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In short, there are two sets of laws we must address in any discussion of sports betting or gambling. First, there are federal betting laws that apply to all states across the nation. These are the big picture laws that have an impact across all fifty states. Federal laws set the general tone for gambling, but tend not to be too specific in nature. Some states were granted exemptions for limited forms of betting, but overall it was PASPA that granted Nevada a virtual monopoly over sports betting.
The Wire Act : The Interstate Wire Act of was enacted to target mafia groups that ran sports betting organizations across state lines. State betting laws impact things on the state level and cover everything not already covered by federal gambling laws. State laws tend to be more specific in nature as they fill in the gaps left by federal law. This is why, for example, when PASPA a federal law was in effect, states had no option to legalize and regulate sports betting.
Some states have since chosen to legalize, regulate, and tax sports betting. In other states, sports betting is still prohibited by state law. State laws also tend to deal with the nitty gritty details of gambling regulation. This is where state gambling commissions come into play and spell out all the rules for legal forms of gambling within each state. It is state law that determines things such as accepted business hours for casinos, how quickly winning sports wagers must be paid and so on.
This all goes to explain why we have a page dedicated to the betting laws of every US state. The laws and legal forms of gambling vary from state to state. Overall, the general tone in the United States today is drifting to a more accepting view of gambling. No states have moved to clamp down on gambling to any major degree in recent years, but many states have instead chosen to expand legal gambling options for their citizens.
As new developments take place in the US, we will update our state-by-state pages to keep you informed and up to date. Understanding Sports Betting Sports betting is a type of gambling that revolves around predicting and wagering on the outcome of competitive physical activities. The term sports betting can encompass athletic competitions, such as basketball or American football, non-athletic events i. There are several different types of sports bets, with some of the most common being spread bets, prop bets, totals, and moneyline bets.
Spread bets are wagers that a team will either win by or should they lose cover a specific number of points. Prop bets refers to wagers on specific events i. With moneyline bets, the amount won is based on the likelihood a particular team will win or lose i. Of these four, prop betting is unique, in that there are five states where this is the only permitted bet type. Sports betting activities are typically facilitated by sportsbooks , which are companies or individuals that accept bets.
A sportsbook is functionally the same thing as a bookmaker , though the latter term is typically used solely in reference to an individual person. Physical sportsbooks may be found in professional sports venues, casinos, racinos combination race track and casino , etc.
If a sportbook offers betting on races but is located outside a racetrack, this is known as off-track betting OTB. Previously, sportsbooks in the U. Following a Supreme Court decision, many states have introduced new legislation to legalize both sportsbooks and, by extension, sports betting itself. Sportsbooks make money by setting their odds so that they will generate a profit in the long term.
As is the case with any form of gambling, the house always has the advantage, and there is always a negative expected return for the gambler. Of this number, the majority 30 states and Washington, D. The remaining seven states—Alaska, California, Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Oklahoma—have either pre-filed or introduced bills in the state legislature to legalize single-game sports betting or scheduled voter referendums about the issue.
Even in states where sports betting is both legal and available, there may still be limitations. For instance, our research found that in North Carolina, New Mexico, North Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin, only tribal casino operators are permitted to offer sports betting. As such, even though sports betting is considered legal and there is an operational market, no online sportsbooks are currently available within these states.
Other restrictions can include bets being limited to in-state collegiate teams or specific events. Age requirements also vary, with some states requiring gamblers to be at least 18 years old, while others have a higher minimum age of 21 years old.
Delaware launched legal sports betting in less than a month after the Supreme Court's decision. Online sports betting is legal, although there are no in-state online sportsbooks. All betting on in-state collegiate teams is prohibited. Florida: It's complicated. Sports betting was temporarily approved and legal, but now it is awaiting another launch due to legal issues. Just three weeks after legal online sports betting launched, a judge ruled that an agreement between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe was illegal and the issue has been tied up in Federal court ever since.
Even though the Department of the Interior and the Seminole Tribe filed briefs in August to reinstate a new compact, discussions on the matter may not start until summer Georgia: Not legal. Efforts to get a motion passed in failed. There is optimism a new motion will be brought up in that will legalize Georgia sports betting. Hawaii: Not legal. A bill was proposed in January of that would've allowed for the regulation of sports gambling through a newly-established corporation, but the bill was denied.
Idaho: Not legal. No legislation proposed. Illinois: Legal. Legislation was passed in June to allow sports gambling, though in-state collegiate games will be off-limits under the new law. It will make gambling lawful in a variety of locations both in-person including at Wrigley Field and online. Bets were allowed in the state as of March 9, Bets on collegiate games can only be placed in person, not online. Betting on in-state collegiate game outcomes is allowed, but player prop bets are prohibited.
Indiana: Legal. Wagering on pro and college sports became legal in September of with both mobile and in-person betting permitted at multiple locations. Betting on collegiate game outcomes is allowed, but player prop bets in collegiate games are prohibited. Iowa: Legal. Iowa legalized sports gambling in , with multiple sites beginning to take bets at the end of that summer.
State law allows for betting on both pro and college sports. Betting on in-state collegiate game outcomes is allowed, but player prop bets in collegiate games are prohibited. Kansas: Legal. Legal online sports betting launched in Kansas on July 1, Kentucky: Not legal, but legislation proposed. Efforts to get motion passed in failed. There is no word yet as to whether there are plans to propose a new plan to legalize Kentucky sports betting in Louisiana: Legal.
Retail sports betting launched in October in many parishes. Mobile sports betting launched in January Maine: Not legal, but legislation proposed. Legislation to legalize online sports betting passed in May , but a launch date has not been set yet. Maryland: Legal Following results of the election, Maryland approved sports betting.
In December , Baltimore-area casinos began allowing in-person sports betting. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and Live! Casino and Hotel Maryland were among the casinos to have sportsbooks open on their grounds. Massachusetts: Legal, but has not launched yet. Legislation to legalize Massachusetts sports betting passed in August , but is not expected to fully launch until early Betting on in-state collegiate sports, both game outcomes and player props, will be prohibited.
Betting on the outcome of an in-state college game will only be allowed if that team is playing in a tournament comprising four or more teams. Michigan: Legal. Gretchen Whitmer signed bills in late that allow for both sports betting and online gaming in the state. Casinos in the state started taking wagers in March of Minnesota: Not legal. Legislation to legalize Minnesota sports betting passed in August , but a launch date has not been set yet. Mississippi: Legal. The first sports bets in Mississippi were placed on August 1, The state enacted a law in that allowed for sports betting.
Missouri: Not legal, but legislation proposed. Missouri had several sports betting bills introduced in recent years but the state hasn't taken action on them yet. They have been stalled at the state legislature level. Montana: Legal. Legal sports betting arrived in the state as of March Sportsbooks are regulated through the state lottery. The lottery director can decide which sports can be bet on and what kinds of wagers can be placed. Nebraska: Legal. Governor Pete Ricketts legalized sports betting and put it into law on May 25, , although there is only in-person betting.
All betting on in-state collegiate games and events, including player prop bets, is prohibited. Nevada: Legal. New Hampshire: Legal. New Hampshire joined the list of states with legalized sports betting on the second day of The state agreed to a six-year contract with DraftKings, so mobile sportsbooks can be utilized throughout the state. New Jersey: Legal. New Jersey long advocated for legalized sports gambling and was responsible for the case that led to the federal reversal from the Supreme Court.
As such, they wasted no time in legalizing sports gambling after the decision, opening the state's first sportsbooks on June 14, Atlantic City and the MetLife Stadium, among other locations, now offer legalized sports wagering. New Mexico: Legal Under the current state laws, sports betting isn't explicitly prohibited, nor is it a prohibited Class III game in the gaming compacts shared between tribes and the state.
This has allowed the Pueblo of Santa Ana tribe to open their own not-outright-legal-but-also-not-technically-illegal sportsbook at its in-state casino. New York passed a bill in that made sports gambling legal at the state level, but the state didn't open its first official sportsbook until July Mobile sports betting launched on January 8, , and there are now nine live online sportsbooks in the Empire State.
However, all betting on in-state collegiate games and events, including player prop bets, is prohibited. North Carolina: Legal. Initially, sports betting had been limited to just three brick-and-mortar casinos, but the state legislature pushed sweeping measures for more robust legalization in spring These laws authorized up to eight online sportsbooks to operate within the state. Colorado Colorado was one of the first states to implement an online and retail regulated sports betting industry in May The Centennial State has always been viewed by evaluators as a state that is ripe for the industry given the presence of multiple big-name universities and well-known sports franchises like the Denver Broncos and Denver Nuggets.
Connecticut Connecticut has quietly become a prime location for sports wagering expansion in recent years due largely to tribal gaming ambitions and multiple major free-standing casinos, like Foxwoods. Sports betting has been legal in the state since October With major franchises like the Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks, many residents were eager to begin placing legal sports bets within state lines. Sports betting was legalized in March , and the state has since become a top-five sports betting market.
As of this writing, Indiana has taken the fifth-most amount of bets in the U. There are currently 13 sportsbooks operating in Indiana. The state has been live for online wagering since October , just five months after the first bill was passed by the Indiana legislature. Iowa Iowa, home to more than 20 casinos, was among the first states to adopt legislation to enable regulated online sports betting in August It has since become one of the top-five states in per capita handle.
The handle is the amount wagered by sports bettors before any winnings are paid. Louisiana Louisiana is another state that is largely considered to be prime real estate for an expansion of mobile sports wagering. With the presence of the New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans, and many big-name sports colleges, there is a lot for residents to be excited about.
In-person betting in Louisiana launched in October and online sportsbooks began operating in January Louisiana has high hopes for expansion with the path paved for over 40 mobile wagering retailers to join. Michigan Over the past few years, Michigan has moved to implement full-scale online gambling regulation. In-person wagering was launched in March , with online sportsbooks launching in January Thanks to the presence of major sports teams like the Detroit Pistons, Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers, Michigan has the formula for a steady foundation.
The Wolverine State is also home to the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, which both have popular football programs. Nevada Nevada is regarded as the gambling capital of the United States, and this has directly extended out to sports betting. The Silver State has had sports betting for decades. While other states have a simple process to begin wagering via mobile, Nevada requires in-person registration at a casino to get started.
This has deterred some bettors from getting in on the action, and some in the industry have pushed for a regulatory change. New Hampshire New Hampshire only has one operator for mobile betting in the state in the form of DraftKings. The state permitted mobile betting in December This is not surprising given the regulatory restrictions in Nevada and the longstanding presence of Atlantic City in New Jersey. There are currently 21 mobile wagering options for residents.
New York New York is one of the most recent states to legalize and regulate sports betting, with operators launching within the state in January Ohio The state legislature approved sports betting in the Buckeye State in , allowing the doors to open for regulated sports wagering on Jan. Ohio lagged behind others, but the state eventually passed an online sports betting bill that will make it one of the largest markets. Oregon Oregon has had a tough time fully immersing itself into the sports betting industry since allowing operators in As of right now, DraftKings is the sole operator of mobile wagering in the state, and there is not much hope for future expansion.
Oregon does not allow in-state college betting. Pennsylvania The Pennsylvania market is massive with the presence of both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh sports franchises. The state initiated legislation regarding retail sports betting in the summer of and opened the doors for mobile wagering in Since then, it has become one of the highest-grossing state sports betting operations in the United States.
Rhode Island Rhode Island is home to the eighth smallest population of any state, which consequently limits the upside of long-term sports betting expansion. Retail sportsbooks have been servicing Rhode Island residents since Tennessee Tennessee is truly a unique situation when it comes to the U.
Tennessee sports wagering was legalized in Virginia Virginia launched its first wagering initiatives in January Virginia law sets a limit on a final total of 11 operators, so four more can join in eventually. West Virginia West Virginia is a sneaky hub for all forms of online gambling with the state making pushes to legalize and regulate both mobile sports wagering and online poker.
Despite its small population and lack of any pro sports teams, some of the most prominent operators work in the state including DraftKings and FanDuel. Wyoming The least populated state in the country has surprisingly worked to legalize sports betting over the past two years with the first mobile wagers placed in September In fact, Delaware was the second state in the U. Maryland As of summer , Maryland was in the midst of a legal limbo to allow mobile operators in the state despite residents voting to approve online wagering in November Retail sportsbooks have been operating since December , but the stalling of mobile operators from entering the scene will pose more challenges for the market.
Maryland has the potential to be a lucrative market with the law allowing for up to 60 online sportsbooks and as many as 30 brick-and-mortar betting locations. Mississippi Mississippi has a surprisingly strong sports betting scene active within its borders, but this will always be limited as long as mobile wagering is barred.
The first retail sportsbooks began operating in August There is one loophole for online sports betting that can possibly be exploited in the future. People in the state can place mobile bets while physically inside casino locations. Mississippi is unlikely to fully implement mobile wagering in the near future.
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