States Where Sports Betting is Legal

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Contributor, Benzinga
September 13, 2021

Sports betting is changing how people look at wagering on some of the most popular sporting events. These transformations began in 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Act. The decision gives states the ability to decide if they will allow sports betting and to what extent. The result is more states with sports betting, with the creation of leagues sponsored by professional sports leagues and/or large corporations. No two states are the same, and most have specific standards you must follow. Let’s find out how state-legislated sports betting is taking place.  

Many states don’t offer sports betting and are not moving closer to doing it. These states include Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas and Vermont. In all of these states, not only is no legislation proposed, lawmakers and residents voice strong resistance to it. These states are unlikely to approve sports betting in the future. 

Who’s Getting Close to Legalizing Sports Betting?

Several states are moving closer to legal sports betting through legislation allowing it in select areas or everywhere. Some states are making efforts to have sports betting at Native American casinos through state-sponsored programs or corporations. These include California, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

  • In California, sports betting can become legal at Native American casinos in 2023. The state and tribes are finalizing ballot initiatives to allow it in these areas.
  • Connecticut approved sports betting in the state House. The hope is for a rollout by the fall of 2021.
  • In Florida, the Seminole Tribe and state officials made a deal that will allow casinos to become sportsbooks. However, an amendment in Florida’s constitution prevents legislators from legalizing sports betting without a voter referendum. It is slowing down legalization.
  • Kansas sports betting was approved in early 2020 but has stalled since that time.
  • Kentucky tried to establish sports betting, but the Republican-led legislature killed it.
  • Maine passed sports betting through the legislature, but the Governor vetoed it. Legislators are discussing a new bill to legalize sports betting.
  • Massachusetts has 34 different sport betting bills pending in the legislature. It missed the deadline for inclusion in the state’s budget, but the Governor and leading politicians on both sides of the aisle support it.
  • Minnesota has tried to legalize sports betting, but conflicts about revenues, authority and the role of Native American casinos have stalled progress.
  • Missouri introduced sports betting in the state House, but it did not advance in the Senate.
  • Oklahoma initially agreed to sports betting in 2020 with Native American tribes. The legislation was invalidated by conflicts between the tribes and local/state governments.
  • Ohio is making slow progress toward legal sports betting. The current bill will allow retail and mobile betting at horse racing tracks.
  • South Dakota approved sports betting in November 2020. The state’s constitution allows betting inside the town of Deadwood and in tribal areas. The issue holding everything back is online betting, with only retail betting approved in these areas. Mobile betting has the possibility of being approved if the servers are in tribal lands or Deadwood. Negotiations are continuing on this point.
  • Wisconsin could make sports betting legal at some point through the Native American tribes allowing it at their casinos. Negotiations are continuing with no progress to legalize it yet. 

Which States Are Ready to Go?

Several states that approved legal sports betting and are getting ready for it include Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Washington and Wyoming.

  • Arizona passed a bill legalizing sports betting last month. Regulators need to finalize the details, but it looks like it will happen this year.
  • Louisiana took a different approach, with 55 parishes out of 64 approving sports betting. These areas include major cities such as Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Lafayette and surrounding areas. The challenge is that lawmakers need to decide on the regulatory structure and if online betting is allowed. It is expected to become legal this year, but the process is complicated.
  • Maryland approved sports betting in November 2020. Lawmakers agreed to 30 retail and 60 online vendors. Regulators are working on licensing standards, rules and operational logistics for online betting. It is expected that legal bets will begin this fall at approved operators.
  • Michigan started retail betting in March 2020 at the MGM Grand in Detroit. Mobile sports betting is currently active. The laws encourage multiple operators in a competitive marketplace. It could become one of the largest states for sports betting in the country.
  • Nebraska passed a constitutional amendment legalizing sports betting in November 2020. It opens the door for the creation of regulations for the industry.
  • Washington approved sports betting on March 25, 2020. The state is negotiating with Native American tribes to create the terms and conditions for it on tribal lands. Last month, the first deals were announced, with a projected start date of this fall. Mobile sports betting can only take place inside the casinos. It does not appear to be statewide at any time in the future.
  • Wyoming lawmakers approved online legal sports betting without retail sportsbooks. The Northern Arapaho Tribe and state operators are ready to start including it. It looks like sports betting can begin sometime this year at these online and tribal sportsbooks. 

Sports Betting is legal in several states to include Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia.

  • Arkansas allows legal sports betting at the Saracen Casino and Oaklawn Racing Casino. Online betting is prohibited in Arkansas. Last year, legislators took  measures to expand the number of retail sportsbooks and allow mobile betting. Both initiatives did not make it onto the ballot. Mobile betting and the expansion of retail operations remain elusive in Arkansas.
  • Colorado approved and allowed sports betting beginning in 2020. The industry is growing fast, and it is one of the strongest markets for BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, PointsBet and FanDuel. Last September, it became one of 5 states to record $200 million in monthly bets. It is one of the best states for operators, and 24 new sportsbooks are expanding into Colorado.
  • Delaware became one of the first states to legalize retail sports betting. It uses a lottery-style system through 3 sportsbooks. Online sports betting is banned, and there are no efforts to legalize it anytime soon.
  • Illinois started legal sports betting in March 2020. The rollout is slow, with participants registering at a sportsbook before placing a transaction in person or online. Bettors also complain about the high fees and taxes. The registration requirements will end next year, and their elimination will probably lead to more participation.
  • Indiana began legal sports betting in 2019. It allows in-person and online betting. During last year’s football season, it brought in over $200 million in monthly bets. Large corporations are actively involved to include DraftKings and FanDuel. Dozens more are expected to start operations in Indiana to take advantage of these lucrative trends.
  • Iowa rolled out sports betting in August 2019. The registration requirement for mobile and in-person betting is expected to end this year and will increase the size of the market. Iowa has the lowest licensing fees in the country, and it is considered to be an attractive market.
  • Mississippi has had retail sports betting since 2018. The state allows mobile betting, but bets must be placed inside the casino.
  • Montana has offered in-person and online sports betting since March 2020 through a government monopoly.
  • Nevada allows retail and online betting. Mobile betting requires coming to the casino and registering before you begin. These restrictions are hurting the sports betting market.
  • New Hampshire rolled out sports betting in December 2019. It offers retail and mobile betting through DraftKings. Other providers are planning on opening new locations in the future.
  • New Jersey is the largest state for sports betting in the country. It offers retail and online betting through sportsbooks at the Meadowlands and Atlantic City. Online betting is growing 80% during the pandemic, and it is expected to increase into the future.
  • New Mexico allows in-person retail sports betting at Native American casinos. They are limited to these locations, and there is no legislative action on expanding.
  • New York has in-person sports betting but no online options. It is offered at select Native American casinos and some upstate locations. In April, a new law allows online sports betting run by the state starting in 2022. The proposal limits competition for different sportsbooks to include FanDuel and DraftKings.
  • North Carolina rolled out retail sports betting at two Native American casinos in March 2021. Online betting is not approved, but the state is looking into authorizing it by the end of this year.
  • Oregon has retail sports betting at tribal casinos and online betting through a state-run lottery application since 2019. The state app does not accept bets on college sports, leaving it to the few Native American casinos.
  • Pennsylvania offers retail and online sports betting. It is the third-largest sports betting state in the country and brought in $500 million in monthly bets during last year’s football season.
  • Rhode Island allows retail and online sports betting at two casinos. The market is small, with bettors going to other states.
  • Tennessee has mobile betting with no retail sportsbooks. Growth is limited with the state placing more restrictions on bets and levying high taxes.
  • Virginia offers online and retail legal sports betting starting in January 2021 with limits on the number of sportsbooks. Several large brands are entering the market to include DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRiver and BetMGM.
  • Washington D.C. is not a state, but the rollout of retail sports betting is having limited success. In July 2020, William Hill began operating from the box offices inside the Capital One Arena. Mobile betting is restricted to this location exclusively. Beyond this, online betting is run on Washington’s mobile app called GameBet. There are no competitors, and the spreads are worse than many other areas.
  • West Virginia offers mobile sports betting through several companies to include FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill and BetMGM. 

Does Sports Betting Require Skill?

Sports betting is based on luck, persistence, research and knowledge. You need to know what to do and be patient. Don’t spread out your bets, and bet only what you can afford to lose.  

Benzinga’s Best Online Sportsbooks

There are many online sportsbooks you can use and several states with sports betting. Do your research before betting, and remember that it’s easier to approach sports bets if you’ve thought they through and set aside funds just as you would for an investment.

Some states have legalized sports betting, others are moving closer and some have bans on it. Depending on where you live, legality will vary, as no two states are the same. Some states restrict their sports betting operations to state-authorized sportsbooks.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is sports betting legal in the U.S.?


Sports betting is legal in select areas to include Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia.


Is Bet365 legal in the U.S.A?


Bet365 is legal in New Jersey. It has been approved in Colorado and New York but has not been rolled out. 

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