Analysis of US Sports Betting Laws and What The Future Holds

The US sports betting industry grew fast after US states received the power to legalize sports betting in 2018. The American Gaming Association (AGA) reveals that US residents bet close to $3 billion on sports in a single month for the first time in October 2020.

A couple of months later, New Jersey set a record by receiving bets worth close to $996.3 million. October 2020 was also a great month for the US states of South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Iowa, and Colorado as they all observed an income boost from sports betting.

The major factor responsible for the rapid growth of the US sports betting industry is the overthrowing of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018. This law outlawed sports betting all over the country except in a few states like Nevada. When a US Supreme Court ruling of May 2018 overturned the PASPA, US states became free to legalize sports betting. As a result, seven US states legalized sports betting within six months of the Supreme Court ruling.

Today, 31 US states have already legalized sports betting, and experts predict that more US states will legalize some forms of sports betting in the next few years.

US States Offering Licensed Online Sportsbooks and Sports Betting Apps

Let’s take a closer look at which US states offer licensed online sports books and sports betting apps:

US Sports Betting Laws - Arkansas
The Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort was the first to receive a sports bet legally in Arkansas after the state legalized sports betting on July 1, 2019. However, Arkansas permits only retail wagering and mobile betting continues to be illegal.

Fantasy sports betting has been legal in Arkansas since 2017. The state also has a lottery and greyhound and horse racing betting.

Currently, Arkansas residents can bet on sports at the Oaklawn Race & Sports Book at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. Southland Casino Racing plans to launch similar services soon.

US Sports Betting Laws - Colorado

Legalized sports betting in Colorado has completed one year as the state legalized the activity in May 2020. The first year of legalized sports betting has given the state tax revenues exceeding $6.6 million.

All 33 casinos in Colorado have licenses to offer sports betting services. Two-thirds of them have received special licenses to offer mobile sports betting while 16 of them have received licenses to offer in-person sports betting. However, more than 80% of the sports bets in Colorado are placed on mobile devices and computers.

Licensed sportsbooks have to pay the state 10% tax on their profits. The state spends $130,000 of its tax revenue on gambling addiction services including counseling and hotlines. The rest of the money is used for the benefit of community colleges, storage projects, water conservation projects, and other social welfare projects.

US Sports Betting Laws - Delaware

Legalized sports betting options were available in Delaware long before 2018 as it was one of the few US states that were exempted from the PASPA. The state’s attempts to legalize sports betting date back to 1976 when the Delaware Lottery started offering parlay betting on football games including at least three teams.

Today, Delaware offers legalized sports betting services through its racinos—Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs. But you can place bets on sports events only in person at these three racinos as the state does not offer online sportsbooks or sports betting apps.

US Sports Betting Laws - Illinois

A capital bill providing for the legalization of sports betting was passed into law in the state legislature on June 3, 2019, enabling Rivers Casino to accept the first legal sports bet on March 9, 2020.

Illinois laws permit online and retail sports betting at racetracks, venues housing professional sports teams, off-track betting parlors, and casinos state-wide. When Illinois authorized sports betting apps on June 18, 2020, BetRivers was the first to go live.

Joilet, Hollywood Casinos, Rivers Casino Des Plaines, Grand Victoria Casino, FanDuel, DraftKings Sportsbook, and Argosy Casino Alton offer legal sports betting services to Illinois residents. The Hawthorne Race Course is the only horse racing track offering retail sports betting in Illinois. The state also has five mobile operators including William Hill and PointsBet.

The laws require residents to register in person at the casino to use its sports betting app. Also, operators of online sportsbooks have to wait for 18 months after receiving a license to launch sports betting apps, although FanDuel and DraftKings Sportsbook have managed to get around this law.

US Sports Betting Laws - Indiana

Sports betting became legal in Indiana in September 2019, and the next month, online sportsbooks went live throughout the state. Today, sports bettors can bet legally at DraftKings Sportsbook, Bet MGM, William Hill Sportsbook, FanDuel, PointsBet, Unibet, and others.

Indiana’s sports betting laws require operators to partner with one of its land-based casinos to offer sports betting services. Licensed operators have to pay the state 9.5% of their gross gambling revenue as taxes. Also, the laws prevent you from betting on amateur athletes under 18 and impose restrictions on live betting.

US Sports Betting Laws - Iowa

Online and retail sports betting went live in August 2019 in Iowa after the state legalized sports wagering in May 2019. Today, Iowa residents can place sports bets at DraftKings Sportsbook, BetMGM, PointsBet, and others.

Iowa’s sports betting laws allow operators can launch sportsbooks only in partnership with a local casino. Till Jan 2021, bettors had to register in person at the casino to use its sports betting app; but today, bettors can register from anywhere in the state.

Iowa imposes a tax of 6.75% on gross gambling revenues, which happens to be the lowest in the US.

US Sports Betting Laws - Michigan

Online and mobile sports betting went live in Michigan in January 2021 after the state legalized sports betting on December 20, 2019. The laws also permit college sports betting. The state accepted its first legal bet at 1:00 p.m. on March 11, 2020. As long as you are physically present in Michigan, you can bet through a sports betting app.

The Gaming Control Board bears the responsibility of overseeing sports betting activities across the state. So far, it has approved 15 mobile gaming licenses.

Sports betting operators have to pay the state a revenue tax of 8.4%. Plus, commercial casinos holding sports betting licenses have to pay a tax of 1.25%.

US Sports Betting Laws - Mississippi
Mississippi legalized and regulated its sports betting industry in August 2018, enabling sports bettors to legally place sports bets in-person at casinos licensed to offer sports betting services. But mobile sports betting is still not legal in the state.

The Mississippi Gaming Commission oversees sports betting activities in Mississippi.

US Sports Betting Laws - Montana

Sports betting received the legislative nod in Montana in March 2020, but only Intralot, which operates the state lottery, is permitted to accept sports bets. The state permits residents to bet up to $1000 on sports events online and up to $250 at kiosks.

As Montana’s sports betting industry is monopolized by its lottery, residents can use only one sports betting app—Sports Bet Montana. Only on-property mobile betting is permitted in Montana, which means that bettors can place bets on their mobile devices only on the premises of retail sports betting facilities.

US Sports Betting Laws - Nevada

As one of the US states that enjoyed exemption from the PASPA, which outlawed sports betting throughout the US till 2018, Nevada has been offering legal sports betting for the past several years. In 1949, Nevada became the first state in the US to legalize sports betting. As a result, Nevada’s sports betting industry is one of the healthiest in the country.

Also, the credit of being the first US state to offer mobile sports betting goes to Nevada. The state’s first sports betting app went live in 2010. Today, almost every land-based casino in Nevada, ranging from Caesars to MGM, offers a sports betting app.

However, you have to visit the casino offering the sports betting app to register and get started.

US Sports Betting Laws - New Hampshire

The 17th US state to legalize sports betting was New Hampshire. This happened on July 12, 2019, when Chris Sununu, the governor of New Hampshire, signed a sports betting bill into law and legalized both retail and mobile sports betting. As New Hampshire sports betting laws permit remote registration, a larger number of bettors could register from home during the pandemic.

New Hampshire has granted DraftKings Sportsbook the monopoly to offer sports betting services within its jurisdiction. In return, DraftKings offers 51% of its gross gambling revenue to the state government.

US Sports Betting Laws - New Jersey

New Jersey was quick to legalize sports betting after the PASPA was outlawed in 2018. Sportsbooks cropped up at racetracks and casinos all over the state. The first sports bets were accepted on June 14, 2018, during a ceremony organized at the William Hill Race and Sports Bar.

The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) regulates all forms of sports betting in New Jersey. Residents can choose from a wide range of sports betting brands that operate from NJ’s land-based casinos and racetracks. The state also permits each licensed casino and racetrack to offer up to three sports betting apps. The first company to launch a sports betting app in NJ was DraftKings Sportsbook on August 6, 2018.

The state doesn’t permit college sports betting.

US Sports Betting Laws - New Mexico

The Santa Ana Casino in New Mexico accepted the first sports bet in October 2018 and New Mexico became the 6th US state to legalize sports betting. Later, four more tribal casinos in New Mexico started offering sports betting services.

New Mexico hasn’t legalized online sports betting and doesn’t plan to do so soon.

US Sports Betting Laws - New York

The New York State Gaming Commission approved a regulatory framework for sports betting in January 2019. As a result, retail sportsbooks started operating legally in the state in July 2019.

A deal to legalize mobile sports betting in New York got the legislative nod in April 2021. Bettors can expect online and mobile sportsbooks to go live in New York late in 2021 or early in 2022.

The mobile sports betting industry in New York has the potential to become one of the biggest in the US. Several brands including Bet365, BetRivers, DraftKings, and others are expected to launch sports betting apps in the state.

US Sports Betting Laws - North Carolina

North Carolina legalized sports betting in 2019, enabling William Hill to partner with the Eastern band of Cherokee Indians to launch a couple of retail sportsbooks on March 18, 2021. However, the laws permit only in-person betting at licensed tribal casinos.

US Sports Betting Laws - Oregon

Sports betting is legal in Oregon, but the only sports betting facility in the state is the Scoreboard sports betting app and website, which is run by the state. The law also permits tribal casinos to offer in-person sports betting.

US Sports Betting Laws - Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s robust and fast-growing sports betting industry went live in 2018 and expanded into online and mobile sports betting in 2019. Today, bettors can choose from a variety of brands like BetMGM, FanDuel Sportsbook, Unibet, BetRivers, FoxBet, and others to place sports bets online.

The state has legalized in-person, mobile, as well as online sports betting. The tax rate for operators, however, is as high as 36% of the gross gambling revenue.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board oversees sports betting throughout the state. It bears the responsibility of licensing and testing online sports betting sites before permitting them to go live. The board also handles responsible gambling enforcement and compliance issues.

US Sports Betting Laws - Rhode Island

Rhode Island became the 8th US state to legalize sports betting in 2018, shortly after the PASPA was outlawed. Early in 2019, the state legalized mobile sports betting and online sportsbooks as well. Late in 2019, sports betting apps requiring in-person registration appeared in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Lottery in partnership with IGT and William Hill offers sports betting apps in the state. Bettors have to be physically present in the state to place bets through this app.

US Sports Betting Laws - Tennessee

Sports betting became legal in Tennessee on Nov 1, 2020, and sports betting apps like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, William Hill, and Action 24/7 are now available to Tennessee residents. Tennessee laws permit only mobile and online sports betting, leaving no option for retail sports betting.

US Sports Betting Laws - Virginia

Virginia legalized sports betting in April 2020 and granted 12 sports betting licenses to enable sportsbooks like FanDuel, BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, and others to go live in the state early in 2021. The law permits only up to 12 sports betting apps in its jurisdiction.

The state doesn’t offer in-person sports betting as it approved land-based casinos only in 2020. Once the land-based casinos are constructed, they may start offering retail sports betting services to residents.

US Sports Betting Laws - West Virginia

As West Virginia has legalized in-person, mobile, and online sports wagering, FanDuel Sportsbook could make an appearance in the Mountain State in August 2019. DraftKings and BetMGM soon followed FanDuel into the newly regulated market.

West Virginia was the fifth US state to legalize retail sports betting in August 2018 soon after Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Nevada did the same. It legalized online sports betting a few months later.

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US States That Have Recently Legalized Sports Betting

The following US states legalized sports betting recently, but sportsbooks and sports betting apps are scheduled to go live at a later date:

US Sports Betting Laws - Arizona

Early in 2021, Arizona lawmakers legalized fantasy betting and sports betting by passing a bill that included provisions for the expansion of the state’s tribal casinos. The task of regulating sportsbooks operated by tribes and professional sports teams was entrusted to the Department of Gaming. The state is expected to accept its first sports bets on September 9, 2021.

The Department of Gaming has released draft rules for games and fantasy sports, which will legalize money-line bets, over-under bets, straight bets, in-play bets, in-game wagering, and pool betting. However, betting on high school sports and inter-game play in college sports will continue to be illegal.

Arizona will grant licenses to only 10 sportsbooks, and the Gaming Department has requested the public to help them decide which operators to license. The Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phoenix Suns, and TPC Scottsdale intend to launch sportsbooks in the state.

US Sports Betting Laws - Connecticut

Sports betting became legal in Connecticut when the state passed a bill legalizing online casino games, lottery sales, and sports betting in May 2021. However, betting on college sports events will continue to be illegal.

Connecticut’s two casinos and the CT Lottery will share the rights to offer online sports betting services when they launch later this year. DraftKings Sportsbook in partnership with Mashantucket Pequot and Kambi in partnership with the Mohegan are all set to grab their share of Connecticut’s sports betting market. In addition, legalized sports betting services will also be available in 15 sports bars and lottery-licensed facilities.

The state will impose a tax of 13.75% on fantasy sports and sports betting profits and use the tax revenue to fund problem gambling services. The bill also provides for player protection measures like self-exclusion, reality checks, and credit limits.

US Sports Betting Laws - Florida

Sports betting became legal in Florida in May 2021 when Ron DeSantis, the governor of the state, signed a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. The new sports betting law permits retail sportsbooks and sports betting apps to start operating from October 15, 2021.

The signed compact, however, still requires the legislative nod. Also, Florida has several anti-gambling groups that do not want any form of gambling to be legalized. If everything goes well, Florida residents can start betting on sports events legally from Oct 15, 2021.

US Sports Betting Laws - Louisiana

Lawmakers approved sports betting in Louisiana in June 2021, which means that residents may be able to place legal sports bets this fall.
Louisiana’s new sports betting laws permit residents to place sports bets in person at bars, racetracks, and casinos. The state plans to issue 20 licenses and to permit the Louisiana Lottery to hire a company to operate a sportsbook.

The state’s four racetracks and 16 casinos will get the first opportunity to offer sports betting services. If they don’t want to do so, video poker outlets can grab the opportunity.

The Louisiana Lottery bears the task of overseeing sports betting kiosks in bars and restaurants. The laws permit an unlimited number of bars and restaurants to offer on-site sports betting. However, they prohibit betting on high school sports events and athletes under 18.

US Sports Betting Laws - Maryland

Sports betting is now legal in Maryland and may go live in the next few months. On June 10, 2021, PointsBet Sportsbook partnered with the Riverboard on the Potomac to gain access to Maryland’s newly regulated sports betting market. Residents may be able to place sports bets legally in the state during the NFL Season this September.

Maryland is issuing two categories of licenses. Ten of them are reserved for the state’s six casinos, the Maryland Jockey Club, and the state’s three professional sports teams. Thirty licenses are reserved for businesses based in Maryland. Both categories of licenses permit mobile sports wagering.

US Sports Betting Laws - Nebraska

In May 2021, Pete Ricketts, the governor of Nebraska, signed into law a bill that permits pari-mutuel race tracks to offer retail sportsbooks. College sports betting, however, will be prohibited. Legal sports betting activities are expected to go live either late in 2021 or early in 2022 throughout the state.

US Sports Betting Laws - Ohio

Ohio lawmakers passed a bill legalizing sports betting on June 16, 2021, but sports betting services may go live in Ohio only from April 1, 2022.

The bill permits residents to bet on sports events legally and offers a total of 58 licenses. All businesses including racinos and casinos can apply for a sports betting license. These include 33 retail sports betting licenses and 25 licenses for online sportsbooks and sports betting apps. Each applicant has to pay a licensing fee of $1 million.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission will review and grant sports betting licenses. The state will distribute these licenses based on the population of each county.

Operators have to pay the state a tax of 10% on their gross gambling revenues. The funds thus raised will be spent on education programs and gambling addiction programs.

US Sports Betting Laws - South Dakota

South Dakota’s Commission on Gaming approved rules for sports betting in May 2021, and the state plans to them into effect from July 1, 2021. Among the rules approved were application fees of $5000 for sports betting licenses and a proposal to deduct federal excise tax and promotional spending.

The rules also prohibit licensees to place wagers on sports and prevent betting on high school sports, college sports, and minor league sports.

Legal sports betting may launch in South Dakota in September 2021.

US Sports Betting Laws - Washington

Although sports betting was legalized in Washington on March 25, 2020, it is heavily restricted. The laws permit only tribal casinos to offer sports betting services on their property. Sports betting apps are still not legal, but the laws permit betting on college as well as professional sports.

Negotiations between the state and tribal casinos are still on, and Washington bettors may have to wait for months for the sportsbooks to go live.

US Sports Betting Laws - Wyoming

Although Wyoming legalized sports betting in April 2021, residents have to wait for a few more months for the newly regulated sports betting market to launch.

As the state has no commercial casinos, Wyoming will license multiple operators to launch sports betting apps. The state will also give its four tribal casinos the right to offer sports betting services.

If everything goes as planned, licensed sportsbooks will be available in Wyoming by September 2021.

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US States that Have No Legal Sports Betting Options

The following is a list of US states that are either very slow or least interested in addressing the issue of legalizing sports betting.

Attempts to legalize sports betting in the following states have failed, and we may have to wait till next year to find out if there are any chances of sports betting legalization in these states:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin
  • Utah
  • Hawaii

US Sports Betting Laws FAQs

Can I bet on sports legally in the US?
The answer to this question depends on the state in which you live. If you reside in a state that has legalized sports betting, you can bet legally on sports. Otherwise, you have to travel to a state that has legalized sports betting to place sports bets legally.

Can I make money betting on sports in the US?
Yes, but it is easier said than done. You have to do a lot of research before placing a bet to make a profit. Keep an eye on the latest sports news and updates and get the best sports picks to improve your chances of winning.

Can I bet on college and high school sports legally in the US?
Again, it depends on the state in which you live. Some US states permit betting on college sports while some do not.

How can I choose the best sports betting app?
We suggest reading reviews of the top sports betting apps in your state before making a choice. You can also discuss the app in sports betting forums to find out what other bettors think about it.

How many sportsbooks can I register at?
You can register at as many sportsbooks as you please. However, you cannot open multiple accounts on the same online sportsbook.

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Casino Gaming Laws in Each US State

Two sets of laws have to be considered while talking about the US casino gaming landscape—federal laws and state laws.

Federal laws have a direct impact on individual states’ abilities to frame gambling regulations. For example, the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 gave states the power to sign gaming compacts with native tribes for the establishment of tribal casinos.

To a large extent, individual US states are free to create gambling laws of their own, as a result of which we have different gambling laws and different legal gambling options in each state.

While US states like Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware have robust regulatory frameworks and have legalized almost all forms of land-based and online gambling, states like Utah and Hawaii hardly have any legal gambling options. Moreover, gambling laws keep changing even as we write.

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US States That Have Legalized Online Casinos

These US states have recently legalized online casinos, and the list is expected to grow:

US Sports Betting Laws - Connecticut

Online casinos became legal in Connecticut when the Connecticut House voted in favor of a comprehensive bill to legalize online casinos and online sportsbooks. In the next few months, residents will be able to play poker and slots legally on their desktops or mobile devices and take advantage of no deposit bonuses and free spins.

The new law is expected to boost the state’s revenue by $30 million next year, touching $83 million by the end of 2026. Online casino operators have to pay a tax of 18% on their gross gaming revenue.

Connecticut has legalized several forms of gambling including casino gaming, pari-mutuel betting, daily fantasy sports, lottery games, and charitable gaming. The state is home to two large tribal casinos—Foxwoods Resorts Casino and The Mohegan Sun. There are also several off-track betting (OTBs) locations belonging to Sportech PLC.

US Sports Betting Laws - Delaware

Despite its small size, Delaware is home to a large and thriving gambling industry, which presents options ranging from casino gaming to parlay betting. Also, the state organizes lottery games and permits charity gambling.

Delaware was the first state in the US to legalize online gambling. The state passed an Internet gaming bill in June 2012, as a result of which its three gambling establishments—Harrington Raceway, Dover Downs, and Delaware Park—offer full-fledged casino sites.

Delaware gets most of its gambling revenue from the Delaware Lottery, which rakes in more than $450 million every year. The state uses 30% of this income to fund higher education, public safety, health & social services, child & family programs, and other social welfare programs.

US Sports Betting Laws - Michigan

Online poker rooms, online casinos, and online sportsbooks became legal in Michigan in December 2019. As many as nine online and mobile casinos went live in Michigan in January 2021 and more will arrive shortly.

Michigan’s gambling history has its roots in the early thirties, and today, the state has 26 licensed casinos that offer a total of 30,000+ slot machine games. Three of these casinos are commercial casinos located in Detroit and all the others are tribal casinos operating on reservation land.

US Sports Betting Laws - New Jersey

Casino gaming became legal in New Jersey as early as 1976. The state’s major casino gaming law is the New Jersey Casino Control Act. New Jersey’s first casino, the Resorts International Casino, was established in 1978 in Atlantic City. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and the New Jersey Casino Control Commission oversee online and land-based casino gaming activities across the state.

NJ has nine commercial casinos, the biggest of which is the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, which offers 3000+ gambling machines. The second-biggest casino is the Resorts Casino Hotel, which offers 2,500 gambling machines. There are no tribal casinos in New Jersey.

On February 26, 2013, New Jersey legalized online gambling, enabling its commercial casinos to partner with online gambling operators or software providers to offer online casinos to NJ residents. All US residents above 21 can play at these licensed online casinos provided they are physically present in New Jersey.

US Sports Betting Laws - Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania legalized online gambling in 2017, as a result of which residents can choose from a wide range of legal online casinos and sportsbooks.

Online gambling became legal in the state when Tom Wolf, the governor of Pennsylvania, signed H271 into law. As a result, several forms of online gambling including online lottery games, online poker, tablet gaming, VGTs, and mini-casinos became legal in the state.

Parx Online and Hollywood Casino Online were the first to go live in July 2019. Today, Pennsylvania casino players can choose from several licensed online casinos including Unibet, BetMGM, Stars Casino, DraftKings Casino, and others.

However, only state-licensed operators can legally offer online casino services to residents. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is the gambling regulator in the state.

US Sports Betting Laws - West Virginia

West Virginia has legalized online casinos and online poker, becoming the fifth US state to do so. The first online casino, DraftKings Casino in partnership with Hollywood Casino Charlestown, went live in July 2020. BetMGM went live in 2020 and BetRivers launched a casino app in 2021. More online casinos are expected to go live in West Virginia in the next few months.

State-run lottery games, charity games, casino gaming, and sports betting are also legal forms of gambling in West Virginia, which offers five land-based casinos, out of which four are racinos. Also, the state offers charity games, social games, and several off-track betting facilities and uses its gambling tax revenue to improve its education system.

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US States Offering Tribal, Commercial and Riverboat Casinos

These US states currently offer a mix alternative betting options in the form of tribal casinos, commercial betting and riverboat casinos:

US Sports Betting Laws - Alabama

Alabama has a few riverboat casinos and four tribal casinos, but they can offer only Class II gaming. This means that they cannot offer traditional casino games like table & card games, video poker games, slots, and others. Charity gambling like bingo games and raffles are legal in Alabama.

In May 2021, the state’s lawmakers ended a legislative session without casting any vote on a gambling bill that could have resolved several gambling-related issues within the state.

US Sports Betting Laws - Alaska

Only charity games and pull-tab games are legal in Alaska. However, cruise ship gambling is very popular in the state, especially during the summer. As soon as the ships hit international waters or enter Canadian territory, they throw open casinos with table & card games and slots on board.

Alaska doesn’t offer commercial casinos but permits native tribes to run gambling establishments with bingo games and pull tabs. There are no online casinos, live poker rooms, online poker rooms, and lottery games in Alaska.

US Sports Betting Laws - Arizona

Charity gambling, state-organized lottery games, and tribal casinos are legal in Arizona. Residents can choose from 30+ tribal casinos, none of which offer online casino gaming. However, some tribal casinos offer online social casinos and poker rooms.

US Sports Betting Laws - Arkansas

Owing to a gambling law passed in 2005 to legalize skill-based games, racinos in Arkansas (Oaklawn Park Racetrack and the Southlands Racetrack) now offer electronic skill-based games, blackjack, and video poker. Arkansas passed laws to legalize charity gaming in 2007 and launched a “scholarship lottery” in 2009. The state uses the profits of the lottery to fund the college education of talented students.

Arkansas does not offer any form of online gambling, although there is nothing in its law books to prevent residents from gambling at offshore online gambling sites. However, there are plenty of bingo halls, which operate bingo games and raffles to raise funds for charitable causes.

US Sports Betting Laws - California

California is home to 63 tribal casinos run by 61 native tribes, but it has not yet legalized online casinos or even commercial land-based casinos. The state’s attempts to legalize online poker have also failed.

Tribal casinos in California offer blackjack, house-banked card games, and electronic gaming machines, but roulette games and craps are illegal. However, some tribal casinos have found ways to dodge the law and offer certain modified variants of roulette and craps played with cards.

California legalized lotteries in 1984, as a result of which the California State Lottery offers a variety of lucky draws and scratchcards along with multi-state lotteries like Mega Millions and Powerball.

US Sports Betting Laws - Colorado

A state that legalized horse racing back in the fifties and sold its first legal lottery ticket in 1983, Colorado exhibits a liberal attitude towards gambling.

Lawmakers approved casinos in Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk to prevent these once prosperous mining cities from turning into ghost towns. This law also permitted the Ute tribe to run casinos on reservation land.

The legal forms of gambling in Colorado are live horse racing with off-track betting, state lottery games, commercial casinos, tribal casinos, and charity gambling. Colorado casinos offer all varieties of casino games including roulette, blackjack, roulette, craps, and slots games. The casinos remain open 24/7 and pay 20% of their gross revenue as taxes to the government.

US Sports Betting Laws - Florida

Florida passed its first gambling laws in 1931, legalizing on-site horse betting and dog betting. Today, the same licensed facilities also offer poker games and slots. Cardrooms, bingo halls, and a lottery monopolized by Florida Lottery are also available in the state.

When the federal Regulatory Gaming Act was passed in 1988, tribal casinos offering table & card games and slots appeared in Florida. The state also has a lottery monopolized by the Florida Lottery.

US Sports Betting Laws - Idaho

Tribal casinos, state lottery games, pull tabs, and charity betting are legal in Idaho. As the tribal casinos are not permitted to offer table games, they offer only slots, keno, and video poker games. They also organize charity raffles and bingo games.

The legal gambling age is 18, but Clearwater Casino serves customers only if they are at least 21 years old.

US Sports Betting Laws - illinois

Gamblers will find plenty of sportsbooks, casinos, horse tracks, and other gambling options in Illinois. Also, the state is continuously making efforts to expand its gambling market. In June 2021, J.B. Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, signed a bill that makes it mandatory for Illinois casinos to employ only residents of Illinois on their premises.

So far, Illinois has not approved online casinos, but residents can participate in online sweepstakes online and play at social gambling sites. As Illinois legalized riverboat casinos over 30 years back, the state offers 10 cruise ships that offer video gaming terminals (VGTs), which strongly resemble slots.

VGTs are also available at several licensed establishments like convenience stores, bars, hotels, and restaurants all over Illinois. Initially, only five VGTs were permitted per location, but an amendment to the Video Gaming Act increased that number to five and also permitted truck stops to offer as many as 10 VGTs.

US Sports Betting Laws - Indiana

Indiana has legalized several forms of gambling, owing to which it has two racinos and several land-based casinos along with a well-established lottery game.

Traditionally, Indiana had only riverboat casinos. The state’s oldest riverboat casinos are docked near its borders so that gamblers from Louisville, Cincinnati, or Chicago can easily access them.

The state also has 12 land-based casinos including Ameristar, Horseshoe Casinos and Majestic Star.

US Sports Betting Laws - Iowa

Gambling regulations are tough in Iowa, but the state permits a limited number of racinos, tribal casinos, and riverboat casinos. It gets over a billion dollars in tax revenue from its licensed gambling establishments.

Unlawful gambling is a felony in Iowa, punishable with prison time of up to ten years or a hefty fine in the range of $100 – $10,000. Even when considered a misdemeanor, you could get a year in jail or a fine ranging from $375 – $1,875.

Gambling enthusiasts can legally play table & card games, poker games, and slots in Iowa tribal casinos and racinos, but online casinos are still illegal.

US Sports Betting Laws - Kansas

Kansas has a well-regulated but highly restricted gambling industry. Those found guilty of illegal gambling may get a short time in prison and a fine of up to $1000 or both.

Residents can gamble legally in state-licensed casinos, bingo halls, and poker rooms. Prize contests and lottery games are also legal. Although real money online casinos are illegal in Kansas, the state permits online social casinos and social gaming apps. Some of the most popular social casinos in Kansas are Chumba Casino, LuckyLand Casino, and WinStar, which offer free slots, video poker games, roulette games, and blackjack games.

US Sports Betting Laws - Louisiana

Louisiana has a rich and interesting gambling history, going back to the days before it became a part of the US. When the state became a part of the US in 1803, it had more places to gamble than Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York put together. But today, only a few categories of gambling are legal in Louisiana.

The state has not legalized online casinos but has four tribal casinos, a commercial land-based casino in New Orleans, four racinos, and many riverboat casinos that don’t have to be on international waters to offer gambling services.

Lousiana’s land-based casinos offer a wide range of games like slots, video poker games, table & card games, live poker, bingo, and keno. Moreover, a law of 1991 permitted video poker games at truck stops, convenience stores, and bars all over Louisiana. Today, the state has 12,000+ video poker terminals across 1,400 locations.

US Sports Betting Laws - Maine

Although real money online casinos are illegal in Maine, the state permits sweepstakes sites and social online casinos like Chumba Casino, LuckyLand Casino, and WinStar Casino.

Residents who want to play with real money can do so at the Hollywood Casino Bangor or Oxford Casino, both of which offer table games and electronic gaming devices. Maine has legalized a few categories of gambling like lotteries, horse racing, poker, and casino games, but the state has a long way to go before it can legalize online casinos.

US Sports Betting Laws - Maryland

Online casinos are not available in Maryland, but residents can purchase, track, and play lottery games via the Maryland Lottery App. Although Maryland doesn’t permit online casinos, it permits businesses to run social online casinos such as the Maryland Live! operated Live! Social Casino.

Currently, Maryland has six casinos, which were constructed from 2010 to 2016. All of them offer Vegas-style casino gaming services including poker, electronic games, table games, and slots.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission is the regulatory body that supervises the state’s casino gaming industry. It bears the responsibility of licensing casinos and ensuring that they comply with the regulations.

US Sports Betting Laws - Massachusetts

The Expanded Gaming Act, which Massachusetts legislators signed into law on November 22, 2011, permits as many as three commercial casinos with one slots facility. Massachusetts has two casinos—Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield along with Plainridge Park Casino, a slots parlor.

The state is in the slow but steady process of liberalizing its laws to permit more tribal and commercial casinos in its jurisdiction. The present laws also permit the Massachusetts Lottery, which offers prize draws, pull tabs, and scratchcards.

Charity gambling such as raffles, poker nights, and bingos are also legal in Massachusetts, which has 200 charity bingo halls.

US Sports Betting Laws - Minnesota

The credit of being the first US state to sign gambling compacts with native tribes goes to Minnesota. Native tribes, therefore, monopolize casino gaming in the state.

Minnesota also has a state lottery, and residents can purchase tickets and play games online. Charity gaming like raffles and bingo are also legal.

US Sports Betting Laws - Mississippi

Commercial casino gaming received the legislative nod in 1990 in Mississippi, leading to the establishment of its first casino in 1992. Today, the state has 31 casinos, of which three are tribal casinos and the rest are commercial casinos.

These casinos generate tax revenue, which the state uses to fund transportation, education, housing, youth counseling, public safety, and healthcare programs. Mississippi became the last US state to legalize lottery games in 2018.

US Sports Betting Laws - Missouri

The fifth US state to legalize riverboat casinos was Missouri, and amendments made to gambling laws over the years have shaped the state’s casino gaming industry. If a player wins more than $1200 while playing casino games, the state withholds 4% of the jackpot as taxes.

Along with riverboat casinos, the state has legalized charity bingo and raffles and fantasy sports. The Missouri Gaming Commission regulates the state’s gambling industry.

US Sports Betting Laws - Montana

All categories of gambling became legal in Montana in 1889, after which the state legislature passed several bills that shaped the state’s gambling industry in the future.

Today, Montana has eight tribal casinos, which offer Class II and Class III gambling services. Plus, there are 1400+ taverns, bars, and other businesses offering 16000+ video gaming machines across the state.

According to Montana’s gambling laws, commercial businesses holding an alcoholic beverages license can offer up to 20 video gaming machines. These businesses including truck shops, laundry mats, taverns, bars, and others. However, players cannot bet more than $2 and win more than $800 on these games. The gambling tax rate is 15% in Montana.

US Sports Betting Laws - Nebraska

Nebraska offers five tribal casinos and a sprinkling of bingo rooms. As it doesn’t approve of casino gaming, it hasn’t licensed any commercial casino. Apart from its five tribal casinos and a few bingo halls, the state has nothing of interest for gamblers.

US Sports Betting Laws - Nevada

Synonymous with US casino gambling, Nevada has legalized online sports betting and online poker. As the state wishes to remain “poker only” to protect the interests of its thriving commercial casino industry, it hasn’t legalized online casino gaming.

Nevada is home to 163 commercial casinos, of which 66 are located in Las Vegas alone. In addition, Moapa and Laughlin have a tribal casino each. As many as 127 commercial casinos are located along the border so that players from neighboring states can easily visit them. Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, Nevada’s biggest casino, offers 2,860 gaming machines.

US Sports Betting Laws - New Mexico

New Mexico is home to tribal casinos, commercial casinos, and a state lottery game. So far, the state has not passed any bill to legalize online casinos.

There is no legal gambling age to play bingo in person at land-based establishments. But the legal gambling age is 18 for online bingo and lottery games and 21 for land-based casinos.

New Mexico offers 22 tribal casinos located across 15 cities, five horse racing tracks, and multiple off-track betting facilities along with several charity gambling establishments.

US Sports Betting Laws - New York

Although it doesn’t license any online casino, New York allows players to choose from seven tribal casinos, four commercial casinos, racinos, horse betting facilities, and a lottery game. New York’s retail sportsbooks offer slots and table games. The chances of online casino gaming getting legalized in New York are very slim.

US Sports Betting Laws - North Carolina

Although North Carolina criminalized all forms of gambling in 1700, it legalized bingo and lottery games in 1945 to boost tax revenue.

In August 2012, one of North Carolina’s two tribal casinos, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, received the license to offer table games. North Carolina got its second tribal casino only in 2015.

Commercial casinos and online casinos are still illegal in North Carolina.

US Sports Betting Laws - North Dakota

Players can enjoy a wide range of legalized gambling options in North Dakota. The state has tribal casinos, racetrack betting facilities, off-track betting establishments, bingo halls, and card rooms. However, online casinos remain illegal.

North Dakota has 18 poker rooms and 8 tribal casinos scattered across Fort Yates, Belcourt, Trenton, Saint Michael, New Town, Hankinson, and Spiritwood. Charity gaming and social gaming are also legal in the state.

US Sports Betting Laws - Ohio

Legal forms of gambling in Ohio are charity games like bingo and raffles, horse betting, state lottery games, video lottery terminals at racetracks, skill-based gaming machines, casinos, and keno games.

The legal gambling age is 16 for bingo, 18 for keno and lottery games, and 21 for casino games.

US Sports Betting Laws - Oklahoma

Despite its sparse population, Oklahoma has more tribal casinos than any other US state. However, the state has very strict gambling laws, which ban even social gaming. Oklahoma is also very tough on residents found guilty of illegal gambling.

Oklahoma allows its tribal casinos to offer both Class III and Class II categories of games. The casinos can, therefore, legally offer Vegas-style games like slots, Three Card Poker, Roulette, Craps, Blackjack, and Baccarat along with punch boards, pull tabs, and bingo. The state makes billions of dollars in tax revenues every year thanks to its thriving tribal casinos.

Oklahoma also has a state lottery, which adds a lot of money to its coffers. The state uses its gambling tax revenue to fund higher education, teacher retirement, school projects, and other social welfare projects.

US Sports Betting Laws - Oregon

The only regulated form of online gambling in Oregon is online sports betting, but online casino gaming is still a grey area. Currently, Oregon is home to nine small tribal casinos, two of which offer sports betting facilities. Oregon also permits charity gambling and social gambling.

US Sports Betting Laws - Rhode Island

Online casinos are illegal in Rhode Island although the laws permit online daily fantasy sports and online sports betting. But residents can play free casino games at social online casinos.

Till 1973, the only legal form of gambling in Rhode Island was horse racing. Later, state-run lottery games got the legislative nod. Today, playing keno and lottery games online is legal in Rhode Island.

In November 2012, Twin River Casino received the permit to offer table games. In 2018, Tiverton Casino Hotel, the second casino in Rhode Island, started offering its services.

US Sports Betting Laws - South Carolina

Despite restrictive gambling laws, South Carolina offers charity gaming and lottery games. Some of the anti-gambling laws the state still follows are 200+ years old. The state has made only a few half-hearted attempts to update these laws in the last one or two decades. In 2002, it approved lottery games to raise funds for education.

Whenever they desire to gamble, residents can visit Little River and Myrtle Beach and board a cruise ship. Once in international waters, these ships offer slots, table games, and video poker games. The state has no OBTs, commercial casinos, tribal casinos, or racetracks.

US Sports Betting Laws - South Dakota

Deadwood in South Dakota is home to 24 commercial casinos along with tribal casinos spread all over the state. You can play poker, table games, and slots in these licensed casinos, but the max bet is not more than $1000.

Other legal forms of gambling in South Dakota are video lottery terminals, lottery games, bingo games, and pari-mutuel wagering.

US Sports Betting Laws - Texas

Lottery games, charity games, and three tribal casinos are the only legal forms of gambling in Texas. State legislators attempted to legalize casino gaming this year, but it was not successful.

The Texas Lottery went live in 1992 and offers prize draws and scratchcards along with multi-state Powerball and Mega Millions games.

US Sports Betting Laws - Virginia

Virginia’s lawmakers passed several gambling laws in early 2020, becoming the last US state to legalize land-based casino gaming. However, residents will have to wait till 2023 to start playing casino games. The state doesn’t have any tribal casinos, but Indian tribes are playing an important role in developing its upcoming land-based casinos.

Currently, Virginia offers an extensive state-run lottery with scratchcards, instant-win games, and prize draws.

US Sports Betting Laws - Washington

Washington has a set of clear laws that prevent all forms of unregulated gambling in its jurisdiction, including online gambling.

All legal forms of gambling in Washington are licensed and regulated by the Washington State Gambling Commission. The state has 29 tribal casinos and several cruise ships in its ports.

The Washington Lottery Commission supervises the state-run lottery games.

US Sports Betting Laws - Wisconsin

The only legal categories of gambling in Wisconsin are charity games, state lotteries, tribal casinos, and social casinos. No Wisconsin regulator has proposed a bill to legalize online casino gaming or commercial casinos in the state.

US Sports Betting Laws - Wyoming

The Wyoming Gaming Commission regulates the state’s gambling industry, which includes three racetracks and several off-track betting (OTB) facilities. There are no commercial casinos in Wyoming.

Wyoming is home to several bingo halls that offer charity bingo games to raise funds for worthy causes. There is also the Wyoming Lottery, but it doesn’t belong to the state.

Wyoming also has many tribal casinos located in its western parts, but they are not governed by the Wyoming Gaming Commission.

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US States That Haven’t Legalized Casinos

These states below have not yet legalized casinos in any shape or form:

US Sports Betting Laws - Georgia

Casino gambling continues to remain illegal in Georgia despite several attempts to legalize the same in the past. However, the state runs a lottery game and permits residents to play at social gaming sites. Charity gambling to raise funds for social welfare projects is also legal.

US Sports Betting Laws - Kentucky

Although Kentucky is synonymous with horse racing, the state has legalized forms of gambling like a state lottery with multi-state games and charity games like pull tabs, bingo games, and raffles.

Kentucky has not legalized casino games, online casinos, or poker within its jurisdiction. In 2011, an attempt to license slots failed in the legislative session. But during the same year, Historic Horse Racing (HHR) electronic gaming machines based on results of previously held horse races across the US arrived in the state. The state uses tax revenue generated by HHRs to fund its horse racing industry.

US Sports Betting Laws - New Hampshire

Playing slots is illegal in New Hampshire, but the state offers 27 licensed charity gambling establishments that offer table games, bingo, and keno. Commercial casinos are illegal in New Hampshire, but the state permits commercial bingo halls and has 13 of them along with 16 smaller gambling facilities. There are no tribal casinos in the state.

New Hampshire has a powerful, 40-year-old charitable gaming industry, which enables as many as 400 charities to receive funds from the state’s 27 charity gambling establishments.

The New Hampshire Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority (GROA) is the gambling control board in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission oversees the state’s lottery game, which is the oldest state lottery as it was established in 1964.

US Sports Betting Laws - Tennessee

Although Tennessee has become friendlier towards online sports betting, it continues to prohibit bingo halls, race tracks, social gaming, and casinos. However, it permits lottery games through the Tennessee State Lottery, simulcasting, and off-track betting.

The first form of gambling to be legalized in Tennessee was the state lottery after the governor signed a bill in 2003. Today, the lottery runs multi-state games like Mega Millions and Powerball.

US Sports Betting Laws - Vermont

Vermont doesn’t have any commercial casinos or tribal casinos, but it has laws that support charity games and lottery games. Also, the state doesn’t offer online poker, online casinos, or sports betting.

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US States That Have Banned Gambling

These states have banned gambling completely, whether it be online or land-based:

US Sports Betting Laws - Hawaii

All categories of gambling are illegal in Hawaii. The state doesn’t have any land-based commercial casino or tribal casino or online gambling site. The state allows residents to play social games in private as long as no profits are made.

According to the state’s laws, gambling is a misdemeanor, but it may become a felony if a gambler wins $1000 on lottery games or $500 on sports betting per day.

US Sports Betting Laws - Utah

Utah doesn’t even have lottery games and charity bingo games and raffles. Even Indian tribes cannot operate casinos in Utah because casino gaming is illegal in the state and no governor is willing to sign a gaming compact with the tribes.

Utah, however, permits playing casino games for fun. Residents can hold casino parties and sign up on social gaming sites.

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Casino Gambling FAQs

What kind of games does a licensed online casino offer?

Most of the games at licensed online casinos are slots. Online casinos also offer table & card games including several variants of roulette, blackjack, casino poker, craps, and baccarat. Some online casinos also offer huge selections of video poker games along with bingo, scratchcards, and keno games. Game offerings vary from casino to casino and depend greatly on the online casino’s software provider.

Can I play games for free at real money online casinos?

Yes, you can. Licensed online casinos offer their games in the free or demo mode. Some of them allow you to play for free without having to register an account.

How many states in the US permit gambling?

All except two US states have legalized some form of gambling or the two. Only Utah and Hawaii have banned gambling completely although they permit residents to play for fun.

Why shouldn't I play at an unlicensed online casino?

As far as possible, play at an online casino licensed in your state. Players are fully protected by their state’s regulatory body when they play at state-licensed casinos.

Unlicensed casinos do not come under your state’s jurisdiction. No law enforcement body can come to your rescue if you get cheated at the casino.

Which US states have legalized online casinos?

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, and Delaware are some of the US states that have legalized online casinos.