Each state profile features five categories:
- Legal – Legal and regulated sports betting is available in this state.
- Pending launch – Sports betting has been approved by state governments and is in the process of being launched in this state.
- Partial law – There are legal provisions in place that would allow some form of sports betting. The state of New Mexico, for example, has yet to legalize sports betting, but tribal casinos in the state can offer sports betting under tribal-state compacts for Class III gaming.
- Legislation introduced – Legislation has been filed and is being considered by state government.
- No action – The state has not taken any action towards the legalization of sports betting.
Here’s a breakdown of the legal situation in each state:
Legal and live – These states offer legal and regulated sports betting in some capacity.
Pending launch – These are states that have legalized sports betting but have not yet made the activity available to residents and visitors.
States with active sports betting legislation – These states are in the process of considering a bill that would legalize sports betting.
States with dead sports betting bills – In these states, legislative efforts to authorize sports betting have failed. Unsuccessful bills either fail to receive enough support from lawmakers, don’t get voted and in some cases don’t receive a vote before the state legislature adjourns for the year.
No Action -These states have not taken any action or made any legislative effort to legalize sports betting in 2019.
Legal and live
The Natural State legalized sports betting at land-based venues in a public referendum in November 2018. After a lengthy launch process, the Arkansas sports betting industry went live in July 2019. The first legal sports bet in Arkansas was placed at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. In January 2020, Arkansas got its second legal sports betting option after Southland Casino Racing launched its land-based sportsbook.
On the last day of the 2019 legislative session on 3 May, Colorado lawmakers sent a sports betting bill to the Governor for approval. The bill, which would allow voters to approve sports betting, was approved by the governor. The Centennial State narrowly legalized sports betting in November 2019 after voters approved the sports betting measure through a referendum. On 1 May 2020, Colorado officially launched its sports wagering market and four online sports betting operators launched operations.
Sports betting is legal in Delaware. In fact, Delaware was one of four states that already offered a form of sports betting prior to the PASPA repeal, allowing bettors within the state to partake in a form of parlay wagering. On 5 June 2018, Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to offer full-blown legalized sports gambling. Residents and visitors can place sports bets at one of the state’s three race tracks which include Delaware Park, Dover Downs and the Harrington Raceway.
In July 2019, Governor JB Pritzker signed the Illinois Gambling Expansion Bill into law, which allowed for the launch of six new land-based casinos, a large casino venue in Chicago and the legalization of sports wagering. In March 2020, Illinois launched its land-based sports betting operations with the opening of a BetRiver-branded sportsbook at Rivers Casino Des Plaines. Online and mobile sports wagering went live on 18 June 2020 with the launch of the BetRivers-branded online and mobile sportsbook.
On 8 May 2019, Governor Eric Holcomb signed HB 1015, a gambling expansion bill that legalized sports betting in Indiana. This made the Hoosier State the second state to legalize sports betting in 2019. Land-based betting came to Indiana in September 2019 while online betting came a month later after the state’s first online sports betting platform launched in October. Just like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, residents can register their online accounts remotely from anywhere within the state.
In May 2019, Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds signed a sports betting bill making Iowa the third state to legalize sports wagering in 2019. The bill permitted licensed operators to offer land-based and state-wide online and mobile sports betting. Iowa launched sports betting in August 2019 and with just 94 days between the signing of the bill and the launch of sports betting Iowa’s timeline to launch sports betting was one of the quickest in the US. Sports betting in Iowa is regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Residents can place legal bets at land-based venues and via mobile apps and betting sites.
On 20 December 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 4311 into law, creating the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. Under this law, mobile and online casino gambling is now legal in the state of Michigan. Whitmer also approved HB 916, creating the Lawful Sports Betting Act. Under this law, commercial and tribal casinos can offer land-based and online sports betting in Michigan. In March 2020, legal sports betting came to Michigan after Penn National Gaming’s Greektown Casino and the MGM Grand Detroit opened their land-based sportsbooks. The Great Lake State’s online sports betting and casino market went live in late January 2021 with the launch of several online operators including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and BetRivers.
Mississippi was the fourth US state to offer legal sports betting after the PASPA repeal. State lawmakers had actually passed legislation in 2017 that would legalize sports betting should the Supreme Court rule PASPA unconstitutional in the future. The first in-state sports wagers were placed on 1 August 2018 and, since then, several of the state’s casinos now allow customers to gamble on sports. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians were also the first tribal community to offer legal sports betting operations outside of Nevada. In 2019, lawmakers introduced a bill to allow state-wide mobile betting, but the bill was ultimately unsuccessful.
On 3 May 2019, Montana became the first to legalize sports betting in 2019. Gov. Steve Bullock signed one of two sports betting bills into law. Montana went on to launch sports wagering in early March 2020, just in time for the March Madness basketball tournament. However, sports wagering in the state is currently limited to in-person betting via sports wagering terminals installed at venues across the state. Mobile sports betting is also permitted but has yet to launch, and when it does there will be severe limitations. Like Mississippi, bettors hoping to bet on their phones will need to be physically located on property where a sports betting terminal has been installed.
Up until the repeal of PASPA, Nevada was the only state in the US to offer full-scale, legal sports betting. This is because Nevada was granted an exemption from PASPA in 1992. Nevada residents and visitors can bet on a variety of professional and collegiate sporting events at almost all of the casinos in the state. Some Nevada casinos even allow those within state lines to bet on sports via mobile sports betting apps.
In July 2019, In July, New Hampshire became the second New England state to legalize sports betting. Land-based, online and mobile sports betting is now legal under the state’s law. Legal sports betting came to New Hampshire On 30 December, when the New Hampshire Lottery and its partner DraftKings officially launched online and mobile sports betting operations in the Granite State. At the end of November in 2019, DraftKings was awarded a contract to offer sports betting after being selected through a competitive bidding process. The state’s law allows the New Hampshire Lottery to award licenses to 10 land-based venues and five online and mobile sportsbooks. Although the legislation allows for multiple operators to serve the state, it appears that DraftKings will serve as New Hampshire’s sole online sports betting operator.
New Jersey led the battle to strike down PASPA and was one of the first US states to legalize wagers on sports. On 11 June 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation authorizing sports wagering in the state. New Jersey bettors can bet on professional and collegiate sports at the state’s land-based sportsbook facilities, as well as participating in online sports betting via online sports betting sites and on mobile devices using licensed sports betting apps.
New Mexico (Tribal only)
New Mexico lawmakers have yet to authorize any sports betting legislation, but one tribal gambling venue in the state does allow residents to bet on sports legally. The tribal group, known as the Tamaya Nation located in the Pueblo of Santa Ana, began offering legal sports betting markets at the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel in October 2018, thanks to a compact with the state. Since then, two other tribal venues in the state have launched land-based sports betting operations. New Mexico lawmakers are still in discussions regarding the legalization of sports gambling and it is possible that legislation will be introduced in the future.
In 2013, the state passed a law that allowed four of the state’s casinos to offer on-site sports betting. While the bill that sought to legalize full-scale sports betting in New York failed in June 2018, the bill was revived in 2019 with much more comprehensive and stronger language but still failed. However, after months of work, legal and regulated sports betting launched in New York with the opening of a land-based sportsbook at Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady in July 2019. Now, in 2020, all four of New York’s upstate casinos offer sports betting. Lawmakers are still working to bring online and mobile betting to the Empire State.
North Carolina legalized sports betting in July 2019 and the market finally went live in March 2021. However, under the state’s sports betting laws the activity is restricted to land-based tribal casinos in the state. At the time of writing, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians offers sports betting at their two Harrah’s-branded casinos in the state. For the time being online and mobile sports betting is not permitted under the state’s betting law.
Oregon was another one of the four states that received some form of exemption from PASPA because sports betting was already legal here in 1992. The Oregon Lottery used to offer a type of pick ‘em game for football events, though this game was actually put on hold over 10 years ago. In 2019, Oregon reintroduced legal and regulated sports betting under its existing laws. In 2019, the Oregon Lottery named SBTech the contract to run sports betting operations in the state. However, in August 2019, the tribal-owned Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, launched land-based betting operations, making it the first venue in the state to offer legal betting. The Oregon Lottery went on to launch its SBTech-powered online sports betting platform, Scoreboard, in October 2019.
Shortly after the repeal of PASPA, sports betting in Pennsylvania was made legal.Sports betting first arrived in the Keystone State in 2018 at a handful of land-based venues and online sports betting launched in the state in 2019. Pennsylvania residents can bet on professional and collegiate sports at land-based venues throughout the state and online with some of the best online sports betting operators in the US.
Rhode Island legalized sports betting on 22 June 2018. While the Ocean State was quick off the mark with the legalization of sports wagering, venues in the state didn’t launch sportsbook operations until November 2018. This delay was due to the fact that negotiations with vendors took longer than expected. Two venues in the state offer legal sports betting markets: the Twin Rivers Casino Hotel in Lincoln and the Twin River Tiverton Casino & Hotel. In 2019, lawmakers successfully passed a bill to authorize state-wide mobile sports betting in Rhode Island. Now, Rhode Island’s residents can legally bet on sports via their mobile devices, however, to create an account they must first visit one of the state’s casino sportsbooks.
In May 2019, Tennessee became the first state to legalize an online-only sports betting market. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee allowed the proposed legislation to pass into law without his signature. As there are no land-based casinos in the state, sports betting will only be available on online and mobile platforms. The Volunteer State launched its sports betting market on 1 November 2020 with four online operators which included DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and the local Tennessee Action 24/7.
At the end of December 2018, the DC Council passed a sports betting bill that is expected to take effect in 2019. This bill is titled the “Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act” and will permit the DC Lottery to introduce mobile sports betting. The legislation also permitted sports betting at four professional sports venues and at licensed establishments across the state. The nation’s capital launched sports betting in May 2020 via the DC Lottery’s sportsbook app GamBet. A William Hill-branded land-based sportsbook at the Capital One Arena opened to the public towards the end of July 2020.
In March 2018, the Mountain State passed a sports lottery bill that would legalize sports betting operations in the event that PASPA was struck down. Now that PASPA has been repealed, West Virginia residents and visitors can place bets at land-based casinos in the state and via online sportsbooks. In March 2019 the state’s only online mobile betting app, BetLucky, was closed down due to a contractual dispute between casino operator Delaware North and software provider Miomni. After a six-month period, online sports betting returned to the state with the launch of FanDuel’s and DraftKings’ online sports betting products. Now in 2020, the state is homed to some of the biggest names in US sports betting.
The state of Virginia legalized sports betting in April 2020 after the state legislature passed a sports betting bill that would allow mobile sports betting apps to launch by the end of 2020. Under the state’s sports betting laws, at least four sportsbook apps but no more than a dozen, will be available. The bill also legalised five new casino locations, those casinos may take up to five of the 12 sports betting licences. Virginia’s online sports betting market went live on 21 January 2021 with the launch of FanDuel and DraftKings. In the weeks that followed several other operators including BetMGM and BetRivers launched sports betting operations in the state.
The Arizona legislature legalized sports betting in April 2021 and the state is now in the process of drafting rules and regulations for sports betting. The Arizona Department of Gaming hopes to launch sports betting on 9 September 2021. So far several heavy hitters in the US betting space such as DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, BetMGM, and Barstool have secured entry into the market.
In January 2021, Connecticut’s Governor came out in support of legalizing sports betting and included a proposal in the 2022-2023 budget that would allow him to negotiate new compacts with the state’s tribes. In March 2021, Governor Ned Lamont reached an agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes for sports betting. The state lottery will also be able to operate a sportsbook. In May 2021, the legislature approved a bill that would formalize the agreements which were also signed into law by Lamont. The law will now have to receive approval from the US Department of the Interior regarding the adjustments to the compacts.
Following several unsuccessful attempts to legalize sports betting, Louisiana voters in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes voted in favour of sports betting during the 2020 US election. In June 2021, the legislature approved three separate bills that would be needed to bring legal sports betting to Louisiana. The Governor went on to sign all three pieces of legislation into law in June. Louisiana hopes to launch betting in time for the 2021 football season, but first, the state must finalize rules and regulations for betting.
During the 2020 US election, 66.2% of voters were in favor of bringing legal sports wagering to the state. In April 2021, lawmakers approved a bill that would legalize sports betting in Maryland, which was then signed into law by the Governor in May 2021. The state is currently in the process of finalizing its sports betting rules and regulations.
Nebraska joined the list of states to have legalized sports betting in 2021 after the state legislature approved a bill that would bring sports betting to the state in May. The Governor went on to sign the bill into law on 1 June 2021, legalizing sports betting in the state. Under the law, sports betting will only be permitted in-person at the state’s land-based casinos. The state regulator has yet to set a launch date for the activity.
Voters in South Dakota voted to approve sports betting during the 2020 US election, with Amendment B passing by a margin of 58.5% to 41.5%. Under the measure, sports betting will be permitted in the city of Deadwood and be offered alongside the list of casino games currently available in the city. In March 2021, the legislature passed sports betting legislation which was then signed into law by the Governor. The state is currently in the process of finalizing sports betting rules and regulations.
In March 2020, Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee signed a piece of legislation into law that would permit sports wagering at tribal gambling venues throughout the state. Washington became the first US state to legalize sports betting in 2020. Under HB 2638, residents and visitors can legally participate in in-person sports wagering and on-premises mobile betting at land-based tribal casinos. Once sports betting goes live in the state, bettors will be able to place bets on any professional sport or athletic event including the Olympic Games and collegiate events. However, betting on minor league sports will be prohibited.
Wyoming’s legislature passed a bill that would legalize sports betting in April 2021 which was then signed into law in the same month. Under the legislation, sports betting would only be available in Wyoming via online and mobile sportsbooks. Wyoming is the second state after Tennessee to establish an online-only betting market. The state is currently in the process of accepting license applications and finalizing sports betting rules.
States with active sports betting legislation
In April 2019, lawmakers in Alabama introduced a bill that would legalize sports betting. Alabama was one of the last southern states to introduce sports betting legislation and if successful, land-based and state-wide mobile sports betting will be legal in the state. The 2019 Alabama legislative session is due to end on June 18.
Florida is on the verge of giving sports betting the green light after the Florida legislature approved a new gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe and the state government in May 2021. The compact is now under federal review and although it may face legal challenges from commercial sportsbook operators it could pave the way for legal sports betting to finally arrive in Florida. Under the compact the Seminole Tribe would be granted the exclusive right to offer sports betting in the state, effectively granting the tribe a monopoly over the activity.
Georgia could be one of the next states to legalize sports betting in 2021 as lawmakers consider two proposals that would bring legal betting to the state. Lawmakers are considering SB 142, which is sponsored by eight senators, and HB 86, which is sponsored by six representatives. Both measures would allow for the legalization of sports betting in Georgia and charge the Georgia Lottery with regulating the market.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts are currently considering seven sports betting bills. The bills are a combination of study bills and bills that would legalize sports betting. Massachusetts stands out as it is one of the few states that doesn’t have any casino operations. Sports betting is not yet legal in The Bay State but that hasn’t stopped state stakeholders from preparing for it. In February 2018, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission published a 31-page white paper that outlined everything the state would need to consider when studying the possibility of legalizing the activity. The resource is so in-depth it can be applied to other states that are studying the topic. In November 2018, the state lawmakers introduced a sports betting bill which is still being discussed by the legislature.
Minnesota lawmakers introduced a draft sports betting bill in April 2018. The bill would have authorized bets and created a commission to oversee any gambling activity on sports in the state. Not only would land-based wagers on sport have been allowed under this bill, but also mobile sports betting. In May the state’s legislative session came to an end with no action on the legislation. A new bill was introduced in 2019 that would allow the state’s tribes to offer sports betting at their casinos. However, the bill has yet to gain enough support to make it past the first couple of legislative hurdles. The state legislature is set to adjourn on 20 May 2019, which means the state has a very small window to legalize sports betting.
Lawmakers in Missouri are looking at seven sports betting bills. Each of these bills was introduced during the 2019 legislative session and six of them call for the legalization of mobile and online sports betting. However, one of the bills, SB 195, restricts sports betting to Missouri’s riverboat casinos. Very little progress has been made with these bills, but there is still plenty of time on the legislative clock which means we could see sports betting in Missouri by the end of the year.
Ohio lawmakers have introduced two sports betting bills during the 2019 legislative session. One of the bills would legalize land-based sports betting, while the other would authorize land-based betting and state-wide mobile sports betting. Both of the bills have yet to be discussed by the House or Senate. Our eyes are on Ohio to legalize sports betting in 2019
South Carolina’s lawmakers are looking at two joint resolution proposals that would amend the state’s constitution to authorize sports betting. A study bill was also introduced which aims to look at the implications of sports betting and the impact it will have on South Carolina’s economy. In 2017, state lawmakers introduced House Bill 3102 which sought to amend South Carolina’s constitution to allow residents to wager on professional sports but only authorized in “specific” areas in state lines.
Several bills that would legalize sports betting in Maine were introduced in 2019, however, in early May lawmakers killed all but one of them. The surviving bill is being considered by the Veteran and Legal Affairs Committee who will select several provisions to be included in a recommended bill. This is expected to include mobile betting and authorize betting at bingo halls and off-track betting parlors but may prohibit betting on esports.
Democrat lawmakers in Texas introduced a bill that would legalize online and mobile sports betting across the state. However, the bill is unlikely to succeed as the state is dominated by anti-gambling Republican politicians. On top of that, the bill creates one of the least enticing sports betting models for operators, imposing a 6.25% tax on sports betting handle, and only five licenses will be available. So far the bill has not received a date for a hearing in the House or Senate.
The state of Vermont currently has a sports betting bill on file that would legalize land-based and mobile betting while. The bill, titled HB 484, would also allow licensed sportsbooks to extend credit to bettors. This bill is unlikely to proceed with such a provision as it would allow irresponsible wagering and could contribute to the spread of problem gambling. In the meantime, the state is also considering two sports betting study bills that will allow them to gain a much better understanding of the implications of legalizing sports betting in the state.
States with dead Sports Betting Bills
Although 2019 has been an exciting year for the expansion and legalization of sports betting across the US, there are several states that are yet to successfully approve sports betting legislation. Let’s take a closer look at the state’s where proposed sports betting legislation was either unsuccessful or died early on in the legislative process.
Towards the end of January, lawmakers in Hawaii introduced a bill that would have legalized sports betting and created the Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation. The bill, HB 1107, was ultimately unsuccessful with lawmakers refusing to vote on the bill. This did not come as a surprise as Hawaii is one of the few states with no form of gambling. However, a bill was adopted in March that would create a sports betting advisory and study committee.
North Dakota’s sports betting bill would have authorized sports betting at kiosks located across the state. The bill was ultimately unsuccessful after It had to be voted on twice before it passed the House, and failed to make it past the Senate vote. It is possible that North Dakota may try to legalize sports betting in 2020.
Three sports betting bills were introduced by Kansas lawmakers in 2019. Each of the bills would have placed a different entity in charge of sports betting in Kansas. However, all bills were unsuccessful in the 2019 legislative session and none of the bills gained enough support. It is possible that lawmakers may try to reintroduce sports betting legislation in 2020.
Several bills that would legalize sports betting in Kentucky were introduced in 2019, however, none have made significant progress. There were five sports betting bills on file in Kentucky and it appears that all of them have stalled in the early committee stages. The state’s legislative session came to an end in late March. As the hosts of the Kentucky Derby —one of the biggest events of the year for bettors— there’s definitely an appetite for sports betting amongst the state’s residents. A series of similar bills were introduced throughout 2018, each one more comprehensive than the last. In November 2018, the state’s attorney general proposed using sports betting revenue to fund the state’s pension system which is currently in a state of crisis. This did not play a part in 2019’s legal efforts. If lawmakers can come together next year, they may be able to legalize sports betting in 2020.
States with no legislation
There is still a long way to go when it comes to the legalization of sports betting in US states. In fact, a number of states are yet to introduce legislation or even explore what it could bring to the table. While some states have not legalized sports betting because existing state laws on gambling are so restrictive, others still consider gambling to be immoral and wrong. As the US sports betting market continues to open up we may begin to see more and more states legalize sports betting. The following states have not shown any indication of a movement towards the legalization of sports gambling activity.
Alaska did not introduce any sports betting legislation in 2019. This state is incredibly restrictive when it comes to gambling. Alaska doesn’t have a state lottery, casino or horse racing track, and online gambling is restricted to fantasy sports and skill games. It’s also unlikely that sports betting will be legalized in Alaska. In fact, it is one of a handful of states where it is illegal to promote gambling activities and participate in gambling.
No legislation was introduced in 2019, meaning it is still illegal to wager on sports in California. However, state lawmakers in the state have previously shown a willingness to legalize sports betting. In July 2017, assembly member Adam Gray proposed a constitutional amendment that would let the state “permit sports wagering only if a change in federal law occurs.” Once PASPA, the ‘federal law’ to which this refers, was struck down, Gray issued a statement calling for the legalization of sports betting in California.
California has an upcoming voters referendum which could legalize the activity. Even if residents do vote to legalize sports betting in California, lawmakers will have to craft legislation and regulations that do not conflict with the compacts between Indian gambling tribes and the state, which means it could be some time before punters can bet on sports.
Idaho is another state that did not introduce sports betting legislation in 2019. As it stands, the laws in the state prohibit fantasy sports games and sports betting. The state’s gambling laws also prohibit all forms of sports betting, which may make it hard for lawmakers to gain support for legislation in the future. However, lawmakers and residents in Idaho aren’t completely against gambling which means there may be a possibility the state could explore legalizing sports betting in the future.
Nebraska has yet to explore the topic of legalizing sports betting. This comes as no surprise to us as the state’s constitution prohibits most forms of gambling. In recent years, the state has resisted all efforts to expand its gambling industry beyond the state lottery, keno parlors and horse racing industry.
In 2019, Oklahoma lawmakers did not introduce any sports betting legislation. However, there is an appetite to legalize the activity. In 2018, Lawmakers in Oklahoma introduced a bill that aimed to permit the state’s governor to expand on compacts between the state and tribes to include sports betting pools, but this legislation was not acted upon. According to the legislation, “wagering on the outcome of one or more competitive games in which athletes participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games where all bets are placed in a common pool or pot from which all player winnings, prizes and direct costs are paid.”
Utah has not introduced any sports betting bills since the repeal of PASPA. Judging from the state’s stance on gambling, it’s highly unlikely that Utah will legalize sports betting. Utah is the lone state that does not allow any form of gambling. In fact, Utah’s official gambling laws prohibit all gambling, including state-run and tribal operations.
The state of Wisconsin has not made any legal effort to authorize sports betting in 2019. Lawmakers and residents in the state do not oppose gambling, but sports betting is illegal in the state and previous attempts made by lawmakers to legalize sports betting have been unsuccessful. At the moment, there has been very little demand for the approval of sports betting in Wisconsin, making it hard to gauge whether or not the state will move to legalize betting on sports anytime soon.
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