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Where is online sports betting legal in the USA?

In recent years, there has been a rise in sports betting across the USA thanks to a 2018 Supreme Court judgment that opened the floodgates for state-by-state legalization. Since the federal ban has been lifted, approximately 30 states have legalized sports betting with 21 of those allowing online betting.

The first to go live was the state of New Jersey with most Atlantic City casinos launching temporary sportsbooks. This was only to be expected as NJ was the state that spearheaded the campaign to overturn PASPA. In August of 2018, DraftKings took the first online sports wager.

Which states offer online sports betting

The roadmap for states legalizing online sports betting is continuously changing with more states in the pipeline and expected to embrace the market in the near future. Here is the list of states currently offering a viable online sportsbook and mobile app:

  • Arizona
  • Louisiana
  • Oregon
  • Arkansas
  • Michigan
  • Pennsylvania
  • Colorado
  • Montana
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • Nevada
  • Tennessee
  • Illinois
  • New Hampshire
  • Virginia
  • Indiana
  • New Jersey
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Iowa
  • New York
  • West Virginia
  • Kansas
  • Ohio
  • Wyoming

Waiting in the wings are Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and Nebraska, which are legal but not live. Interestingly, Delaware has legalized online sports betting but has no plans to launch.

Where to place a sports bet

Wagers can be placed with a sportsbook online, through a mobile app or in-person at several establishments across the states. The recent boom in the US betting industry from states legalizing online betting has led to a huge spike in people accessing sports betting apps daily. The current situation is developing rapidly as more states scramble to pass laws and take advantage of the tax revenue associated with regulated sports betting.

What types of bets are available for online sports betting

The types of sports bets available may differ from one state to another but common wagers include money lines, parlays, totals, props, teasers, and futures. It’s worth noting that you will need to pay federal income tax on all winnings and may owe state taxes too. Sportsbooks are expected to withhold 24% of net winnings should the payout exceed $5,000.

What sports can you bet on online in the USA?

This may vary depending on which state you are in, but generally, for those states where sports betting is legal, you can wager on all professional sports and the vast majority of college sports with the exception of sports where competitors are under 18.

NFL is the most popular US sport for betting with the second most popular league being the NBA. Other sports available include MLB, college basketball and football, horse racing, tennis, golf, soccer, NHL, NAS, MMA, CFL, and CFB.

Which states are unlikely to legalize online sports betting?

Potentially, the only state to not legalize sports betting could be Utah. The Mormon population accounts for almost 90% of the state and with firm views against gambling, they hold the majority vote against the legalization of sports betting.

History of online sports betting in the USA

Online sports betting has a fairly short history as it only dates back to the introduction of the internet, however, it was key milestones in sports betting and gambling history which set the precedent for what was to follow:

1783 Lottery becomes legal – American settlers gained their independence from England and all official restrictions on the lottery and gambling were overturned

1860 Gambling and sports betting are banned – with the exception of horse racing

1867 Horse race betting is legalized

1910 Gambling and sports betting are banned

1919 The Black Sox scandal – Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were charged with intentionally losing the series to the Cincinnati Reds, they had taken bribes of $10,000 each.

1931 Gambling in Nevada legalized

1949 First sportsbook opens in Las Vegas

1951 10% tax levied on sportsbooks

1961 The Wire Act – making it illegal to use wire communications such as phones or telegrams to pass on sports betting information

1971 Tax reduced to 2%

1974 Tax on sportsbooks cancelled

1975 First sportsbook in a Vegas casino

1979 First casino on Native American reservation

1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) – making it illegal to bet on any professional or amateur sports with the exception of gambling in Nevada, jai alai, horse and dog racing

1996 First online sports bet – Jukka Honkavaara placed a $50 bet at the online Austrian sportsbook, Intertops

2006 Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) – making it illegal to accept payments on behalf of an illegal online casino or sportsbook operating in the US

2018 Murphy vs NCAA – US Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey, agreeing that each state has the authority to legalize sports betting within its own jurisdiction