Where is sports betting legal in the US? For decades, those wanting to place a sports bet in the country have essentially faced a binary choice.
Anywhere outside of Nevada, where single-game sports betting has long been legal, bettors have had various “under-the-radar” methods at their disposal. This includes one of many offshore sportsbooks available online, as well as local bookmakers.
However, that is changing. On May 14, the Supreme Court declared PASPA unconstitutional in Murphy vs. NCAA, allowing any state the freedom to legalize and regulate sports betting. New Jersey’s years-long challenge of the of 1992 federal sports betting ban will drastically expand the options for those looking to bet on sports legally in the US.
Sports betting launch dates by state
|State||Bill Introduced?||Law Passed?||Potential Launch Date||Potential Mobile Launch|
|Arkansas||Yes||Yes||Launched July 1, 2019|
|Delaware||Yes||Yes||Launched June 5, 2018|
|Illinois||Yes||Yes||Summer 2020||Summer 2020|
|Indiana||Yes||Yes||Launched Sept. 1, 2019||Launched Oct. 3, 2019|
|Iowa||Yes||Yes||Launched Aug. 15, 2019||Launched Aug. 15, 2019|
|Mississippi||Yes||Yes||Launched Aug. 1, 2018|
|Montana||Yes||Yes||October 2019||October 2019|
|New Jersey||Yes||Yes||Launched June 14, 2018||Launched Aug. 1, 2018|
|New Mexico||Yes||No||Launched Oct. 17, 2018 at Tribal Casino|
|New York||Yes||Yes||September 2019 (commercial casinos only)|
|Nevada||Yes||Yes||Legal since 1949|
|Oregon||Yes||Yes||Launched Aug. 27, 2019||October 2019|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||Yes||Launched Nov. 17, 2019||Launched May 2019|
|Rhode Island||Yes||Yes||Launched Nov. 26, 2018||Still pending|
|Tennessee||Yes||Yes||Summer 2020||September 2019|
|West Virginia||Yes||Yes||Launched Aug. 30, 2018|
Many states got ahead of the curve by actually passing sports betting legislation ahead of the Supreme Court decision. Some, including New Jersey and Delaware, launched sports betting before the start of the 2018 football season. Several others have since followed including Pennsylvania and Indiana. As of September 2019, 12 states have a legal sports betting operation running in some form. Another six – Montana, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina and New Hampshire – have passed legislation in 2019 and are awaiting launch.
A seventh state, Maine, also passed a bill in 2019. However, in what was a rather surprising development, Governor Janet Mills did not sign the bill into law and is reportedly going to send it back to committee for changes when the legislature reconvenes in January.
Finally, the District of Columbia also passed sports betting legislation in December 2018. The district’s lottery will oversee and regulate the industry. However, the industry is yet to roll out within the jurisdiction and has been steeped in controversy due to the approval of a no-bid, sole-source contract with Intralot to power sports betting operations.
Launch date: June 5, 2018
In 2009, a struggling economy that saw both the state lottery and the casinos take a significant financial hit led to a proposal by Governor Jack Markell for establishments to add single-game sports betting. The measure passed, and since then Delaware offered legal parlay betting on NFL games as its one form of sports-related wagering.
With a regulatory and operational infrastructure already in place when PASPA was repealed, Delaware quickly became the first to launch single-game wagering in the U.S outside of Nevada. The first legal single-game bet was placed by Gov. John Carney on June 5, 2018 at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Delaware proudly beat New Jersey out of the gate.
Launch date: June 14, 2018
The battleground state in the fight for legalized sports betting was the second state to launch sports betting post-PASPA. A new regulatory bill allows for wagers to be placed at any casino or racetrack in the state, or via mobile. The legislation was passed unanimously on June 7, 2018 and signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy on June 11. Monmouth Park accepted the first legal bet on June 14, and many other sportsbooks soon followed. DraftKings Sportsbook was the first to launch a real-money mobile app in NJ and is now accepting bets from people located in the Garden State.
Launch date: Aug. 1, 2018
A modification of the state’s Gaming Control Act regulating daily fantasy sports (DFS) was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant in March 2017, clearing the path to legalized sports betting in the state’s 32 casinos. The Mississippi Gaming Commission formed a regulated sports betting framework and sports betting recently celebrated its first anniversary.
Mississippi remains a retail-only state in terms of sports betting. Efforts to authorize mobile wagering were short-lived during the 2019 legislative session. Bills in both the state’s House and Senate came to an abrupt end in February when both missed a deadline to advance out of committee. Lawmakers plan to reintroduce such legislation in 2020.
Launch date: Sept. 1, 2018
West Virginia was the first state to have passed sports betting legislation in 2018 quickly took advantage of the positive Supreme Court ruling, launching its own legal sports betting market on Sept. 1. The industry exists under the oversight of the state’s Lottery Commission.
The state’s industry took a hit beginning in March 2019 upon the shuttering of the BetLucky online platform associated with Mardi Gras Casino and Resort due to a multi-party dispute involving Delaware North, Mionmi Gaming and Entergaming, which were all involved in the operation of the mobile platform. However, late August 2019 saw the arrival of both FanDuel and DraftKings as online options in the state, reviving the industry in an impactful way.
Launch date: Nov. 26, 2018
A bill to legalize and regulate sports betting in Rhode Island quickly moved through the state legislature and onto the Governor’s desk for approval after SCOTUS overturned PASPA. Gov. Gina Raimondo enacted the law on June 22, 2018 and the market officially opened on Nov. 26. The state lottery oversees sports betting, and only two casinos in the state — Twin Rivers casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton — are offering wagering for the time being.
However, a major development in the form of the authorization of mobile sports betting came to pass during the 2019 legislative session after a slow first few months in terms of handle. The race is on for online platforms to be available in time for the full launch of NFL season on Sept. 8.
Launch date: Nov. 16, 2018
Pennslyvania was a step ahead of most states after an omnibus gaming bill (H 6948) was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on Oct. 30, 2017. The wording of the legislation included provisions for legalized sports betting on professional and amateur events — including online wagering. As currently written, the law contains an unusually high 36 percent tax on sports wagering revenue. While less than ideal for operators, many are still moving forward with plans to open sportsbooks across the state.
The first retail book to go live was the Hollywood Casino in Grantville on Nov. 16, 2018. SugarHouse and Rivers Pittsburgh launched their own sportsbooks in mid-December. SugarHouse then became the first mobile sportsbook to launch in May 2019, allowing PA bettors to place wagers from anywhere within state lines for the first time.
They were soon joined in the online space by Parx Casino, Rivers Casino and FanDuel Sportsbook. Fox Bet, an online skin of Mount Airy Casino, will begin a three-day period of mandatory Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board testing on Tuesday, Sept. 2. That will leave it poised for a full launch multiple days ahead of the first full slate of 2019 NFL action on Sunday, Sept. 8.
Launch date: July 16, 2019
The history of sports betting in the Empire State is a rather extensive one by most standards. New York voters actually legalized sports betting at the state’s four upstate commercial casinos way back in 2013. However, the first legal wager within state borders wasn’t taken until six years later at Rivers Casino in Schenectady. A FanDuel-branded sportsbook at Tioga Downs opened shortly thereafter. Del Lago Resort and Casino and Resorts World Catskills are two other facilities authorized to apply for a sports betting license.
Under current law, the state’s tribal casinos are also authorized to run sportsbooks. On that front, three Oneida Nation properties are supposed to launch in 2019 as well in partnership with Caesars. Bettors must be at least 21 years of age to place a wager within the state. In the 2020 legislative session, an effort to expand sports betting licensee opportunities to racetracks and other gaming facilities is expected.
The biggest push on the sports betting front in the state capital during the next legislative session is likely to be centered on mobile wagering, however. New York seemed headed for the legalization of full online sports betting before running into a snag in the state’s Assembly. Moreover, Gov. Andrew Cuomo also is on the record with his belief that the authorization of an expansion of legalized wagering such as mobile sports betting would require a voter referendum.
Launch date: July 1, 2019
Natural State voters approved the legalization of sports betting during November 2018 mid-term elections as part of an amendment that approved the expansion of casino gaming. Arkansas’ first sportsbook was up and running just under eight months later. Oaktown Racing Casino Resort cut the ribbon by taking the first wager on July 1, and it represents one of four facilities within the state authorized to take bets. The others are Southland Casino Racing and a pair of proposed casinos in Jefferson and Pope counties. There is no mobile wagering available in Arkansas at this point.
Notably, Southland at one point appeared to be on track to inaugurate sports betting in the state. However, as of early September 2019, it remains without a firm timetable for opening. In terms of taxes, Arkansas casinos all pay a 13.0 percent rate on the first $150 million of revenue and a 20.0 percent on higher amounts. Sports betting revenue falls under those parameters. There is no separate sportsbook licensing fee.
Launch date: August 15, 2019
The Hawkeye State was nothing if not efficient in getting sports betting legalized and up and running in recent months. Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill, SF 617, into law back on May 13. Just over three months later, multiple sportsbooks opened for business at both the retail and online levels. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission oversees the industry in the state.
A total of eight casinos in the state currently have sportsbooks accepting wagers. Half of those – Isle Bettendorf, Isle Waterloo, Lakeside and Prairie Meadows (all William Hill properties) – have an active online sports betting platform as well. Through 2020, bettors will have to register in person at a casino’s retail location before being able to place any kind of mobile wager. Online registration will be an option beginning in January 2021.
Other particulars of wagering in Iowa include a 21-and-older age requirement and a prohibition on in-state college prop bets. Licensees pay a $45,000 fee for an initial license and operators pay a tax rate of 6.75 percent on sports betting revenue, equal to that of Nevada. There could eventually be up to 19 casinos operating sportsbooks in the state. Each licensee is allowed up to two online skins, meaning there could eventually be up to 38 online sports betting options for Iowa residents.
Launch date: August 27, 2019
Oregon first began offering a parlay card system for the NFL, Sports Action, in 1989. NBA games were made available as well beginning in 1990, with the home-state Portland Trail Blazers being exempt. The basketball component was discontinued after one year due to lack of public interest. (Dissatisfaction on the part of both the NFL and NCAA led to the eventual passing of a bill to outlaw Sports Action, making the 2007 NFL season its swan song.)
The Chinook Winds Casino Resort, operated by the Siletz Tribe, opened its sportsbook on Aug. 27, 2019 to become the first Oregon casino to offer live sports betting. There are another eight tribal casinos within the state that could potentially offer sports betting in the future.
Meanwhile, the Oregon Lottery will likely roll out its long-awaited traditional mobile sports betting product sometime in late September. The original target date had been some time prior to the start of NFL season, but pending technical issues with the platform have derailed that timeline.
Significant legislative push in many other states
With estimates of illegal sports wagering equating to more than $50 billion annually, an increasing number have decided that it would be worth looking into sports betting, at the very minimum. In addition to the states mentioned above, 16 others have already introduced or reintroduced sports-betting legislation:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
The bills are at varying points of the legislative process. While none made it to the finish line during the 2018 calendar year, a certain number would appear to have a good chance of passing in 2019.
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled favorably for the permittance of sports betting, the likelihood of numerous other states pushing for sports-betting legislation moving forward is presumably very high.