states with legalized sports betting

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states with legalized sports betting

states with legalized sports betting Sports betting has become an increasingly popular segment of online gambling in recent years, thanks to a Supreme Court decision that opened the door to state-by-state legalization. While more than half of all states have since authorized sports betting, it’s still illegal in many parts of the country.

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Since 2018, roughly 30 states have legalized sports betting, including 21 that allow online betting. We’ll outline below which states are open to sports betting, along with updates on states considering legalization. Furthermore, we will discuss nationwide efforts to bring bills to speed up the legalization process.

2018 U.S. Supreme Court’s Role in Allowing Sports Betting

In May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court opened the doors for sports gambling expansion through the ruling of Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Justices deemed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. PASPA had prohibited states from legalizing gambling on professional and college sports.

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Congress enacted the 1992 law to prevent the expansion of sports wagering beyond Nevada, citing the potential of money laundering schemes and other nefarious activities. Effectively, Nevada was handed a national monopoly on single-game wagering.

The prohibition outside of Nevada persisted for decades, despite the proliferation of illicit sports gambling.

The Supreme Court eventually ruled that individual states should have the right to regulate sports betting. This led a number of states to jump into this potentially lucrative space—with some clear regulatory differences. Here’s a look at how different states approached sports betting following the Supreme Court’s ruling.

States Where Online Betting is Legal


The state legalized sports betting in April 2021. Arizona has since become one of the fastest-growing states for online wagering. The state also became the first in the U.S. with in-stadium sportsbooks. The sportsbooks launched in September 2021 on the first day of the NFL season. Since then, Arizona has ranked within the top ten states every year in terms of the amount of money placed on bets.


Arkansas is relatively new to the sports betting scene, as it became legal in February 2022. 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 2022. These laws authorized up to eight online sportsbooks to operate within the state.


Colorado was one of the first states to implement an online and retail regulated sports betting industry in May 2020. 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 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 2021.


Illinois has become one of the leading states in sports betting given its massive population and Chicago’s reputation in the sports world. 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 2020, and the state has since become a top-five sports betting market.


Indiana’s sports betting scene has proved strong in the upper-Midwest. As of this writing, Indiana has taken the fifth-most amount of bets in the U.S., largely a product of its swift action to approve a regulated sports betting model. There are currently 13 sportsbooks operating in Indiana. The state has been live for online wagering since October 2019, just five months after the first bill was passed by the Indiana legislature.


Iowa, home to more than 20 casinos, was among the first states to adopt legislation to enable regulated online sports betting in August 2019. 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 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 2021 and online sportsbooks began operating in January 2022. Louisiana has high hopes for expansion with the path paved for over 40 mobile wagering retailers to join.

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Over the past few years, Michigan has moved to implement full-scale online gambling regulation. In-person wagering was launched in March 2020, with online sportsbooks launching in January 2021. 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 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 2019.

New Jersey

New Jersey, which led the charge to overturn PASPA, quickly eclipsed Nevada as the leading state in sports betting handle on a monthly basis (before New York entered the fray). 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 2022. Because of New York’s massive population, presence of a large number of tribal casinos and the appeal of massive sports franchises like the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, it figures to be a mainstay at the top of monthly handle charts. New York has seen more than $1 billion in handle each month since its industry launched.


The state legislature approved sports betting in the Buckeye State in 2021, allowing the doors to open for regulated sports wagering on Jan. 1, 2023. Ohio lagged behind others, but the state eventually passed an online sports betting bill that will make it one of the largest markets. While online sportsbooks will launch a few months later than the initial target date of the NFL season’s opening kickoff, fans of the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals will soon bet.


Oregon has had a tough time fully immersing itself into the sports betting industry since allowing operators in 2019. 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.


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 2018 and opened the doors for mobile wagering in 2019. 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. The only operator of mobile wagering in Rhode Island is William Hill, owned by Caesars Entertainment. There was once an in-person registration requirement to place bets, but the state’s regulatory entity repealed that initiative. Retail sportsbooks have been servicing Rhode Island residents since 2018.


Tennessee is truly a unique situation when it comes to the U.S. sports betting industry. It’s the only state that has no retail sportsbook. while also having only online wagering available to residents. Tennessee sports wagering was legalized in 2019.


Virginia launched its first wagering initiatives in January 2021. There are seven operators, including some of the industry’s biggest giants, like BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel. 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.


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 2021.

In-Person-Only Sports Betting States


Delaware was once a promising spot for sportsbooks given the state legislature’s swift actions following the PASPA ruling. In fact, Delaware was the second state in the U.S. to open a retail sportsbook in June 2018. Because Delaware’s sports betting initiatives are directly linked to the state lottery, mobile wagering is not legal.


As of summer 2022, 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 2020. Retail sportsbooks have been operating since December 2021, 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 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 2018. 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.

North Carolina

North Carolina enabled retail sports betting in July 2019, although it is limited to two separate tribal casinos on the western side of the state. These brick-and-mortar casinos in the state first started receiving bets in March 2021. Potential legislation allowing online betting could be addressed as soon as the fall of 2022, but it’s more likely the issue will be tabled until 2023.

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South Dakota

South Dakota opened up its first brick-and-mortar casino sportsbooks in September 2021 after legalization in November 2020.

Potential Upcoming Sports Betting States


There have been multiple ballot proposals to legalize sports betting over the past few years, with voters poised to get the chance to initiate the change.

There are two proposals on the table, one for online wagering backed by the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings and an in-person only bill backed by California Tribes. Californians will vote in fall 2022, though many observers say the competing referendums are longshots.


Florida is a largely untapped market for most forms of gambling, particularly for the online platforms. The state took bets for just two months to close out 2021 before the situation was halted due to a federal judge striking down an agreement between the Seminole tribe and the state. There has been an appeal, but no decision.


Kansas legalized sports betting in May 2022 that authorizes 12 mobile sportsbooks. Additionally, the state allows wagers at four separate brick-and-mortar casinos. Kansas is likely to begin taking its first sports bets in the fall of 2022.


states with legalized sports betting
states with legalized sports betting

In April 2022, Maine approved a bill to allow the four major tribal councils to partner with major operators for in-person bets. The bill does not allow online betting.


Nebraska is one of the more interesting cases of all the possible states considering implementing a full-scale sports betting movement. Three constitutional amendments that voters backed in November 2021 have been passed to enable Nebraska to enter the industry. With those approvals, it appears that the full legalization of sports betting in Nebraska is on the horizon.

Types of Legalized Sports Betting

While states differ in their approach to sports betting, most have approved all the staples of a Las Vegas-style sportsbook.

Single Game

Single-game bets are the most common wager type, and all online sports betting sites offer them to customers. These types of bets are restricted to one game, unlike parlays and other betting markets that are spread across multiple contests.

Moneylines, spread and totals bets are the divisions of single-game betting that create the most handle each year. Betting on the moneyline is a bet on a team or athlete to win a sporting event outright. Spread bets provide a handicap on one side or multiple sides of an event with odds that are typically close to even or plus vigorish. Totals bets are wagers that deal with the final score or outcome going over or under a betting line.


Parlays are the type of bets that sportsbooks make the most money on due to the low likelihood of the bets winning. Parlays are broken down into individual “legs” that can include any type of individual bet. Because of the low likelihood of winning, the odds are typically quite long and can provide massive paydays. This is the allure that attracts sports bettors to these long-term losing plays.

An example of a parlay would be a three moneyline parlay where individual teams are selected to win outright. A three-leg parlay of -110 moneyline picks would turn into a +595 odds play as opposed to betting all three picks as straight bets.


Props come in all different types of formats, but the most common are player props. Bettors can wager on overs and unders for statistics for individual players like strikeouts, rebounds and goals. These are some of the most common types of wagers in the sports betting world.

Props are not limited to player markets either. They can be extended out to team props and game props. Typically, these are bets that are not directly tied to the final outcome of the game in terms of its score.


Live or in-play betting has become extremely popular in the world of online sports betting. All forms of straight bets and parlays can be found on live betting formats so that bettors can place wagers in the middle of games.

Prior to the creation of live betting, bets were limited to being placed before games and at select sportsbooks, some bets could be placed at halftime. Now, any moment in time during a sporting event can be wagered on.


Futures are bets that can be placed on upcoming events including championship outcomes and player awards. Some of the most common types of futures bets are betting on the winner of league Most Valuable Player awards and the winning team of events like the World Series, the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals.

These bets are commonly placed before a season, but they can be placed all season long. The odds will change as the season progresses.

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