Sports Betting Legalization Tracker
Where is Sports Betting Legal in the United States?
In a landmark event for sports fans, the Supreme Court of the United States lifted the federal ban on sports betting on May 14, 2018.
Since this historic court ruling, sports betting has slowly expanded across the country. After the ban on sports betting was lifted, eight states in total legalized sports betting in 2018.
That number has since grown to 20 states in total (in addition to the District of Columbia), with nine more states projected to legalize sports betting in 2020, and an additional eight states projected to legalize sports betting in 2021.
So where do we stand now? And how are the states that have legalized sports betting faring?
We have compiled a comprehensive breakdown of the current state of sports betting throughout the U.S., with updates on the states that have yet to legalize sports betting and how likely it is for each jurisdiction to offer full-scale legalized sports betting.
Legal Sports Betting (21 States + District of Columbia)
On July 1, 2019, the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort accepted the first sports wagers in the state of Arkansas. At current writing, only physical over-the-counter betting inside of the casino is permitted, with a small number of other retail locations slated to open in coming months.
A bill was proposed recently in the Arkansas state legislature to legalize mobile sports wagering in the state, however it hit a snag with the addition of integrity fees for leagues.
In November 2019, Colorado became the 19th state to legalize sports betting when voters narrowly approved a ballot measure that would provide the regulation of sports betting through licensed casinos.
After the COVID-19 pandemic closed all of the casinos down in the state of Colorado, the state elected to proceed with allowing the launch of online sportsbooks in the state on May 1, 2020. Upon the first official day of offering legal online sports betting to Colorado residents, multiple online sportsbooks were ready to be used on day one, offering a sampling of sports for new users to partake in.
At current date, Colorado is now home to a total of six legal online sportsbooks including FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, PointsBet, BetRivers, and FOX Bet, and there are plans on the horizon for many other entrants into the Colorado market.
Without question, the state of Colorado has some of the best laws in the country anywhere but Las Vegas when it comes to sports betting.
In June 2018, Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to legalize sports betting after the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Delaware only permits physical over-the-counter wagering at one of the three casinos in the state, with parlays of three games or more offered by Delaware Lottery retailers throughout the state.
Delaware’s lack of mobile betting and its decision to have the aforementioned state lottery oversee sports betting operations has been criticized by many in the industry.
There are no plans in the immediate future in Delaware for mobile betting to be permitted in the state.
In June 2019, the Illinois legislature passed a robust gaming bill that legalized physical over-the-counter and mobile wagering.
The bill was unique in that it allowed for brick-and-mortar operations (casinos, racetracks and sports venues) to offer sports betting 18-months before online-only operations like FanDuel, Draftkings and more.
Under the bill the states sports stadiums such as Wrigley Field, Soldier Field and the United Center could also apply to offer betting kiosks at their respective venues.
Full-scale sports wagering around the state of Illinois should be in action before the kickoff of the Fall 2020 football season.
Sports betting became legal in the Hoosier State on May 8, 2019 and officially went live in September at three casinos in the state before expanding out to 13 casinos by the end of the month.
In October 2019, mobile betting officially launched in the state, allowing for bettors in the state of Indiana to make mobile sports wagers in addition to physical over-the-counter wagers.
Indiana has largely followed the model set up in 2018 by New Jersey, which has seen the biggest success outside of Nevada since sports betting became legalized.
The Hawkeye State signed legalized sports betting into law on May 13, 2019 and began accepting bets in August 2019.
Operators in the state of Iowa must pay a $45,000 licensing fee and there is a 6.75% tax on all revenue.
Physical over-the-counter betting and mobile wagering in Iowa are both permitted. Mobile wagering comes with a caveat however, as first-time users must register in person before they are able to bet on their phone.
This provision will remain in place until January 1, 2021.
Michigan became the 20th state to authorize sports betting on December 11, 2019.
The legislation signed into law will allow for physical over-the-counter sports wagering in addition to mobile wagering with the goal to launch before the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
Mississippi got somewhat of a head-start on the rest of the country by enacting a new law in 2017 that would allow for sports betting in the state, pending a favorable decision by the Supreme Court.
When that favorable decision became official, Mississippi booked their first sports bets at two MGM Resorts casinos on August 1, 2018.
In June of 2018, the Mississippi Gaming Commission adopted regulations that require all betting to be physical over-the-counter wagering, before allowing very restrictive mobile wagering that can only take place at the casino itself.
In May of 2019, the state of Montana formally signed into law a 28-page bill that will bring sports betting to the state.
The state lottery will oversee everything related to sports wagering in the state, with bettors being able to place a wager inside of licensed bars and restaurants through mobile wagering or via kiosks inside those establishments.
However, mobile wagering will not be allowed outside of these establishments.
As of February 2020, the state is still working out launch plans and official start date.
The mecca of legal sports betting in the United States for quite some time. Nothing further needed to discuss here.
The Granite State had legalized sports betting signed into law on July 12, 2019 with the first wager placed on December 30, 2019 by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.
The state lottery is in change of regulatory of regulatory oversight.
DraftKings will be the only mobile operator in the state of New Hampshire besides the New Hampshire lottery, with retail sports betting in the works in six cities across the state.
On June 11, 2018, the state of New Jersey became the third state in the U.S. to offer legalized sports betting.
Just three days later, a William Hill sportsbook at Monmouth Park took the first bet from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and the rest is history.
New Jersey is probably the closest thing to Nevada in the United States with how they have configured their venture into the legalized sports betting industry.
State law allows for both residents and non-residents alike to place wagers in person or through mobile betting, provided they are within the state borders.
Since passing of the sports betting law, New Jersey has handled nearly $6 billion dollars in wagers and generated $400 million dollars of betting revenue.
The state of New Mexico has one of the more unique setups for legalized sports betting in the country.
In October 2018, the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel booked the first sports bet in the state of New Mexico thanks to a gaming compact between the state and the Native American tribes that operate casinos in the state.
So while no actual law has been introduced and passed by state legislators in New Mexico, physical over-the-counter sports betting is allowed at several of the casinos in the state that are on tribal lands.
Mobile wagering is not permitted in the state, nor are wagers on the University of New Mexico or New Mexico State University.
As of February 2020, there are no plans for the state of New Mexico to introduce their own laws on sports betting to open up the market for mobile sports wagering.
On July 16, 2019 the first legal bets were placed in the state of New York at the Rivers Casino in Schenctady, NY.
In total four casinos in upstate New York — Resorts World, Rivers Casino, Tioga Downs and Del Lago all offer physical over-the-counter sports wagering.
However each casino is quite the distance from the New York City metro area, so New Jersey tends to reap the benefits thanks to their proximity to the Big Apple and their more relaxed laws regarding sports betting.
In January 2020, a bill to legalize mobile sports wagering stalled in the state legislature and there is not much optimism at this changing in the near future.
On July 26, 2019, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law a bill that will allow sports and horse race wagering on tribal lands in the state.
The new law will allow for physical over-the-counter betting on both college and professional sports at one of two casinos in the state.
Because of each casino being several hours away from Charlotte and Raleigh, where a bulk of the population of North Carolina resides, the state is expected to launch a gaming commission to study the potential expansion of sports betting – including mobile wagering.
On August 27, 2019, Oregon became the 12th state in the United States to offer legalized sports betting with the first wagers booked on-site at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort.
In a very similar manner to New Mexico, the state of Oregon did not require state legislature to pass any new laws due to grandfathered laws that permitted sports betting on tribal lands.
In October 2019, the Oregon Lottery officially launched mobile sports betting in the state.
In October 2017, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a new law to expand gaming in the state.
In that law there was an activation clause that would legalize sports betting if the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports wagering, and in May 2018 this became official.
With sports betting now legalized in the state of Pennsylvania, four sportsbooks (FanDuel, SugarHouse, Parx and Rivers) have launched their mobile betting products in Pennsylvania.
In June 2018, the state of Rhode Island officially became the 8th state in the U.S. to legalize sports betting at one of two physical locations in the state.
On Nov. 26, 2018, the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI accepted the first bets in the state and in early 2019 state lawmakers tweaked the law to allow for mobile betting in the state.
The state of Tennessee became the first state to legalize sports wagering in the U.S. that is exclusive to mobile betting.
The “Tennessee Sports Gaming Act” became law on May 25, 2019 and because the state of Tennessee does not have any casinos – there will be no physical sportsbooks in the state.
As of February 2020 there has not been a start date issued for when wagering will begin in the state.
The state of Washington was an unexpected entrant into the legal sports betting parade, due to the state having some of the least gambling-friendly laws in the country, but in early 2020, Washington state lawmakers in both the House and Senate successfully legalized sports betting within the state’s tribal casinos.
On March 25, 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee made the bill official and signed the bill into law, marking Washington as the 21st state in the country to officially legalize sports betting. They were also the first state to do so in 2020, a feat that is impressive in its own right given this game at the state of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bettors will not be allowed to wager on games involving in-state collegiate teams as part of this bill.
The “Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018” became effective as of May 3, 2019 when Congress did not formally object to the bill, thus sports betting became legal in the nation’s capital.
Since this time, the passage of the bill has been mired in controversy thanks to the decision to use lottery administrator IntraLot as the sole sports betting operator.
In a Washington Post report, the five sub-contractors for Intralot were all revealed to have connections to officials in the District of Columbia, leading to “pay-for-play” allegations on the no-bid contract.
In July 2019, D.C. city council members voted 7-5 in favor of Intralot receiving the sole rights to operate online sports wagering in the nation’s capital.
It is projected that online wagering will begin in time for the 2020 NCAA Tournament. The time table for physical sportsbooks in the District is not as clear as of February 2020.
In August of 2018, West Virginia became the fifth state in the country to offer legal sports betting.
Physical over-the-counter and mobile wagering are both permitted in the state, with the latter being helped out by the presence of FanDuel and DraftKings in the state.
Legalization Projected to Happen in 2020
The Maine state House and Senate quickly passed a bill that would bring legalized sports betting to the Pine Tree State in June 2019, however Gov. Janet Mills opted not to sign the bill and leave it for when the next legislative session opened.
When the new legislative session opened on January 10, 2020, Governor Mills officially vetoed the bill.
However in the words of our friend Lee Corso…
“Not so fast my friend!”
The state Senate voted 20-10 on February 6, 2020 to override Gov. Mills’ veto and a vote is tabled for next week in the state House where two-thirds majority will be required for the bill to become law.
The initial vote in the state House in 2019 came without a roll call, so it is not known if there is two-thirds approval to approve sports betting in the state just yet.
State legislature made quite a bit of progress in approving a bill to legalize sports betting in Kansas, however time ran out during the 2019 legislative session, tabling the possibility of legalized sports betting until 2020.
Kentucky state Rep. Adam Koenig has introduced a sports betting bill for Kentucky’s 2020 General Assembly session that would grant the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission with the authority to regulate sports betting in the state.
Under the proposed bill, race tracks and the Kentucky Motorspeedway would both be allowed to operate sportsbooks.
The bill also would allow for mobile sports wagering after a bettor registered in person at a licensed sportsbook.
The vote will need a majority vote from both chambers to pass, and a signature from Gov. Andy Beshear, who has indicated he would sign such a bill, for sports betting to officially become legal in the state of Kentucky.
In May 2019, the Louisiana state Senate voted 24-15 to permit sports betting in the Pelican State, however that bill would be squashed in the House – leaving state lawmakers going back to the drawing board in 2020.
The next legislative session in Louisiana begins on March 9, 2020 where it is believed that legalizing sports betting will be revisited.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has already been vocal about passing a law to bring legalized sports betting to the state, giving residents hoping to bet on sports hope that something may materialize before the end of the year.
If it doesn’t make a lot of sense that the state of Massachusetts has yet to jump into the world of legalized sports betting, you’re not alone.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker agrees with you.
In fact, Baker is one of the biggest supporters of bringing legalized sports betting to the Bay State – especially considering every neighboring state now has some variation of sports betting and sportsbook heavyweight DraftKings is located in their backyard.
There have been a number of bills introduced in the state leglislature, including one by Gov. Baker himself, and there are hopes that something can come to motion when the spring legislative session begins in March.
In January 2019, a number of sports betting bills were introduced to the Missouri state legislature, but nothing materialized.
On January 29, 2020, the Missouri House committee approved a sports wagering bill that will head to the House floor during Missouri’s legislative session.
Two bills have been introduced in the state of North Dakota, one of which passed the House but failed in the Senate.
Because the North Dakota legislature meets only in odd numbered years, state lawmakers will not meet again about legalizing sports betting until 2021 at the earliest – however in the same way New Mexico and Oregon have rolled out sports betting without a formal bill being signed into law, there is an outside shot that tribal casinos in the state could move forward with their own form of sports betting before the end of the year.
The Buckeye State is close on getting legal sports betting, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is confident something may be in place in time for the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
In November 2019, two bills with bi-partisan support were presented in the state legislature, but each bill has stalled with the biggest question being how the state should regulate sports betting should it become legal.
Gov. DeWine says that before a bill can be signed into law that he wants lawmakers to address security issues if apps are involved, wants concerns of university/college sports leaders addressed and wants a program to help treat compulsive gamblers as part of any bill that finds its way to his desk.
Unlike many other states, Ohio’s legislative session runs the entire year.
On Nov. 19, 2019 a gaming bill that would bring legalized sports betting to the state of Virginia was pre-filed in the state House.
On Jan. 31, 2020, that same bill cleared the state Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology and will now head to the Virginia Senate Finance Committee.
A separate bill also has made its way to that same committee that would allow for the Virginia State Lottery to also offer sports wagering.
Either way, it looks very promising for something to be in place in the Commonwealth State by the end of 2020.
Legalization Projected to Happen by 2021
Alabama still has a ways to go before legalized sports betting will be a reality.
The state House of Representatives legalized fantasy games in June 2019, needing to do so just reverse what is prohibited by the state constitution.
In April 2019, a bill that would legalize sports betting was introduced to the state legislature, but quickly fizzled out.
In 2020, lawmakers figure to try again, but Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has indicated strong push back to a law she will favor without a study taking place to analyze the impacts legalized sports betting would bring Alabama.
Thus, we don’t see any real momentum on this happening until 2021.
In February 2020, another sports betting bill has been filed again in the state of Arizona.
However, per Legal Sports Report, this bill looks very unlikely to gain much traction, as the way it is written goes against tribal gaming rules.
The other issue at hand in Arizona, are the aforementioned tribal casinos.
16 tribes in the state operate the 24 casinos found throughout Arizona, and none of them have shown a great deal of eagerness in adding sports betting to the menu.
At least not yet.
Look for some small traction to happen in 2020, with a more concerted effort for sports betting legalization in 2021 at the earliest.
The issue of bringing legalized sports betting to the state with 20% of the population in the United States is a complicated one to say the least.
Lawmakers in California began the process towards legalization in January 2020 when they held preliminary hearings to discuss looking into pursuing bringing legal sports betting to the Golden State.
In a bill proposed in June 2019, California voters would be given a chance to change the state Constitution as soon as the November 2020 ballot.
However, a separate initiative has also surfaced, backed by 18 Native American tribes in the state. The initiative would limit sports wagering to physical casinos and racetracks and exclude mobile wagering.
Because both sides are not showing much wiggle room at the moment, it’s looking unlikely for any resolution on this by the end of 2020, making 2021 a more likely scenario for California to get into the sports betting game.
Bringing legalized sports betting to Connecticut remains a difficult task, as gambling entities in the state are limited to two Indian tribes and the state lottery.
Unlike some other states where there has been push back from either a political figure of power or a Native American tribe in the area, all parties want to bring legalized sports betting to the Constitution State, but there remains an impasse as to how that will occur.
The state has tried to use sports betting as a means to bring tribal gaming leaders to the table to make concessions in regards to their exclusivity on gambling in other areas – leading to the stalemate Connecticut currently finds itself in.
However, new Gov. Ned Lamont has alluded to backing off of these demands to get a deal done that appeases to all parties, making sports betting legalization a much more obtainable goal in the not so distant future.
Stay tuned on this one.
In November 2019, Florida state Sen. Jeff Brandes filed a trio of bills centered on specifying the requirements for accepting wagers on sporting events.
The draft bills would provide the Florida Lottery with the jurisdiction to oversee mobile sports wagering in the Sunshine State.
These bills will be considered during the 2020 Florida legislative session, but many hurdles remain as the Seminole tribe has shown major pushback to legal sports betting and they hold a lot of power over gambling in the state.
If something changes though, you could see something in Q4 of 2020 or at the beginning of 2021.
At the end of 2019, executives of four Atlanta based professional sports teams came out in support of legalizing sports betting in the state of Georgia.
At the beginning of the January 2020 legislative session, state Rep. Ron Stephens presented a bill that would provide the framework to allowing voters to vote on bringing legalized sports betting to the state, provided the bill received two-thirds support in the Georgia General Assembly and State Senate.
So it would seem the wheels are in motion to bring legalized sports betting to the Peach State sometime by the end of 2020 or in 2021.
A lot of details still need to be worked out though.
In 2018, Maryland lawmakers introduced a bill to establish a task force to study the implementation of sports wagering in the state.
The proposed legislation did not go very far, as the bill died in that same legislative session.
However, in December 2019, state Sen. Chris West prefiled SB 58, which would allow casinos and horse tracks in the state to offer legal sports betting, initially to only be offered as physical over-the-counter wagering with the option to include mobile wagering at a later date.
Because Maryland first introduced casino gambling through the state constitution, adding new types of gambling to the state would require a constitutional amendment through a ballot referendum.
It does look promising for such a thing to take place though, with 2021 looking like a very real possibility for Maryland to get into the legal sports betting game.
Texas is one of the few states remaining in the country that does not have legalized fantasy gaming, and they have been very reluctant to begin the process of bringing legalized sports betting to the Lone Star State.
In February 2019, the groundwork to bring legal sports wagering to Texas began when state Rep. Eddie Lucio III introduced a 15-page bill relating to the regulation of sports betting.
Under the proposed law, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation would oversee sports betting in the state, with sports betting operators paying $250,000 to obtain a permit.
However, because Texas has the strictest gambling laws in the country, a lot of work is left to be done to bring legal sports betting to the state.
2021 seems like a more realistic option for Texas to get into the sports betting game in some capacity.
Lawmakers in Vermont have joined the push to bring legalized sports betting to the Green Mountain State with a mobile-only betting bill filed in January 2020.
The bill is similar in nature to the one proposed in Tennessee, where no brick-and-mortar sportsbooks would exist, and comes after neighboring New Hampshire rolled out mobile betting at the beginning of 2020.
Should the bill pass, mobile sports betting could arrive in Vermont as early as mid-2020, however skepticism remains considering Vermont’s lack of commercial gambling in the state, with the state lottery being the only form of gambling currently permitted.
Legal Sports Betting Not On the Horizon
There has been virtually no action to get the ball rolling on legal sports betting in Alaska – with no bills introduced in state legislature in 2020 and no sign of that changing any time soon.
A bill to research the impact of bringing legalized sports betting to the Aloha State is set to be presented during the 2020 Hawaii legislative session, but very little outside of this has taken place.
State laws as written make any attempt to bring legalized sports betting to Idaho a virtual impossibility at this point, and no bills have been introduced to the state legislature to change this.
The 11 federally recognized Native American tribes in the state do not wish to entertain gambling expansion at this time and have shown no inclination to change that. A bill presented in the state legislature back in 2018 was left unaddressed and nothing has really changed since then.
The state of Nebraska turned down the opportunity to expand gambling back in 2014 and no attempt to change that has been made since. At this point, the Huskers football team is more likely to return to the wishbone days than Nebraska is to get legalized sports betting in the near future.
If anything is to happen in the Sooner State, it will ultimately be decided by the tribes in the state.
A bill was introduced in 2017 that would have opened up the door to legalize sports betting in South Carolina, but it went nowhere. Another bill was introduced in 2019 that suffered the same fate. They are a long ways away from bringing legalized sports betting to the state.
As is the case with Oklahoma, any changes will ultimately be decided by the tribes in the state, and to date they do not seem overly eager to make said changes.
To be blunt – sports betting is never coming to Utah.
The state constitution of Wisconsin prohibits gambling, and tribes in the state are said to be perfectly fine with this. It’s very unlikely this changes in the near future.
No legislation has been introduced to bring legal sports betting to the state of Wyoming, nor has any sense of urgency happened to change that.
All Information Current Through July 29, 2020
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