Where can I bet on sport? That's a question we always get asked, and with good reason. It can be challenging to wrap your head around, given that betting is state-based and there are places you can make wagers and places you can't.
With this in mind, we've done the hard work for you and summed up which locations are prime for legalized betting and which states are simply a no-go in this handy tracker. Not only that, but we'll take you through the history of US sports betting laws and highlight which states are on the cusp of regulatory change.
This history class is about to get technical, so stick with us here. US sports betting exploded in 2018 after the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). This federal law had previously prevented states from invoking their Tenth Amendment rights. But what exactly does that mean? In simple terms, the Tenth Amendment gives states the power to enact specific laws that trump federal mandates.
PASPA was a federal law that banned sports betting in all US states except for Nevada. It also allowed Oregon, Delaware, and Montana to offer sports lotteries. This meant that sports betting (except horse racing, a different topic altogether) was illegal in 46 states. That was, however, until certain conditions fought back. Most notable in its contempt for PASPA was New Jersey (everything is legal in New Jersey... as a certain famous musical says).
Garden State senator Raymond Lesniak first challenged PASPA in 2009. He argued that allowing four states to offer sports betting while stopping 46 others from doing the same was discriminatory and unconstitutional. The case was dismissed because only New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could file such a case. Christie took up the challenge after the state voted in favor of local sports betting laws in 2010.
By 2012, New Jersey had legalized online sports betting. Still, it wasn't allowed to offer any services to customers because of PASPA. Christie continued the fight, and, eventually, in 2018, his successor, Philip Murphy, turned the tide. The Supreme Court heard Murphy vs. National Collegiate Athletic Association and ruled in favor of the former. This ruling struck down PASPA, which meant any state in the US could offer sports betting if local laws were passed.
The verdict was a seminal moment for sports fans in the US and, moreover, the US gambling industry. Since 2011, when the Department of Justice issued a formal opinion on the Wire Act, online poker and casino gaming have been classed as state issues. Before that, it was assumed that "wire communications" were illegal; therefore, online casino gaming and poker were illegal. But, the DOJ declared that the Wire Act only applied to sports betting and only communications sent across state lines.
This gave rise to online poker and casino sites in various US states. Then, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling on PASPA, sports betting was legalized because it's within state lines.
So now, we're in a position where online poker, casino gaming, and sports betting are legal in the US state-by-state. The question is, which states? Here's where our handy sports betting tracker comes into play. The list below is constantly being updated, so you'll always know which US states offer legal sports betting and which are considering it.
Before you take you through the states offering legalized sports betting, it's important to note that everything is localized. In other words, there are no federal laws focused on betting. Therefore, everything is done on a state level. That's why some places have sportsbooks, and some don't. Because of this, each state has its own unique laws. By and large, all US states offer similar betting conditions. However, there are some subtle differences.
The simple way to put it is that you must be within a state and old enough to place a bet. The minimum age is 21, and every licensed sportsbook will use geolocation software to determine you're within state lines. If you're not, you won't be able to bet. Naturally, if you're placing a bet in-person, they'll know you're in the right place. Assuming you meet the entry conditions, you can bet on football, basketball, baseball, and more in the following states. There's a good reason that many of these operators offer mobile apps, especially if you fancy a quick trip across state lines to place a bet...
These four states were exempt from PASPA and have offered sports betting for years. However, their local laws have also been given a makeover to ensure the services permitted match those available elsewhere in the US.
This is the original epicenter of sports betting in the US and remains so today.
Having previously been limited to parimutuel betting, Delaware moved to full single-game betting in 2018. The notable exception here is the ban on bets involving in-state college teams.
It took until 2019 for lawmakers to update existing laws and permit full sports betting in Oregon. Mobile betting was quickly made available alongside retail outlets. Betting is unrestricted at Chinook Winds Casino Resort. Still, sportsbooks operated by the Lottery are subject to a ban on in-state college games.
It might have taken until 2020, but Governor Steve Bullock did sign a Montana sports betting bill into law. There are no Notable Betting Restrictions in this state.
Sadly, the wave of legalized sports betting in America doesn't always move as fast as some would like. Although more than 50% of the US now offers sports betting in one form or another, there are still plenty of lawmakers weighing up the merits of regulation.
The good news, however, is that almost all states yet to offer legal sportsbooks are either close to enacting new laws or actively discussing them. This is why keeping an eye on our legalization tracker is essential. We update it each time a new state passes a law that allows locals to bet on sports. For now, the places below are yet to offer sports betting:
Type of Betting Offered: Retail (in-person) and online.
Notable Restrictions: None