Legal sports betting
in the USA is becoming increasingly widespread after the Supreme Court lifted the federal ban in 2018. It allows individual states the freedom to legalize sports betting, if they choose. Some have gone a head, some are in the process of doing so, while others are highly unlikely to ever make that move.
So, where is online sports betting legal in the USA?
States that allow legal sports betting in the USA
Nevada has paved the way sports betting, by being the very first to legalize sports betting. With the mature market in Nevada, many casinos offer their own mobile app for users to enjoy legal sports betting in the USA
On June 5 2018, Delaware moved to offer single-game betting on many different sports at three casinos in the state. Online and mobile bets are currently not available in Delaware.
On June 14 2018, the first sports bets were placed. With the success of the bill signed and sports bets placed, online and mobile sportsbooks went live in July.
First bets were placed on August 1st 2018, as Mississippi opened its doors to sports betting. Mississippi enacted a new law in 2017 that allowed for sports betting pending a favourable decision by the Supreme Court. Bills were introduced within the Mississippi legislature last year to add mobile betting, but at the current moment, regulations require all bets to take place in person within the casinos.
West Virginia opened it’s doors on the 30th August 2019, to become the fifth state to offer legal and regulated sports betting. Both on-site, online and mobile sports bets are permitted under the law.
The first legal sports bets were placed in Santa Ana Star Casino, New Mexico on October 2018. New Mexico has not passed any new sports betting legislation since the Supreme Court’s decision. Published reports indicate that bets are not permitted on games involving the University of New Mexico or New Mexico State University. Online and mobile bets are currently not available in New Mexico.
Pennsylvania is one of the fastest-growing legal sports betting markets in the United States. Since the first-ever bet placed on November 2018, the launch of legal sports betting in Pennsylvania has grown. Online sportsbooks and mobile betting are legalized in Pennsylvania.
Rhode Island included a section in the state budget to allow sports betting. Five months later, the doors were open and legal sports betting commenced on November 2018. Early 2019, the law was tweaked to provide for mobile sports betting.
On July 2019, the first legal sports bets were booked in Arkansas. As the popularity of betting grows, a small number of retail locations are set to open in the coming months. Online mobile bets are currently not permitted.
The first legal sports bets were placed in New York in July 2019. Legal sports betting in New York dates back to 2013, where the state passed a law to allow sports betting at four on-site locations. With this dormant bill, the recent changes have allowed sports betting brought back-to-life within New York. The current law does not allow for mobile wagers. A broader bill to permit online sports wagering stalled in mid-2019. New York’s long-running issue with fantasy sports continues to grow, but hopefully will be resolved eventually.
Legal sports betting began in Iowa in August, 2019. Mobile sports betting is permitted, alongside college sports. But certain kinds of in-game prop bets involving college games are banned.
Oregon with a few other member states already had laws in place before the federal ban lift on a collection of a few sports. Oregon introduced mobile sports betting in mid-October 2019. With the state-run lottery overseeing the launch of a new website and app.
Legal sports betting opened up within Indiana in September 2019. Indiana’s new law allows for mobile bets, with wagering on both college and pro sports permitted. However, betting on esports and high school sports is banned.
Although an unlucky bet, the first legal sports wager was placed on December 2019 by the Governor, Chris Sununo. In a ceremonial case, the bet was placed on an NFL match. The Miami Dolphins went on to win against the New England Patriots that day, but it marked the first day of betting for many. Mobile sports betting is permitted on a wide variety of sports, although no betting on New Hampshire’s colleges is allowed.
Legal sports betting arrived in Illinois in March 2020. After the passing of a broad gaming bill less than a year ago, it has allowed for both online and in-person sports betting. Under the legislature, betting is not allowed on a minor league sports event or any game involving an Illinois collegiate team.
After the ‘Lawful Sports Betting Act’ came into effect, legal sports betting in Michigan started in March, 2020. On the same day, the introduction of Detroit-area casinos was launched.
Mobile sports betting is permitted under law but is not expected to be available until 2021 within the sate.
Governor SteveBullock signed a 28-page bill in March 2020, as Montana made their mark to legalize sports betting. Mobile betting in Montana is limited to on-site, with some restrictions.
May 2020 marked the launch of legal sports betting in Colorado, with multiple operators allowing residents to open online accounts and place wagers on sports.
In motion for legalization
The ‘Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act’ of 2018 became effective as of May 2019, which so no objections from Congress. The bill legalizes sports betting in the nation’s capital, with the district authorized to adopt rules and regulations. As of May this year there has not been any announcement as to when the first legal sports bet would happen.
The ‘Tennessee Sports Gaming Act’ became law in May 2019, authorizing permits statewide for mobile sports betting. It came into effect as of July this year. All bettors in Tennessee must be at least 21 years old to place sports bets.
North Carolina signed a bill in July 2019 to allow sports and horse racing bets on tribal lands. The new law permits betting on both college and professional sports, but only allows bets placed in person. The state is currently considering a bill that would permit statewide sports betting.
Washington signed a sports betting bill to take effect into law on March 2020. The new bill would permit sports betting at Class III tribal casinos in the state. Mobile sports betting is not currently allowed.
Virginia legalized sports betting in the Commonwealth of Virginia on April 2020. The new law will take effect as of July this year, which will permit online betting. Wagering on Virginia-based college sports or certain youth sports is not permitted.
As of June 8th 2020, the ‘Department of the Interior’ had approved the agreement of the federally-recognized tribes to legalize sports betting. This paves the way for sports betting to become legal in Oklahoma as soon as the agreed bill is stated in the federal register.
Moving toward legalization
Lawmakers in Maine passed “An Act to Ensure Proper Oversight of Sports Betting in the State” in 2019. Shortly thereafter, the governor vetoed the bill. The legislature could revive the bill with a special session or re-introduction next year.
Connecticut saw comprehensive sports betting bill introduced during the first part of 2018, which ended without a formal vote. At the start of 2019, a new bill focused on “authorizing sports wagering” was introduced.
Two additional bills were introduced during January 2019, which was progress from the marked-up page bill that empowered the Kentuck’s racing commission from 2017. The bill would allow betting on pro and college sports, but not high school or other minor amateur sports.
Massachusetts was one of the first jurisdictions to address the legality of fantasy sports and could, in theory, move quickly on the sports betting front too. In January 2019, several sports betting legalization bills were introduced.
Maryland has drafted legislation for the allocation of a sports gaming license and the ability to accept bets on sporting events. Only on the condition of the better being 21 years of age and above. The proposed Maryland legislation did not move forward in the 2018 legislative session.
In April 2018 a draft sport betting bill was circulated in the Minnesota legislature. The bill also included a section to enable mobile betting. At the current state, there hasn’t been any movement on the bill since the court adjourned in May.
Missouri introduced a bill back in 2019 which would see licensed riverboat casinos and fantasy gamebookers expand their offering to have traditional sports betting. Before the Supreme’s ban being lifted, Missouri had their own legislative hearings but it did not pass the committee stage. In January 2019 a number of new sports betting bills were introduced, which we wait to hear more on.
A proposed law relating to sports gambling was introduced in January 2018. It looked to expand the current lottery to sports betting, which includes competitive games of which amateur or professional athletes participate. The hearings took no further action but since then have decided to start another bill in January 2019.
Louisiana introduced a house bill back in 2018 to authorize games and sports betting at eligible live horse racing facilities. The new legislation would only have allowed sports betting at a small number of land-based casinos already operating in the state. The Louisiana bill did not move forward during the state’s house session.
There are no legal online sportsbooks for South Carolinians to use. Due to the controversial hearing of fantasy games in New York, South
Carolina’s action has meant no gambling on any level of sports. Their current definition of gambling includes betting money on the outcome of any ‘game,’ regardless of the skill involved. A new bill has been introduced at the start of 2019 to include sports betting.
Although there are casinos in California, they are not permitted to take sports bets. California has a pending voter referendum that could legalize sports betting within the state. The bill would extend its offering to have both retail and mobile sports betting.
Ohio State has expressed the intent to develop legislation of the General Assembly to legalize sports betting. The one-page bill lacks specifics but acts as a placeholder for Ohio to consider full-scale legislation in the future.
Currently, North Dakota residents can legally participate in betting on daily fantasy sports, but not any amateur or professional sports. The introduction of the House Bill in January 2019 would authorize sports betting within the state.
Although a bill in early 2019 saw it being shot down by the state, since 2020 two bills have a chance to bring legal sports betting to Arizona. The bill is still sitting in the house which would see sports betting being pushed through and legalized within the state to sportsbooks and casinos.
Hawaii is one of two states, which creates an interesting dilemma. One of the two states is Utah, that strictly prohibits gambling. Back in January 2019, the state of Hawaii has pressed on to introduce House Bill No. 1107. The proposed bill would create a sports wagering corporation for regulatory purposes, that would further lead to licenses and the possibility of sports wagers.
South Dakota has many land-based casinos and is not against betting, but there is no current option for wagers for any sports or online bets. Sports betting will be on the November 2020 ballot, which if actioned would permit for sports wagers.
Texas introduced a bill in February 2019 that would see the regulation of sports betting and hand out permits to operators.
Similar to the other states in motion to passing bills, Georgia introduced a bill in early 2019 to legalize sports betting on professional and college sports. No more than 10 sports betting permits are allowed under the draft legislation.
Vermont introduced a bill in February 2019 that proposes to legalize sports betting. The bill would see mobile betting is permitted, but licensed operators must ensure that all bettors are physically located within the state.
Certain types of betting would be banned under the bill, including betting on any high school sports, esports, college games and Vermont-based universities.
A bill was introduced in early April 2019, that would see Alabama permit wagering on certain professional and athletic sports.
Florida has witnessed much progress to the introduction of legalizing sports betting within the state. The bills will be considered during the 2020 legislative session with a potential effective date of October of this year. Betting would be restricted to those 21 years of age or older.
Currently, no sports betting is legal in the state of Alaska but fantasy sports betting is still permitted. With a passionate sports society, you can see why people would push through new legislation. In 2020, Alaska considered legislation that would legalize sports betting under the state lottery. The bill would include sports betting as one of several types of wagering.
Wyoming recently saw a bill defeated in early 2020, to pass through a bill to legalize sports betting. Defeated by a few votes in the house, 27-32, we could see the draft bill being introduced later in the year.
Under the current law, Nebraska sees any game of chance as illegal. But the introduction of a new bill in 2020 has defined sports betting as a game of skill. It suggests that betting on sporting events takes skill which would make it legal.
No current legalization activity
Idaho and Wisconsin
All states in this category have laws that prohibit full-blown sports betting. Such laws would need to be repealed or amended before full-scale sports wagering would be permitted. These states do not have any publicly announced bills devoted to sports betting legalization.
Unlikely to legalize
All betting within the state of Utah is illegal. The state’s anti-gambling stance is written into their constitution. Any change to existing state policy or laws towards gambling would be a massive change in their legislation and the general attitude they currently have.