Where Is Sports Betting Legal?

Sports betting can trace its illegality directly to the Black Sox scandal of 1919. Baseball, as the National Pastime, had been tainted. The World Series was thrown, and all because of those scoundrel bookmakers. They were evil. They must be stopped. Laws must be passed. And even more laws followed those laws, in 1961, 1964, 1970, and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

But while new laws kept making it on the books during the 20th Century, attitudes went the other way. Sports betting stopped being the business of scoundrels and became mainstream. In fact, by the time the U.S. Supreme Court heard New Jersey’s challenge to the PASPA in 2018 and overturned the federal restriction that prevented states from passing their own sports betting legislation, Americans were illegally wagering $150 billion annually.

Once the federal government’s shackles had been removed, states acted quickly to make sure they got their share of the revenue from that $150 billion pie. Since the PASPA was struck down, 20 U.S. states, including the District of Columbia, have begun taking legal sports wagers, three other states have passed legislation to allow sports betting in the coming months, and 25 states are working on legislation that would make it legal in the future.

States With Live Sports Wagering

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

States With Sports Betting Laws But Not Yet Taking Bets

North Carolina
Virginia
Washington

ARE BOOKIES ILLEGAL IN THE U.S?

This is no longer the cut-and-dried answer that it used to be. Prior to the SCOTUS ruling, almost all bookmakers in the United States were operating illegally. Although in most cases the government had little incentive to pursue legal action against them. Now that sports betting is becoming legal across the country, the answer is more nuanced.

It is legal to own and operate a bookmaking service in states where sports betting is legal, provided that the proper licenses are obtained, registration fees are paid, and all laws are followed (taxes, gaming restrictions, responsible gaming support, etc.) If a person is thinking of operating a bookmaking business, it is recommended that they consult with an attorney to make sure they are operating within the law.

STATES WHERE SPORTS BETTING IS LEGAL

The Supreme Court’s ruling in 2018 did not legalize sports betting. It simply said that each individual state could legalize sports betting if it chose to do so. Many have made that choice, or are in the process of debating that choice, which means that each individual state has its own sports betting laws.

Some of the laws have uniform agreement, like no betting on high school sports. But other restrictions, like betting on in-state college sports, have only been adopted by a few states. So be sure to know the local laws and regulations in the state in which you are wagering.

Arkansas

Sports betting has been legal in Arkansas since July 1, 2019, and along with a sportsbook operating at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, the state has two other retail locations. All sports betting in Arkansas must be done in-person at one of the three retail locations, and online and mobile sports betting is still a few years away.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person only
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events is not legal

Colorado

Voters passed sports betting legislation in November 2019, and sports betting has been live in the state since May 1, 2020. With more than 30 casinos operating in the state, there is a large number of retail sportsbooks for consumers to choose from as well as more than a dozen online and mobile sports wagering options. And that number continues to grow monthly.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: No proposition bets on in-state college athletes

Delaware

It’s a small state, so chances are that Delaware residents live in the vicinity of one of the three operating retail sportsbooks in the state. But even though Delaware can boast that they were the first state outside of Nevada to accept legal sports wagering, there has been no push since 2018 to expand to online and mobile sports betting. With plenty of options just across the border in New Jersey, that may be the way it stays.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person only
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events is not legal

Illinois

Sports betting launched in Illinois in March 2020, right before COVID-19 shut down the sports world. So growth has been slower than expected, but it is happening. In Illinois, you can wager both in-person and online, but customers are required to register at a retail sportsbook before they can then wager at that book’s corresponding mobile app. That has also slowed growth, but the registration mandate will go away in 2022, and the market is expected to boom after that happens.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events and all minor league teams is not legal

Indiana

Indiana has been taking live sports bets since September 1, 2019, and has upped their monthly haul to more than $200 million this past NFL season. Indiana features retail, online, and mobile sports wagering, and allows wagering on all professional and college athletics. Although written into the state’s laws is the allowance of a team or league to request what is known as a geofence, to prevent wagering inside the location of a sporting event.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: No proposition bets on in-state college athletes

Iowa

Legal sports wagering went live in Iowa on August 15, 2019, and even though there are no professional sports in the state, the growth of the market has been substantial. Iowa allows full in-person, online, and mobile sports betting, and its growth has been fueled by licensing fees of just $45,000 initially, and $10,000 for annual renewal. The in-person registration requirement expired on January 1, 2021, and the market is expected to grow even further because of it.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: No proposition bets on in-state college athletes

Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Sports Betting Act just before Christmas, 2019, and on March 11, 2020, legal wagers were being accepted in Michigan. The comprehensive law allows sports betting at more than two dozen casinos in Michigan, as well as online casino gaming and online poker. In November 2020, the Michigan Gaming Control Board began giving out licenses for online and mobile sports betting, and the 15 license holders will go live with online wagering in 2021.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, (online and mobile coming in 2021)
  • Notable Restrictions: None

Mississippi

One of the first states to take legal sports wagers following the Supreme Court’s ruling, Mississippi has had in-person wagering since August 1, 2018. Technically you can also use your mobile phone to place sports wagers, but only when you are inside a casino that has sports wagering. So it isn’t really mobile sports betting, and a change to the law that would allow actual mobile sports betting seems to be several years away.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person
  • Notable Restrictions: None

Montana

Montana has allowed legal sports betting since March 2020, but with a number of restrictions. There is a mobile app, but it’s run by the Montana Lottery, and no other sports betting apps are allowed in the state. And the one app that is allowed only works when the customer is inside licensed bars and restaurants. You can also place wagers at sports betting kiosks located inside those same licensed bars and restaurants.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person
  • Notable Restrictions: None

Nevada

The granddaddy of wagering in America, Nevada is actually falling behind the curve when it comes to sports wagering across the country. They have online and mobile wagering now, but still require customers to register in-person at a retail sportsbook before they can place bets online. This onerous requirement, especially in the face of a pandemic, has allowed New Jersey to pass Nevada in monthly sports betting revenue.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: None

New Hampshire

Governor Chirs Sununu placed the first legal wager in New Hampshire on the New England Patriots on December 30, 2019. He lost the bet, made at a sports bar in Manchester, but he did launch in-person and online and mobile wagering in the state. DraftKings is the lone mobile sportsbook provider in New Hampshire, but there are few retail sportsbooks that have opened, with more on the way.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events is not legal

New Jersey

Sports bettors across America owe New Jersey a debt of gratitude. It was its case against the federal government heard before the Supreme Court that created the sports betting wave currently sweeping the country. New Jersey has retail sportsbooks in Atlantic City and the Meadowlands and 16 online and mobile sportsbooks. With 80% of its sports betting revenue coming online, New Jersey is now the most profitable sports betting state in the country.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events is not legal

New Mexico

Sports betting is legal in New Mexico by default. The state has taken no legislative action since the Supreme Court’s decision in 2018, but tribal casinos in the state have taken it upon themselves to “legalize” sportsbooks under existing tribal gaming laws. Since then a handful of sportsbooks have opened at tribal casinos, bets have been taken, and the Department of the Interior’s Office of Indian Affairs says the operations are legal under the New Mexico compact.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events is not legal

New York

Legal retail sportsbooks have been operating in the Empire State since July 19, 2019. But Governor Andrew Cuomo has been an impediment to sports betting expanding to online and mobile offerings up until recently. A study showed that New York is losing $200 million in annual revenue by not having online wagering (much of it to New Jersey), and Cuomo is now willing to talk about the possibility of expanding the laws.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events is not legal

North Carolina

On July 26, 2019, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed a law that legalized sports wagering and horse race wagering on tribal lands by including them in the state’s compact on allowed gaming activity. Wagering on all professional and college sports is also allowed by the new law. However, there are only two retail locations in the state, all wagering must be done in-person, and those retail locations aren’t expected to be in operating until the spring of 2021.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person
  • Notable Restrictions: None

Oregon

Because Oregon already allowed parlay cards, when the Supreme Court overturned the ban on sports betting, the state did not have to pass any new legislation to begin legal sports betting. Oregon has a single mobile app, run by the state lottery, and a number of tribal casinos have opened retail sportsbooks.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events is not allowed by state-run sportsbooks, but no such restrictions exist for tribal-run sports betting

Pennsylvania

With legislation on the books since 2017 Pennsylvania was ready to hit the ground running after the SCOTUS decision in 2018. In fact, by November of that year, the first legal sports bets were being placed, and in 2019 the state took in more than $1.5 billion in legal sports wagers. Even with a state-imposed limit of just 14 operator licenses, Pennsylvania has the third-largest monthly sports betting handle, only trailing New Jersey and Nevada.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: None

Rhode Island

When Rhode Island began legal sports betting in 2018 the law only allowed for two retail locations — the Twin River Casino and Tiverton Casino. A change to the law in 2019 allowed online and mobile sports betting, but WilliamHill is the only option in town, running both retail locations and online offerings.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events is not legal

Tennessee

The casino-free state of Tennessee is the only state in the country that has online-only sports wagering. But don’t mistake the leap to online wagering as a sign of a progressive gambling attitude. Tennessee took 18 months from the time legislation was passed to when sports betting went live on November 1, 2020. They also require operators to return a 10% hold, when the typical return is between 5–7%. So bettors are likely to get worse odds than in other states, and some operators are likely to stay away.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: Online and mobile-only
  • Notable Restrictions: None

Virginia

Virginia passed its sports betting laws in April 2020, and it has been legal to place wagers at sportsbooks in the state since July 1, 2020. The only problem is that the Virginia Lottery, which oversees the sports betting industry, hasn’t approved any sportsbooks for licensure. That is expected to happen in 2021, making legal sports betting in the Commonwealth a reality.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events is not legal

Washington

Washington state legalized sports betting on March 25, 2020, but as of yet, there have been no legal sports bets placed in the state. The new law only allows sports betting to take place on tribal lands, and currently, the state is in negotiations with those tribes on a new gaming compact. Sports betting in Washington is further restricted because even though there will be mobile sports betting, it will be limited to within a casino that contains a retail sportsbook.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on in-state college teams and events and all minor league teams is not legal

Washington D.C.

In 2019 Washington, D.C. legalized sports betting, and in June 2020, the D.C. Lottery launched GameBetDC. That is the District’s online and mobile application that allows bets to be placed when a customer is within a two-block radius of an operating sportsbook. Since there are no casinos in D.C., the four licensed sportsbooks are all sports venues — Capital One Arena, Audi Field, Nationals Park, and St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: Betting on college teams and events inside D.C. is not legal

West Virginia

On August 30, 2018, West Virginia became the fifth state in the country to take legal sports wagers. There are retail sportsbooks located in the state’s five casinos, including the famous Greenbrier Resort, which has been visited by 26 U.S. presidents. Each of the land-based sportsbooks also has a mobile sports betting partner. The state allows for up to 13 online sports betting licenses, so there is still plenty of room to grow.

  • Types of sports wagering allowed: In-person, online, and mobile
  • Notable Restrictions: None

STATES EXPECTED TO MAKE SPORTS BETTING LEGAL

If a state does not have legal sports betting, there is a strong likelihood that sports gaming legislation is currently being worked on. The following states report active legislative activity when it comes to legalizing sports betting.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming

That leaves Idaho, Utah, and Wisconsin as the only states that have no movement toward legalized sports betting.

IS SPORTS BETTING LEGAL OR WILL BE LEGAL IN YOUR STATE?

If your state has passed sports betting legislation or is working on legislation that will legalize sports betting in the near future, now is the time to sign up and become a Line Sniper Member. You’ll get updates on when sports betting goes live, plus you can use your membership to learn everything there is to know about sports betting.

With membership access to Line Snipers pro sports bettors, you get:

  • Predictive game models for the NFL, NBA, and MLB, and how to use them with sports betting lines
  • Analysis of futures bets and player propositions
  • Sports betting strategy course taught by top sports betting professionals

Source — Where Is Sports Betting Legal?

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For all of our analysis, betting tools and courses, and everything you need to be better at sports betting, check out linesniper.com