislation will pass in Massachusetts. Seeing as Republican and Democratic leaders in the state back the legalization of sports wagering, interested bettors are simply waiting on a number of key issues to be sorted out before the full implementation of the hobby can be introduced. First, the parties need to agree as to how many sportsbooks can set up shop in the state, and second, they must decide if they want a competitive market or only allow already-settled casinos the option to provide sports betting facilities. Once these discussions have been ironed out, Massachusetts will have sports gambling.

Missouri

Neighboured by states with thriving sports betting industries, Missouri lawmakers likely feel hard-pressed to push sports betting bills through this year. If not for the pandemic - which has slowed talks of sports betting across the nation - we reckon Missouri would have its scene up and running as we speak. As many as three bills are being discussed right now, so the outlook is positive as things stand.

Nebraska

Providing lawmakers want to push for sports betting in Nebraska, chances are we’ll see it in the state fairly soon. Towards the end of November 2020, all games of chance were legalized in Nebraska, and sports betting quite comfortably comes under that umbrella term. The only thing standing in between Nebraska and sports gambling is the language within the legislation, which should be expected in the coming months.

North Dakota

A vote regarding sports betting legislature was turned down by a small margin last year, but contrary to what the result translates as this was likely just the first step towards a healthy sports betting scene in North Dakota. Tribal casinos are considering building their own casinos, which has been argued for a while now, with laws surrounding such facilities unclear. If this does go through (likely retail only) legislation is probably going to be put forward by lawmakers for the entire state.

Ohio

Another state considering the passing of legislation that would allow sports betting legally. Ohio has seen little progress since the fourth quarter of 2020, but lawmakers remain confident that eventually, sports wagering will come to the state. Garnering support for such legislation has proved relatively easy - now it’s time to act on that.

Texas

On the face of it, Texas looks unlikely to permit legal sports betting. But with legislators expected to meet on a consistent basis throughout 2021, the states’ discussions around the subject may see a sharp rise. Sports team owners, like Mark Cuban, have unequivocally pronounced their backing of sports betting in Texas, although their influence on matters remains to be seen.

Vermont

The main reason for Vermont taking action toward legalizing sports betting would come from outside pressure. As online and retail sports gambling grows in stature, the likelihood of legislators writing up an in-depth, new-look bill for Vermont’s betting industry gets closer to being put on the table. For now, there’s not much to report from the state.

California

Talks are ongoing between legislators and tribal casinos, with the former trying to broker a breakthrough deal after years of failing to find a compromise. Presently, the most likely outcome is that sportsbooks open at tribal casinos from 2023, with these services solely available in person. Opposition to statewide online gambling platforms from tribes will continue to prevent those products from becoming a viable option in the state, despite both sides understanding how lucrative such a deal could be.

States With No Pending Legislation

Alaska

You could probably return to this page in five years and nothing will have changed. Alaska lawmakers have shown zero interest in pushing legislation for the legalization of sports betting, retail or online. It would take a drastic change in the 49th states’ general culture to put betting on the cards.

Hawaii

If you’re an avid gambler, we’d recommend avoiding Hawaii for the foreseeable future. Due to the particular family culture embedded into society, sports betting - or betting of any kind - is strictly forbidden by law. It would be wise to forget about sports gambling entirely in Hawaii.

Idaho

Apart from horse racing, sports betting isn’t permitted in Idaho. Forget sports betting, daily fantasy sports bets aren’t even legal here. Just because the laws here aren’t as set-in-stone as Hawaii or Utah doesn’t mean sports betting is closer to becoming available anytime soon.

Minnesota

Some action has been taken towards the allowance of sports betting in Minnesota, but it’s not unlikely to go through. State tribes have remained sluggish in talks, while lawmakers haven’t exactly pushed hard to find a deal. If anything does happen, tribes will probably be given priority.

Oklahoma

A deal was found between two tribes and the Oklahoma governor in April 2020 which would have allowed for legal sports betting, but this agreement was later thrown out in what was undoubtedly a result of a larger feud involving the state government and gambling. Today, the future of sports betting remains unclear in Oklahoma, and legislators deem the subject a lesser priority compared to other forms of potentially profitable gaming.

South Carolina

South Carolina has failed in its mission of legalizing sports betting thus far, but not through a lack of effort. Lawmakers presented several bills that were subsequently struck down, and talks have failed to gain momentum since the turn of the new decade.

Utah

Like Hawaii, an anti-gambling attitude runs rife through Utah’s population. Being the only state that considers private gambling with friends a crime, the chances of sports betting coming to the state are slim. If anything, laws here are more likely to become tighter.

Wisconsin

We’re yet to hear of any sports betting legislation reach the governor’s office in Wisconsin, which tells a story in itself. Relaxed laws compared to Utah and Hawaii present the opportunity for sports betting, but there’s very little movement from lawmakers. Tribes in the area could set up their own services.

Legal Regulated Sportsbooks vs Offshore Betting - What’s the Difference?

During the 1990s and early 2000s, offshore betting sites were raking in billions of dollars in profits every year. Obviously, such success in a shady area of the market caused concern amongst government officials, leading to the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act). President Bush wanted to crack down on the gambling black market, and in signing the UIGEA he sought to prevent these businesses from taking part in the US market. It wasn’t that simple, though, and some operators remained glued to their US audience in what they commonly described as a legal gray area.

Despite now offering a legal and regulated sports betting market, the US is still struggling to shift all consumers from offshore sportsbooks to legal ones. Why? Familiarity, resentment, and betting options. With offshore betting sportsbooks, the platforms aren’t obligated to follow rules set out by the US regulators, therefore opening a world of opportunity when it comes to the types of bets that can be made. On top of that, there’s an element of resentment towards the US government’s attitude over the last thirty years, while others simply want to stay at sites that have served them for some time.

But now is the time to move on.

As offshore operators spread their wings across more countries, US citizens open themselves up to more dangerous, less trustworthy sources of online gambling. Sportsbooks within the US are subject to regulation from authorities that know what they’re doing and seek to keep players safe, whereas offshore organizations don’t need to follow rules. Realistically, if a customer at an offshore betting site stumbles into a major issue they won’t have anywhere to voice their problem and get help. For those who’ve solely set up accounts with legal US sports betting sites, there are people whose job it is to take care of whatever issue the user might encounter.

Do you want to keep your funds and identity secure? Would you prefer that the sports betting site is required to encrypt sensitive information? Are you an advocate of quicker deposits and withdrawals with fewer fees?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you should be betting with legal, regulated, US-based sportsbooks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Sports Betting Legal?

While sports betting is federally legal in every state, only certain states have regulated retail and online sportsbooks. It is illegal to run a sports betting operation and accept wagers without a license. This is a felony and punishable by up to 24 months in federal prison, assuming that’s the only felony your operation is committing.  

The following states have legal and REGULATED sportsbooks: (some retail, some online, and some both retail and online)

Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia.

How Does Sports Betting Work?

In a legal and regulated sportsbook, the process is simple. You have $100 and you really love your hometown team. You’re confident that they are going to win their respective league championship. While high rollers known as “sharps” or “whales” may be extended a credit line by the sportsbook, you will probably need to pay up front to place a wager.

If placing your wager online, you can deposit the $100 via debit or credit card, however most retail sportsbooks are cash-only. If your team is +500 to win the championship, your ticket will look something like this:

  • Wager: $100
  • To Win: $500
  • To Collect: $600
What is the Spread (+) or the Line (-) in Sports Betting?

The + refers to the underdog, while the - tells you who is the favorite.

When a team is favored to win, they will receive a negative number next to their team name. For example, in Super Bowl 55, the Kansas City Chiefs were favored by 3 points over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This means that oddsmakers believed the Chiefs were 3 points “superior” to the Buccaneers and therefore if you wagered on the Chiefs to win, they also had to win by 3 or more points. 

The Buccaneers were a 3 point underdog so they would be referred to as +3. The Buccaneers won the game by a huge margin of 22 points, shocking many across the world as the spread was not close to accurate when compared to the results of the game. The winning bet is referred to as “Buccaneers +3” and the losing bet would be “Chiefs -3”.

What Does the Over/Under Mean In Sports Betting?

The Over/Under is one of the more common and easier wagers that can be placed in nearly every sportsbook in the United States. The wager is being placed on the total points scored of an individual sporting contest.

In Super Bowl 55, the over/under was placed at 55 total points scored by most sportsbooks and oddsmakers. While you can bet on the over/under for points scored for each team, the most common over/under bet is on the total points.

The final score to the game was a 31-9 Buccaneers victory, so the total points scored “went under” the predicted amount of 55 by a wide margin.

What Is The Moneyline In Sports Betting

The moneyline has 2 components to consider when placing this type of wager. The underdog and the favorite. Obviously, the favorite will be who oddsmakers believe is the better team and the underdog will be the perceived “inferior” team.

In Super Bowl 55, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were the perceived “inferior” team, ended up winning outright as underdogs. 

The moneyline for Super Bowl 55 was as follows:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +140

Kansas City Chiefs -175 

A $100 moneyline wager on the underdog collected $240. Because the Chiefs were the perceived better team, one would have wagered $175 to collect $275.

What is a Unit in Sports Betting?

Units are commonly used in the sports betting world and represent an easy way to discuss a betting strategy.

Depending on your bankroll, 1 unit can be anywhere from $1 to $1 million. For most handicappers, 1 unit represents $100.

When a player likes a certain bet they will usually place “1 unit” on the outcome. If they are extremely confident in the outcome, they will usually say they placed “3 units” on the outcome, meaning they placed 3x their normal bet on their prediction.

Robert Miller

Robert Miller

Robert is responsible for all content on BettingGuide US. Robert previously worked as a poker dealer during his college years at MIT where he studied Computational Science and Engineering. With a great interest in gambling, Robert likes to go in-depth when writing so that you can make a wiser choice when choosing an operator.

Last updated: 10/15/2021