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Where Is Sports Betting Legal in the United States?

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Sports betting is one of the most popular and lucrative forms of gambling in the world. There are a lot of options to bet on, such as popular sports like American football, hockey, basketball, baseball, auto racing, and boxing. There are also sportsbooks that cover everything else from greyhounds to horse racing.

Sports betting in the United States has a shaky history, with much of it being illegal until 2018. It’s been almost four years since that major change happened, and states can now pretty much legalize sports betting if they so choose. But what’s the current state of this industry?

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the 50 US states and answer the ultimate question: where is sports betting legal in the United States?

The History of Sports Betting in the United States

Sports betting may be one of the most popular types of bets in the world, but in the United States, it was previously prohibited under the PASPA law (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) of 1992. You effectively couldn’t make bets on sporting events in the US, except in Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon, which were exempt from this particular law.

These legal sports betting states had existing frameworks long before PASPA was ever passed, so they continued outside of the general legislation.

Thankfully, in the 2018 Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association case, the Supreme Court repealed the PASPA, making it possible for states to individually make their own decisions on legalizing sports betting. However, even with gambling legalization now a possibility in all states, the story is still by no means clear-cut.

Almost every state has considered it, but expecting that sports betting will be adequately accommodated across America is a tall glass of false hope. Why? Well, that’s mainly due to the dysfunctional relationship between US politics and gambling.

For a long time, even the four major sports leagues in America (the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB) had a love-hate relationship with sports betting, and that hasn’t necessarily changed. Not even their open support of fantasy sports in 2014 has eased the reception to sports betting, so the field is still very hostile.

In essence, while there have been changes, they have not been substantial enough to trigger the major changes required.

The Current State of US Sports Betting

As of May 2020, about $20 billion had been pumped into sports betting since the PASPA repeal. As of October 2021, 29 US states (including Washington DC) had frameworks that made sports betting functional in one way or another, while another four had made sports gambling legal, but were yet to launch sportsbooks.

So, where is sports betting legal in the United States?

As of May 23, 2022, there are more than 30 active legal states (including DC), while sports betting is legal but not yet operational in five states. Three states have active or pre-filed legislation and in nine states, legislation to legalize sports betting is inactive, while there is no legislation at all for three states. Besides traditional sportsbooks, crypto-friendly betting platforms have become increasingly popular as well, although many of them currently exist in a legally gray area.

  1. Arizona
  2. Arkansas
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. Delaware
  6. Illinois
  7. Indiana
  8. Iowa
  9. Louisiana
  10. Maryland
  11. Michigan
  12. Mississippi
  13. Montana
  14. Nebraska
  15. Nevada
  16. New Hampshire
  17. New Jersey
  18. New Mexico
  19. New York
  20. North Carolina
  21. Ohio
  22. Oklahoma
  23. Oregon
  24. Pennsylvania
  25. Rhode Island
  26. South Dakota
  27. Tennessee
  28. Virginia
  29. Washington DC
  30. Washington
  31. West Virginia
  32. Wisconsin
  33. Wyoming

Here’s a breakdown of betting rules by state.

Arizona

  • The state of Arizona supports sports betting in all capacities
  • The bill to activate legal online sports betting in Arizona was passed in April 2021.
  • Since betting on sports online went live at the beginning of the NFL season in 2021, there are now 18 online sports betting operators in Arizona. These include BetMGM, BetRivers, Betfred, FanDuel, Fubo, WynnBET, and DraftKings, to name a few.

Arkansas

  • The state of Arkansas legalized gambling on sports on July 1, 2019.
  • Arkansas supports sports betting in all forms. In February 2022, the state’s joint budget commission passed a regulation that would accommodate up to eight online sportsbooks in partnership with the three existing sportsbooks in the state.
  • The first online sportsbook in Arkansas officially became active on March 5.

Colorado

  • The Centennial State is another US state with gambling legalization and full support for mobile betting.
  • Colorado was ahead of the sports betting curve, accepting all forms of wagering in 2020. This makes the state a very active sports betting market, and big names like Draftkings, BetMGM, BetRivers, and FanDuel all thrive there.
  • In September of the same year, Colorado recorded more than $200 million in money wagered by bettors monthly. In doing so, it joined other sports betting-friendly states like New Jersey, Indiana, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, which recorded similar numbers.
  • Given that the state is very operator-friendly (Colorado has a very nurturing environment by US standards), it’s no wonder that Australian betting company PointsBet has its North American headquarters situated in Denver. It’s expected that no fewer than 24 sportsbooks will follow suit by setting up shop in Colorado soon.

Connecticut

  • The Constitution State is a major US sports betting stakeholder; Connecticut supports full mobile betting.
  • Agreements were made between the state governor and indigenous tribes in 2021. These opened the state to mobile sportsbooks and as many as 15 retailers.
  • The first locations for retail wagering were the Foxwood Casino and the Mohegan. A month later, Draftkings, BetRivers, SugarHouse, and FanDuel were fully active online sportsbooks in the state. The positive environment created in Connecticut may yet be an incentive to open more locations in the state in the coming years.

Delaware

  • Delaware is one of the states where gambling is legal, but only accommodates in-person betting.
  • They don’t just call Delaware the First State for nothing. Besides being the first state to ratify the Constitution, it was also the state after Nevada to accept sports betting legally after the PASPA repeal. This was just a few weeks before New Jersey.
  • However, the Delaware market does not support online betting. As a result, there are only three retailing sportsbooks statewide, which translates to rather low revenue stats.
  • This situation sort of puts Delaware on the backburner, despite its perceived reception of sports betting. The small size of the state and its population (just 1,982 square miles and 1,003,384 respectively) don’t exactly make it a thriving sports betting location as well.

Florida

  • Sports betting in Florida has been paused indefinitely and is unlikely to resume anytime soon.
  • The first wagers for sports online in Florida were taken at Hard Rock, amid a lawsuit aimed at blocking the activity statewide. Operations would eventually close a month later. Actions were made to reactivate the activity in 2022, but the petition failed to meet the number of required signatures. This was despite DraftKings and FanDuel’s support, which generated a combined $37 million.
  • While there are still options to reinstate Florida as one of the legal gambling states in America, that doesn’t look likely anytime soon.

Illinois

  • It’s no surprise that Illinois allows full mobile betting with multiple options. After all, it’s a sports-crazy state.
  • Sports betting was launched in the state on March 9, 2020, while online betting became active in June 2020.
  • Despite widespread predictions that Illinois would become a major sports betting market, that has not been the case, thanks primarily to stiff taxation and levies.
  • Some actions have been taken to help improve the state of sports betting in Illinois, such as the in-person registration rule being removed in March 2022, or Caesars and BetMGM joining four other online sportsbooks operating in the state.
  • Some restrictions still remain, however, such as the prohibition of betting on any Illinois-based college sports.

Indiana

  • Indiana is one of the most prominent online sports betting states in the US.
  • Sports betting in the state went live on September 1, 2019, and Indiana fully supports mobile betting.
  • The state pulled in over $200 million in monthly handles in 2020.
  • Indiana’s market share is mostly dominated by DraftKings and FanDuel, but its super business-friendly outlook means more sportsbooks could be coming to the state soon.

Iowa

  • The state of Iowa supports sports betting in all capacities.
  • Sports betting went live on August 15, 2019.
  • Betting in Iowa required bettors to register in person until 2021.
  • $72 million was wagered on sports in the state in September 2020 alone.

Louisiana

  • Louisiana supports mobile sports betting in all capacities.
  • 55 parishes in the state have supported legalizing gambling in sports.
  • Online betting went live on January 28, 2022, supported by six major sportsbooks: BetMGM, Barstool, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, and Caesars.
  • Louisiana accommodates betting in person, with retailers being active since October 2021.

Maryland

  • Only in-person betting is allowed; the legalization of online betting is currently pending.
  • Maryland is the final state in the Mid-Atlantic area to allow gambling.
  • Although regulation as of April 2021 allows 30 retail and 60 online operators, online betting in the state is still nothing to write home about.
  • The delay in launching mobile options in Maryland has been one of the longest in the United States when it comes to legalizing gambling.

Michigan

  • Michigan supports mobile sports betting in all capacities.
  • In-person betting launched on March 11, 2020. Online sportsbooks went active in 2021.
  • Michigan is now considered one of the most active and largest sports betting markets in the United States.

Mississippi

  • Mississippi still only supports in-person betting.
  • This was one of the first legalized gambling states, launching on August 1, 2018.
  • While mobile wagering is not technically prohibited, bettors can only wager inside casinos.

Montana

  • Montana supports in-person betting only.
  • Sports betting launched in March 2020 and is operated by the state lottery.
  • Due to Montana’s government-controlled exclusivity, the top sportsbook brands are shut out, negatively impacting the state’s nationwide market share.

Nevada

  • Nevada supports sports betting in all capacities, however, in-person registration is required.
  • This state is great for betting in person, but not so much for online betting. Bets can only be made in licensed venues, such as casinos.

New Hampshire

  • This state has just one mobile betting option.
  • New Hampshire is not just one of the Draftkings sportsbook states, but this company is the state’s sole mobile betting operator.
  • Online wagering went active on December 30, 2019.

New Jersey

  • New Jersey offers full support for mobile sports betting.

This was the first state to involve the Apex Court in sports gambling and the third to take a sports bet.

  • New Jersey saw a whopping $10.9 billion worth of sports bets in 2021.

New Mexico

  • New Mexico supports in-person betting only.
  • This was the first state to take a bet, although restrictive regulations and limited retail sportsbooks are affecting its market share.

New York

  • The state supports sports betting in all capacities.
  • Sports betting online was activated on January 8, 2022.
  • It now has one of the biggest market shares since it legalized online betting.

North Carolina

  • North Carolina recognizes in-person sportsbooks only, and these were legalized in July 2019.
  • The first bet was taken in March 2021.
  • Online betting might soon be legalized, with Governor Roy Cooper showing support.

North Dakota

  • North Dakota only allows in-person sportsbooks.
  • There has been no real movement to legalize online betting, with attempts in 2021 falling through.

Oregon

  • There’s only one mobile betting option in Oregon.
  • The state prohibits in-state college sports betting.
  • Oregon is one of the DraftKings sportsbook states, having switched from a state-run lottery app in January 2022.

Pennsylvania

  • The state supports sports betting in all its capacities, launching retail and online betting in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
  • Despite high operator fees, Pennsylvania is third in states with the largest money wagered by bettors making about $500 million in bets monthly. Only New Jersey and Nevada have more.

Rhode Island

  • A single option for mobile betting, launching sports betting in 2018
  • William Hill is the sole sportsbook for online and retail betting in the state.

South Dakota

  • South Dakota offers in-person betting only, with the first sportsbook launching in 2021.
  • Wagering is restricted to tribal lands and Deadwood casinos.

Tennessee

  • The state supports all mobile sports betting options.
  • Tennessee is one of those states without casinos, making it the only state with strictly online sports betting.
  • The state has restrictive policies, such as a mandatory 10% return from operators. This could result in worse odds for bettors and make bankroll management difficult.

Virginia

  • The state supports all mobile sports betting options.
  • The first online sports bet was made in January 2021.

Washington

  • Sports betting is only allowed in person in Washington.
  • It was legalized on March 25, 2020, with the first bet taken on September 9, 2021.
  • Bets can only be placed at casinos owned by specific tribes.

Washington DC

  • Mobile betting is legal but limited in DC.
  • GameBetDC is the sole mobile operator and is run by the state lottery.
  • DC has its premier retail sportsbook, a sportsbook bar, and a restaurant within the Capital One Arena. You can wager on your mobile device only if you’re physically inside the stadium.
  • BetMGM in conjunction with the Washington Nationals opened a retail sportsbook at Nationals Park on February 1, 2022.

West Virginia

  • One of the most prominent sports betting legal states, West Virginia supports all mobile sports betting options. Betting has been legal in the state since August 2019.
  • The state hosts a number of top mobile operators, including DraftKings and BetMGM.

Wisconsin

  • Wisconsin residents can only place bet slips at in-person sports betting venues.
  • A deal was made in 2021 to allow the Oneida Nation to open retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos.
  • Mobile betting and in-state college sports betting are prohibited.

Wyoming

  • The state supports all mobile sports betting options.
  • Wyoming was the second US state to legalize online betting without retail bookies.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve gone through the legality of sports betting by state, what about those other states that we haven’t mentioned yet? Four states – Maine, Ohio, Kansas, and Nebraska – have approved legalization but are awaiting further regulatory action.

Massachusetts and South Carolina are considering passing gaming legislation in 2022, while California has multiple ballot proposals to legalize sports betting in the November 2022 elections.

Then there are the 12 remaining states, which are either likely to see action in the coming years or have no legislative movement whatsoever. They are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont

FAQ

While Florida is one of the states with legal online sports betting (and retail betting), gambling activity in the Sunshine State has been indefinitely suspended since December  21, 2021.

No, it isn’t. But there are plans to make it legal in the state, with multiple ballot proposals to legalize sports betting in California’s November 2022 elections.

Despite actions to make sports betting legal in Texas, most recently in 2021, the bill has failed to advance from the committee. There could be another chance for the law to pass in 2023.

Which states allow sports betting?

Sports betting is legal in more than 30 states in the United States, including Washington DC. It is illegal, inactive, or awaiting legislative action in the remainder.

What states allow DraftKings?

DraftKings’ sportsbook legal states include:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
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