What’s the current state of sports betting in the US?
Sports betting is a hot topic around the US. There are 17 states with legal sports gambling, and approaching two dozen that have some sort of sports wagering bill under consideration.
Here is a look at where things stand:
- Yellow states have passed legal sports betting bills, have not yet launched
- Green states have a legal, regulated sports betting industry
- Blue states are currently considering sports betting legislation
There was a federal ban on sports betting in the United States from 1992 to 2018 under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The 1992 law granted immunity to four states that had previously allowed sports betting inside their borders. Those states are Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana.
The state of New Jersey challenged the legality of PASPA. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in late 2017. On May 14, SCOTUS issued a decision reversing the ban, striking down PASPA in full by a vote of 6-3. Thanks to the decision, the following states (in addition to Nevada) now offer legal sports betting:
- Delaware – Launched June 5, 2018
- New Jersey – Launched June 14, 2018
- Mississippi – Launched Aug. 1, 2018
- West Virginia – Launched Aug. 30, 2018
- New Mexico – Launched Oct. 16, 2018
- Pennsylvania – Launched Nov. 16, 2018
- Rhode Island – Launched Nov. 26, 2018
- Arkansas – Launched July 1, 2019
- New York – Launched July 17, 2019
- Iowa – Launched Aug. 15, 2019
- Oregon – Launched Aug. 27, 2019
- Indiana – Launched Sept. 1, 2019
- New Hampshire – Launched Dec. 30, 2019
- Illinois – Launched March 9, 2020
- Montana – Launched March 9, 2020
- Michigan – Launched March 11, 2020
- Colorado – Launched May 1, 2020
- Washington, DC – Launched May 28, 2020
States that have passed sports betting legislation, but haven’t launched it yet:
Delaware was actually the first into the expanded market. The state used the existing sports betting law on its books, established single-game wagering regulations, and began taking bets on June 5, 2018.
New Mexico was an interesting case. Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel signed a deal with USBookmaking in early October to launch a sportsbook and started booking legal wagers on Oct. 16. Santa Ana is a tribal property. Mississippi was the first state to launch tribal sports betting, but it was done in tandem with a state law. In Santa Ana’s case, sports betting is still illegal elsewhere in the state, but the tribe can accept bets on its land.
The Pueblo of Santa Ana Gaming Regulatory Commission regulates the casino’s wagers.
Oregon went a similar route. While the Oregon Lottery launched its SBTech-powered Scoreboard betting app Oct. 16, the tribal-owned Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City opened the state’s first retail space. Chinook debuted its sports betting lounge Aug. 27, and several other tribal casinos have expressed interest in joining the party.
Where can you bet on sports?
Go through the states where you can legally bet, then check out our guide on how to begin sports betting. This will give you an easy, informational rundown of the basics.
Nevada allows wagering on a variety of approved sports at land-based sportsbooks. Plus, sports betting is authorized on the internet through casino game apps connected to those sportsbooks.
Delaware started taking single-game wagers in addition to its pre-existing parlay wagering on National Football League (NFL) games through the state lottery. With laws that supported the offering of single-game wagering, the state quickly assembled regulations. It started offering sports betting in 2019.
After New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law, Monmouth Park and Borgata Casino were the first two New Jersey properties to start taking wagers. The FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands launched a couple of weeks later. There are currently nine sportsbooks operational in the state with eight online and mobile apps.
In 2018, DraftKings Sportsbook launched its mobile betting app in New Jersey. It was the first time someone placed a legal US sports bet online outside of Nevada. DraftKings partnered with Resorts Casino for sports betting. The app launched without a brick and mortar sportsbook at Resorts.
Those wishing to bet on the DraftKings Sportsbook app need to be at least 21 years old and physically located within New Jersey. Resorts opened its on-property sportsbook in 2018 without any DraftKings branding.
In 2018, Borgata owner MGM Resorts launched a playMGM mobile app. Unlike DraftKings, the offering is mobile-only and cannot be accessed via a computer. SugarHouse Online Sportsbook & Casino was the first gaming operator in the US to launch an integrated online sportsbook and casino.
Apps have continued to stream into the market. The most recent to do so is Golden Nugget, which launched in 2019. The Nugget’s entry into the market brings the total number of NJ online sportsbooks up to thirteen.
NJ sports betting apps
Here are the sports betting apps in New Jersey where you can wager online in the state:
|Betstars||No||Yes||Part of PokerStars NJ||Combined casino/sportsbook|
|Golden Nugget||Yes||Yes||Yes||Combined casino/sportsbook|
Sports betting interest continues to grow in the US. Fans now have the option to choose from many sports betting apps and online sports betting operators, often with enticing promotions like free bets. Here are five of the top sports betting apps that we recommend:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- Betstars NJ
- Fanduel Sportsbook
- William Hill
And here are the land-based facilities that are allowed to offer sports betting:
|Borgata||Borgata Race & Sports Bar||Yes|
|Resorts||DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts||Yes|
|Ocean Resort||William Hill Sportsbook @ Ocean Resort||Yes|
|Monmouth Park||Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill||Yes|
|Hard Rock||Hard Rock Sportsbook||Yes|
|Golden Nugget||The Sportsbook||Yes|
|Bally’s||Wild Wild West Sportsbook||Yes|
|Tropicana||William Hill Sports Book at Tropicana Atlantic City||Yes|
The first land-based sportsbook opened in 2018, at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Rivers Casino, and SugarHouse Casino.
By the start of 2019, Parx Casino, South Philadelphia Turf Club and Harrah’s Philadelphia had all kicked off sports betting in staggered launches.
After the initial kick-off, more sportsbooks rolled out their betting operations.
|Casino||Sportsbook partner||Online Sportsbook|
|Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course||William Hill||Coming soon|
|Parx Casino and Racing||Kambi||Open|
|Harrah’s Philadelphia||Scientific Games||Coming soon|
|South Philadelphia Turf Club||Parx Casino||N/A|
|Oaks Race & Sportsbook||Parx Casino||N/A|
|Presque Isle Downs||BetAmerica||Coming soon|
|Mohegan Sun Pocono||Unibet||Coming soon|
|The Meadows||DraftKings||Coming soon|
|Mount Airy Casino Resort||Fox Bet||Open|
|Live! Hotel & Casino||N/A||2021|
Online sports betting began in 2019 with the soft launch of the SugarHouse Sportsbook PA app. Both the Parx and BetRivers apps followed, along with FanDuel Sportsbook. At this point, any one of the following operators could be the next to launch their site:
West Virginia was the fifth state to launch post-SCOTUS ruling, with Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races opening a retail sportsbook in 2018.
FanDuel Sportsbook (via The Greenbrier partnership) and Penn National then entered the fold, followed by Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort and its William Hill Sports Book.
Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos opened in 2018 and launched the first online sports betting app using the BetLucky Sportsbook brand. However, parent company Delaware North encountered a dispute with technology partner Miomni, and as a result, has indefinitely suspended operations at both casinos and the BetLucky app.
Online sports betting returned to West Virginia in 2019, as FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook hit the market. In 2020, BetMGM (partnered with The Greenbrier) launched to give West Virginia three betting apps.
|Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races||William Hill||DraftKings Sportsbook|
|The Greenbrier||FanDuel Sportsbook||FanDuel Sportsbook|
|Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort||William Hill||Coming soon|
On the same day that NJ went mobile, Mississippi went live with wagering at two MGM properties, the Beau Rivage and Gold Strike Tunica. Currently, more than two dozen commercial casinos in the Magnolia State are taking in-person wagers. The law there stipulates no mobile wagering off property though.
Mississippi is also the first state outside of Nevada to have a tribal casino with sports betting offerings. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians launched wagering at Pearl River Resort in 2018.
In 2018, DraftKings struck a deal to open a sportsbook inside the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville. The deal not only counts as DraftKings’ first physical sportsbook, it introduces DraftKings’ first sportsbook operation outside New Jersey. The new venue replaced PRL bar with multiple screens for betting on numerous sports–plus live in-game betting.
|Casino||Sports betting offered?||City|
|1st Jackpot Casino Tunica||Yes||Tunica|
|Ameristar Casino Hotel||Yes||Vicksburg|
|Beau Rivage Casino||Yes||Biloxi|
|Boomtown Casino – Biloxi||Yes||Biloxi|
|Fitzgerald’s Casino – Tunica||Yes||Tunica|
|Gold Strike Casino Resort||Yes||Tunica|
|Golden Nugget Biloxi||Yes||Biloxi|
|Hard Rock Casino – Biloxi||Yes||Biloxi|
|Harlow’s Casino Resort||Yes||Greenville|
|Harrah’s Gulf Coast||Yes||Biloxi|
|Hollywood Casino Bay St. Louis||Yes||Bay St. Louis|
|Hollywood Casino – Tunica||Yes||Tunica|
|Horseshoe Resort and Casino – Tunica||Yes||Tunica|
|IP Casino Resort Spa||Yes||Biloxi|
|Island View Casino||Yes||Biloxi|
|Isle of Capri – Lula||No||Lula|
|Lady Luck Casino||No||Vicksburg|
|Magnolia Bluffs Casino||Yes||Natchez|
|Resorts Tunica Hotel & Casino||No||Tunica|
|Sam’s Town Tunica||Yes||Tunica|
|Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort||Yes||Biloxi|
|Silver Slipper Casino||Yes||Bay St. Louis|
|Treasure Bay Casino||Yes||Biloxi|
|Trop Casino Greenville||No||Greenville|
|Tunica Roadhouse Casino||No||Tunica|
|WaterView Casino and Hotel||Yes||Vicksburg|
Twin River Casino in Lincoln took its first sports bets in 2018. Customers are required to register online accounts in-person before they can begin placing bets.
Its sister property, Twin River Tiverton, near the Massachusetts border, also launched retail sports betting in 2018.
The Land of Enchantment offers two brick-and-mortar locations to bet on sports. The Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel debuted its sportsbook in 2018, and Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino followed suit in 2019.
The state’s compact with the tribe allows for sports betting without a law change, so Santa Ana Star was able to streamline the process and launch as the sixth state with a sportsbook, beating both Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Sports betting in Arkansas debuted in July 2019 at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort facility. Operations commenced after a ceremonial bet from Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith.
By January 2020, Arkansas had a second sportsbook: Southland Casino Racing, located in West Memphis, opened doors ahead of Super Bowl LIV.
New York sports betting is available at four commercial casinos, Resorts World Catskills, Rivers Casino, del Lago Resort & Casino, and Tioga Downs. Additionally, customers can places bets at many tribal properties.
A deal between Kambi and the Seneca Nation of Indians will see the European-based company operate sportsbooks at the tribes three casinos in Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Salamanca.
New York sports betting made its official debut just ahead of the 2019 NFL season. As for mobile wagering, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has elicited plenty of back-and-forth chatter, but there have been only failed attempts without any legitimate legal steps forward. Fans will just have to enjoy retail sportsbooks for now.
Eight Iowa casinos began retail sports betting operations in 2019. Additionally, four casinos powered by William Hill (Isle Bettendorf, Isle Waterloo, Lakeside, and Prairie Meadows) offer retail and mobile wagering. The other four casinos powered by PointsBet, Kambi and Bet.Works are expected to launch mobile operations in 2020.
Iowa has also welcomed rising industry powers DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks. DraftKings opened retail operations at Wild Rose locations in Jefferson, Emmetsburg and Clinton; FanDuel did the same at Diamond Jo properties in Northwood and Dubuque. Betfred, based in the UK, made its first foray into the US by opening a retail sportsbook at Grand Falls Casino.
Oregonians can now place legal sports wagers. The Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City began taking bets in 2019. Owned by the Siletz Tribe, the casino offers retail sports betting allowing customers to bet on professional and college sports.
The state lottery selected SBTech to be its technology partner for sports betting, which went live in 2019 as Oregon Lottery introduced the Scoreboard betting app for Android, iOS and desktop. Wagering on college sports, however, is prohibited.
Land-based Indiana sports betting officially began in 2019. As expected, online sports betting followed, as DraftKings Sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook, and FanDuel Sportsbook all launched in 2019. In 2020, BetAmerica, PointsBet and Unibet launched.
In 2019, the state’s executive council approved DraftKings as New Hampshire’s contracted sports betting provider. DraftKings has the option to power retail sportsbooks in New Hampshire, though those will come at a later date.
Rivers Casino in Des Plains became the first property to begin accepting wagers with the opening of its BetRivers Sportsbook. Since then, DraftKings at Casino Queen and William Hill at Grand Victoria Casino Elgin have also launched retail sports betting. For now, BetRivers remains the only mobile sportsbook in Illinois. Customers can register in-person for their mobile sports betting accounts.
After years of back-and-forth to get sports betting legalized, the state finally kicked it off in 2020 with the opening of Greektown’s Sportsbook at Greektown and MGM’s Moneyline Sports Lounge. Check out this full guide on everything to know to get started in the Wolverine State.
Legalized sports betting arrived in Big Sky Country in March 2020, powered by Intralot. The Montana Lottery began delivering self-service kiosks early in the month, while communication beacons were already installed where necessary. The lottery obviously allows physical wagering via the terminals, and bettors can also bet online via the lottery’s app or website. Mobile wagering is offered in establishments that boast communication beacons, but “null-beacons” are also set up to prevent people from betting outside.
The American landscape of legalized sports betting expanded westward when Colorado officially opened regulated wagering in May 2020. Four operators launched online sportsbooks in the Centennial State on the first day, including FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, BetRivers and BetMGM. As Colorado debuted during the coronavirus pandemic, when casinos were shuttered, the state’s industry began with mobile sportsbooks. Retail wagering will certainly enter the fold once it becomes safe to open casinos again.
Below is a list of online sportsbooks that are currently live in Colorado:
|FanDuel Sportsbook||Golden Gates Casino|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||Golden Gulch Casino|
|BetRivers||JP McGill’s Casino|
|BetMGM||Midnight Rose Casino|
|Fox Bet||Lady Luck Casino Black Hawk|
|Sky Ute Sportsbook||Sky Ute Casino and Resort|
|BetMonarch||Monarch Casino Resort|
|SBK Sportsbook||Bronco Billy’s Casino and Hotel|
|Circa Sports||Century Casinos|
States on the way?
Three states passed legislation in 2019 to legalize sports betting: Colorado, North Carolina and Tennessee. Colorado went live May 1, leaving Tennessee as the next likely entrant with plans to launch by July 2020.
Virginia sports betting became legal in April 2020 after legislators agreed on suggested amendments to proposed language. Laws regulating the state’s industry goes into effect July 1, and the Virginia Lottery has until Sept. 15 to craft regulations.
Several other states, including Alaska, Kansas, and Wyoming, have also seen legislation pass through. Of note, Alaska would have the state lottery oversee its industry; Wyoming would prohibit betting on college events or schools based in the state. All three states would authorize online wagering.
Washington became the first state in 2020 to legalize sports betting, as Gov. Jay Inslee signed off on a bill to do such in March. The bill allows for retail wagering only on tribal lands. Online betting is not permitted outside tribal casinos. However, the state faces potential legal action from those who either disapprove of regulated betting or want in on the action.
Sports To Bet On
The core four professional sports leagues are some of the most popular, followed by others such as golf, soccer, college sports and special events. For more information on betting by sport, check out some of PlayUSA’s top guides:
Key wagering laws
In 1992, PASPA essentially made Nevada the only state allowed to offer legal sports betting. The law marked an effort by the federal government to end gambling-related corruption in sports.
American gangsters found some notable success coercing pro athletes to shave points or fix games so they could profit gambling on them. One infamous example is the 1919 Chicago White Sox World Series scandal.
PASPA ostensibly came about to prevent the proliferation of such scandals, as well as maintain the integrity of sports in the country.
Now, with PASPA deemed unconstitutional, states can decide whether they want to offer sports wagering. Additionally, Congress now has the option to draft and pass a law legalizing sports betting at the federal level.
The Interstate Wire Act of 1961
The Interstate Wire Act of 1961 is often referred to as the Federal Wire Act. This law essentially prohibits the operation of a number of betting businesses across the country, particularly those using the transmission of a wire communication to place bets. The law passed as a part of then US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy‘s effort to suppress organized crime activity across the country.
Kennedy believed gambling operations run by organized crime groups were so completely intertwined with communications systems that going after their use would cripple the operations.
In December 2011, the United States Department of Justice released a legal opinion on the act. The decision concluded anything outside of sporting events falls outside the act’s reach. The opinion was meant to clarify whether states could sell lottery tickets on the internet.
However, Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey all enacted online gambling legislation based on it. The decision did clarify the act was a part of the federal ban on sports betting.
Efforts by states to get sports betting
A number of states have either considered or passed laws seeking to legalize sports betting. The following states introduced sports betting legislation in the last few years but have not yet passed it into law:
The New Jersey challenge
The idea of legal sports betting in New Jersey passed through a public referendum in 2012. A bill permitting the state’s racetracks and Atlantic City casinos to offer sports betting similar to that in Nevada became law in 2013.
However, a number of pro and amateur sports leagues fought the law in court. They successfully struck it down. The state appealed to the Third Circuit Court, and the decision was affirmed.
The state passed another sports betting law in 2014 and lost again in district court. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision as well. The state appealed that decision and lost that appeal too. The case moved on to the US Supreme Court. The Solicitor General recommended the court pass on hearing the case, but the court took it up and heard oral arguments in December 2017.
Again, on May 14, 2018, SCOTUS ruled PASPA’s sports betting ban unconstitutional.
Are attitudes changing about sports betting?
States are now lining up to introduce sports betting legislation. While only four passed such legislation, another 15 are considering a bill. With nearly half the states passing or considering new laws and a favorable SCOTUS decision, it is fair to say the tides are shifting. There are now many sports betting analytics tools and even ways of buying picks.
Cash-strapped states looking for innovative new revenue sources are starting to see the sports betting market as a realistic way to generate money. This is similar to the change in attitude towards land-based casino operations and online gambling.
Sports betting is a multi-billion dollar market in the United States, but unfortunately, many seemingly legitimate places to bet are actually through illegal bookies and offshore gambling websites. But the more legal states and operators there are in the mix, the more those will decline.
Position of sports leagues
|League/Team||Casino/sports betting partner|
|New York Jets (NFL)||MGM Resorts, 888 Casino|
|Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)||Caesars|
|Vegas Golden Knights (NHL)||William Hill|
|New Jersey Devils (NHL)||William Hill, Caesars|
|Dallas Cowboys (NFL)||WinStar Casino|
|Baltimore Ravens (NFL)||Horseshoe Baltimore (Caesars)|
When New Jersey passed sports betting legislation, major pro sports leagues, including the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB were the ones who took them to court to oppose it. Many of the same sports leagues stood in opposition when Delaware looked to expand its lottery parlay wagering beyond betting on football.
However, the leagues’ stances on sports betting may be softening. In fact, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in 2014 calling for the repeal of PASPA. He claimed the popularity of gambling across the United States as a reason why.
Silver called for Congress to adopt a federal framework allowing states to authorize betting on professional sports. Of course, he also said it should be subject to regulatory requirements and safeguards. As new bills rolled out, it became clear Silver and other leagues also expect a cut of the sports betting revenue—a move drawing extensive criticism from the gambling industry.
Other leagues are echoing the NBA’s sentiments in the wake of the Supreme Court decision. They are lobbying for a federal sports betting bill with a cut for the leagues to help finance measures to preserve the integrity of their games.
On July 31 though, the NBA did something unprecedented. It partnered with MGM Resorts. MGM will be the official sports betting partner of the league. In exchange for $25 million, MGM will get to use league data and logos in its sports betting promotion for the next three years. The deal establishes a precedent that casino companies should pay sports leagues for certain data and content rights.
The NHL was the next to jump on the wagon with MGM. With the relationship between the two organizations bolstered by the Vegas Golden Knights‘ historic run to the Stanley Cup finals, the two announced a deal on October 29 to allow MGM access to the NHL’s intellectual property.
That access extends to use of the logos and associated property of the 31 teams in the NHL. MGM Resorts is also now the official resort of the NHL.
Individually, two of the NHL’s teams have not waited to partner with other gaming companies. Both the Golden Knights and the New Jersey Devils now have deals in place with sportsbook provider William Hill.
The American Gaming Association campaign
The AGA has long maintained illegal sports betting is a rapidly growing market in America. It also puts forward that laws against it only serve to push it all further underground.
The AGA says sports betting has only grown more prevalent since PASPA passed in 1992. It claims Americans now bet in excess of $150 billion annually, almost all illegal wagers. It remains to be seen how illegal wagering will be affected by the repeal of PASPA.
The AGA sends out press releases surrounding major sports events like the Super Bowl and March Madness estimating how much money Americans will bet on the events. The organization also called for the repeal of PASPA.
The message is clear: The AGA feels maintains a legal and regulated marketplace will generate tax revenue and jobs. They also say it will protect consumers while continuing to strengthen the integrity of major sports across the US.
September 2018 Congressional Hearing
There have been few opportunities for the various stakeholders on this issue to meet. However, five opinion leaders with differing viewpoints met on Sep. 27 to discuss their points of view with members of the US House of Representatives.
The House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations conducted the hearing, which was entitled “Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America.” The hearing featured statements by five witnesses and a question-and-answer session from the 16 members of the subcommittee.
The main purpose of the hearing was to present information to the assembled lawmakers. No bill or motion will come from this discussion.
The five witnesses at the hearing were:
- Les Bernal, National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling
- Jon Bruning, Counselor for Coalition to Stop Online Gambling
- Becky Harris, Chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board
- Jocelyn Moore, Executive Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs of the NFL
- Sara Slane, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs of the American Gaming Association
As indicated by their titles and positions, most of the witnesses presented testimony against state-regulated sports betting. They repeatedly cited concerns about game integrity and protection of minors.
Committee chair Jim Sensenbrenner (R – WI) concluded with a statement that indicated the lone takeaway from the hearing was that federal legislation and oversight would be imperative for sports betting. However, without another hearing or bill proposition, the state-based spread of sports betting is likely to continue at its current pace.