Ben Edwards

Ben Edwards

Posted on 30 June 2021

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 - 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 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 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Published on: 2021/06/30