U.S. Sports Betting and Online Sportsbooks: How and Where Betting Became Legal
As 2021 continues on, online sports betting has come a long way in the United States. Since the fall of PASPA on May 14, 2018, there have been more than 15 states who have fully legalized and regulated sports wagering in their states.
The monumental decision came down to The Supreme Court, who ruled in favor of discontinuing the federal restrictions laid out by PASPA. The final vote was 6-3 declaring the ban unconstitutional and effectively leaving all further decisions to the states. Before PASPA came to fruition in 1992, Nevada was the only state with legal sports betting.
New Jersey Battles for Legal Sports Betting
New Jersey is that state that receives most, if not all of the credit for legal sports betting and legal online sports betting in America. The battle between the Garden State and the right to offer sports betting dates all the way back to 2009.
Former Governor Chris Christie was then taken to court by the top five sports leagues (NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL, NCAA) in the US, all of whom had expressed their opposition to sports betting. It is worth noting that outside of the courtrooms leaders from each of the leagues (other than the NFL) had shown various degrees of support for the newly proposed motion to end PASPA.
After the vote was down and PASPA was struck down, representatives from the top leagues all released statements regarding the recent decision. They all accepted the decision with hesitation, though a few still expressed their desire for a federal regulatory framework of the activity.
Both sides had compelling arguments, however New Jersey would end up losing battles in both the District Court as well as the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Surprisingly, The Supreme Court agreed to take the case, and on May 14, 2018 voted in favor of New Jersey. It had been a long shot, but sports wagering was finally legal nationwide.
Online Sports Betting Landscape
The decision was huge, as the untapped US market was expected to be extremely profitable. Before the ruling, the American Gaming Association had estimated that Americans illegally wagered $150 billion on sports every year.
The potential numbers for the US now that legal sports betting had arrived was not lost on casinos and sportsbooks. So far, America has seen several big-name sports betting sites have presented their own brand of sports betting in multiple states.
New Jersey took almost no time in legalizing its own brand of sports betting. Less than a month after the federal decision, Governor Phil Murphy signed the bill allowing legal and regulated sports betting in New Jersey. Since then, many more have either passed bills or are moving towards full legalization.
Casinos and online sportsbooks have been working together from the beginning to bring a new aspect to the gambling layout. This includes the building of multiple new sportsbooks in famous casinos, and has also expanded to venues such as sports stadiums and race tracks.
The Layout of USA Sports Betting
When the federal ban was lifted, each of the 50 states were left with important decisions on how to go about regulating this new industry within their respective borders. Therefore, each state will have their own limitations and rules that they set for sports betting.
The states with legal sports betting including both online and in person sports betting can be found at the top of this page. These will include the main rules surrounding the market, as they will vary between states.
Certain states will allow players to make bets on college events, whereas others simply do not allow any betting on collegiate events that take place within their state. Specific rules for each state have been collected and listed on this page as an added precaution for the player selecting a sportsbook in their state.
Approaching more than two years now, around 30 states are either fully legalized and taking bets right now, moving towards regulation of their sports betting or have bills waiting to be passed allowing for the activity to come to their states. The phenomenon of legal sports betting has not disappointed in the United States, as the numbers constantly show in the money bet.
Where Can I Make Online Sports Bets
|Colorado||May 1, 2020||Yes ✅||Yes ✔|
|Illinois||March 9, 2020||Yes ✅
|Indiana||October 3, 2019||Yes ✅||Yes ✔|
|Iowa||August 15, 2019||Yes ✅||Yes ✔|
|Michigan||January 2021||Yes ✅||Yes ✔|
|Nevada||Exempt from Restrictions||Yes ✅||Yes ✔|
|New Jersey||June 14, 2018||Yes ✅||Yes ✔|
|Pennsylvania||May 31, 2019||Yes ✅||Yes ✔|
|Tennessee||November 1, 2020||Yes ✅||No ❌|
|West Virginia||August 30, 2019||Yes ✅||Yes ✔|
USA Sports Betting FAQs
Which sportsbooks will be available in the United States?
Although there are different sportsbooks in each state, there is already a large selection of top legal sports betting sites to choose from. As of right now, there are many sportsbooks that are already available in multiple states.
Where can I find online sports betting?
Online sports betting, although not available in all states, can be done in most states. North Carolina, Delaware, Arkansas, New York, and New Mexico do not currently have options or legislation allowing for legal online sports betting.
Other states, such as Mississippi and Montana, require the player to be within a certain vicinity of the physical locations in order to wager online. Many online and sports betting apps will be using geolocation technology to ensure players are located in legal jurisdictions.
Tennessee, will be the first and only state as of now to only feature online sports betting. This means there will be no physical locations, only mobile apps. This may turn out to be a smart decision, as states receive most of their revenue from online sports betting.
How can I place online bets?
The rules for placing online bets differ in every state. Some states will require the player to first go to an approved location for sports betting such as a casino or kiosk, and provide documentation in person before creating a mobile account.
Online sports betting sites will use tracking technology to determine where a player is while using the device before they are allowed to bet on sports. No state will allow the player to make mobile bets from outside its borders. Remember, that you will need to adhere to the rules of the state that you are currently in at any given time.
How can a player place a bet using a mobile device?
The steps for creating a mobile account may differ, however the process of placing a bet online will remain mostly the same no matter the company behind the app.
- Choose which online sportsbook you want to use
- Check to make sure the sportsbook or mobile app is available in your state
- Check all current promotions and promo codes if necessary
- Register an account with the app and provide all requested information
- Make a deposit into your new account
- Start selecting different games and events and place your wagers
Sportsbooks will have different terms and conditions related to deposits, payouts, betting markets and just about everything else. Be sure to understand all of the terms and conditions related to your actions. This will help to ensure a more enjoyable and transparent experience.
Where are the most robust sports betting markets?
As more and more states begin to dive into legal sports betting, the competition will inevitably become much tighter. However, as we sit, the real competition is only taking place between Nevada and New Jersey, with the latter even overtaking ‘The Gambling Capital of the World’ in some recent months.
The leaders New Jersey and Nevada have remained largely unmatched even as other states have refined their sports betting. With the emergance of Colorado, Illinois and Michigan the Midwest began to find its own place in the country's sports betting industry.
Though Las Vegas in the West and Atlantic City in the East continue to dominate the country and likely will continue to do so, other states have proven that the excitement over online sports betting is not limited to the major gambling capitals.
Will a sportsbook’s margin be different in different states?
This is something that will depend on the sportsbook, however we have noticed a trend surrounding this question. Due to the different size of taxes imposed on gambling in different states, the answer would almost certainly be yes. However, we have found evidence to the contrary.
Many sports betting sites will have the same odds in each state that they are located in. Therefore the margin remains the same. Important to note that bonuses often also remain the same. This is great news for players who travel a lot in other states but want to keep the same experience.
Like most everything else, states will get to determine how much of a tax will be placed on sports betting revenue in their state. If the taxes for one state become too high, we could see some sports betting sites adjusting their margins accordingly, however as of right now the margins will remain the same.
What is the sportsbook margin?
The sportsbook’s margin is often called the ‘vig’ or the ‘juice’. This is the percentage of money that a certain sports betting site will take from every bet no matter who wins. The ‘vig’ is usually around six to eight percent. A good ‘vig’ will be lower than five percent with a bad ‘vig’ being higher than nine percent.
It is important to remember that this margin will affect the overall quality of odds you get, so it should be one of the main things to look at when choosing a sportsbook. To find the average margins that each sportsbook offers, we use our unique formula which allows us to find the sportsbook's average margin percentage for each sport.
Where can I place bets with the least restrictions?
The state with the least restrictions imposed on sports bettors is easily Nevada, with New Jersey a close, close second. Called ‘Sin City’ for a reason, sports betting has been legal there since 1949. The new law that legalized sports betting on a federal scale may have taken away the state’s monopoly, but there is still plenty offered.
The experience alone offered in Las Vegas is enough to set the state apart from other legal markets.
In addition to professional sports wagers you can bet on all college athletics in the state, even on teams located within the state like University of Nevada and UNLV. Betting on Olympic events is allowed here and mobile betting is available throughout the state.
If you are looking for a betting experience with almost no restrictions make your way to Nevada.