Photo via

The Current State of Sports Betting in the U.S.

While the sports betting floodgates have swung wide open, the dust has yet to settle. Since the Supreme Court ruling in May 2018 reversing the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that prevented states from permitting sports gambling, serious movement on the issue has occurred on both the state, federal, and business level as a result. The ruling determined that PASPA was unconstitutional considering it impeded on rights of the states under the 10th amendment. Following New Jersey’s Supreme Court challenge and victory, any state in the United States now can legalize sports betting.

Many states didn’t waste any time and moved quickly to allow sports betting. Most others have introduced bills to authorize sports wagering in some capacity. Only a small minority of states have not introduced any legislation at all. Below is a state-by-state list of where each state stands on this issue, including the District of Columbia. At the same time, entrepreneurs have acted quickly to capitalize on this accelerating and flourishing industry. With all these wheels in motion, the federal government is still interested and has taken steps to establish control over state-regulated sports wagering.

The U.S. government continues to seek control of sports betting on a federal level
In what many consider a case of sour grapes, Sen. Orrin Hatch, one of the original authors of PASPA, is behind a bill that would implement federal uniform standards and oversight over the legalized sports betting landscape. Hatch claims the intention is to ensure that sports betting is done properly in states that decide to legalize it.

One of the mandates of this bill would require states to obtain approval from the federal government to pass their own sports betting laws. Another stipulation proposes that betting establishments utilize data provided by the leagues or licensed providers to decide the outcomes of sports bets. There’s also a federal tax added to the mix in addition to the state sports betting taxes. For this governance, two new federal organizations would be created: The National Sports Wagering Commission and National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse.

There are still opponents of sports betting in the House and Senate, however, whether this bill makes it to the law is to be seen. Until this ever comes to fruition, states can authorize and pass their own sports betting laws as they see fit. Adding another layer of bureaucracy which already seems to be heavily regulated at the state level is not something the industry is in favor of.

Sports betting businesses look to capitalize on potential revenue windfalls

The lift on sports betting ban has unlocked the reigns for entrepreneurs in this sector. The same way various states mobilized quickly to legalize sports gambling, entrepreneurs moved just as fast with the opportunity to establish market share and potential to generate serious revenue. Some entities such as DraftKings and FanDuel have spent years positioning themselves in preparation for sports betting legalization years before it actually happened. The daily fantasy sports operators have laid the groundwork in anticipation of legalization and have quickly moved to dominate the mobile sports betting arena.

However, the current legal framework has created frustrating entanglements for the new operators who view it as the cost of doing business in an industry that’s been controlled by old fashioned brick and mortar casinos. For example, to be able to conduct a sports betting business in New Jersey, the law mandates that the companies need to partner with casino operators who have an existing license. Running licenses through the casinos appears to be a huge discontent for the mobile betting operators, though they’ve clearly been playing by the rules as DraftKings has licensed through Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel and FanDuel with the Meadowlands Racetrack and Casino. With mobile betting becoming the method of choice for sports gamblers and the future of this industry, it’s a ludicrous arrangement the casino operators wish to keep intact to allow them a piece of the pie without having to create their own outlet for mobile sports betting. It’s simple, why would anyone want the hassle and inconvenience of driving to an actual casino when they can place wagers via their mobile phones in the comfort of their homes. Casinos prefer customers to visit their establishments physically.

But there are signs that casino operators may be losing their grip. In Massachusetts, a sports betting law proposal in the works would allow mobile operators to receive direct licensing without needing it to run through a casino. The groundwork for direct licensing is being established.


States that have a legal and regulated sports betting industry

As a result of the Supreme Courts reversal of the sports betting ban, ten additional states join Nevada with Delaware becoming the first new state to allow it under the expanded market. While each state is different, they all allow sports betting in some form whether it’s through casino operations, tribes, or digital.

– Nevada
The true veteran of the industry allowing legal sports gambling in the state since 1949, Nevada was grandfathered in once PASPA was put into effect in 1992. The Supreme Court ruling means that Nevada loses its sports betting exclusivity and monopoly, now having competition from other states that pass regulations to allow it.

– Delaware
The first to act following the Supreme Court’s reversal of PASPA, Delaware was one of five states exempted from it, limited to NFL game parlay bets. Less than a month after the ruling, it quickly assembled regulations and began taking single-game betting in casinos on June 5, 2018. Sports gambling could also take place online and at other locations besides casinos.

– New Jersey
Like Delaware, New Jersey moved quickly to allow sports betting, officially started taking wagers on June 14, 2018. The William Hill sportsbook at Monmouth Park took the first bets, while others quickly followed. Daily fantasy platforms expanded into the sportsbook business with FanDuel opening their first sportsbook location at the Meadowlands in July with DraftKings immediately following in a venture with Resorts Casino, taking the first online bet outside of Nevada through a mobile betting app on Aug 1, while opening up their on-property location two weeks later. The state now features over ten online sportsbooks. Users must physically be located in the state of New Jersey in order to place a bet via online or app.

– Mississippi
Mississippi passed sports betting legislation before the Supreme Courts ban reversal, officially launching operations on the same day New Jersey began taking mobile bets. State regulations require that bets are made in person and now features over 20 operational sportsbooks, also allowing mobile wagering onsite only. Statewide mobile wagering is not permitted. Mississippi features DraftKings’ first physical sportsbook and marks their first sports betting initiative outside New Jersey. The state is also the first besides Nevada to allow sports betting at tribal casinos.

– West Virginia
The fifth state to allow sports betting began offering betting licenses in August of 2018, officially taking their first bet on the 30th at the Hollywood Casino. Regulation permits both in-person and online sports betting. The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Casino Club launched less than two weeks later followed by William Hill Sports Book at the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in November.

– New Mexico
While the state has not passed legalized sports betting legislation, the Santa Ana Casino and Hotel became the first tribal based casino in the U.S. to begin taking bets inside a state that doesn’t allow it. Through a compact with the state allowing all forms of Class III gambling, sports betting officially launched on October 16. A second New Mexico tribal casino has followed suit, opening a sportsbook at Buffalo Thunder Resort Casino on the Pojoaque Pueblo.

– Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania was another state to approve sports betting legislation ahead of the Supreme Court’s ban reversal, officially becoming effective with the overturn. Sportsbook operations kicked off at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in November 2018 with two more casinos following suit in December, allowing in-person onsite betting. Online sports betting is expected to launch later in 2019 with FanDuel, DraftKings, Parx, and SugarHouse all expected to operate digitally.

– Rhode Island
Rhode Island sports betting officially kicked off November 26, 2018, at the Twins River Casino, five months after Governor Gina Raimondo included legal sports betting stipulations into its state budget. The state law currently does not allow for mobile betting.

– Montana
As part of the five states exempted from PASPA, Montana allows sports pools. And on May 3, 2019, Montana became the first State this year to legalize Sports Betting by passing H725 (after Governor Bullock vetoed SB330). Montana has now passed legislation but has yet to launch.

– Indiana
Governor Eric Holcomb signed Bill H1015 into law on May 8, 2019 and became the second State this year to legalize Sports Betting (after Montana). The bill allows for statewide mobile wagering. Indiana has passed the bill but has yet to launch.

– Iowa
On May 13, 2019, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a Sports Betting and Fantasy Sports bill into law. The bill allows bets through apps like Duelo, DraftKings, and FanDuel who offer fantasy sports gaming. Iowa has yet to launch.


States moving towards sports betting legalization

These states have introduced legislation to allow some form of sports gambling in their state.

– Alabama
House Bill 315 introduced in April 2019 would allow for betting via mobile, online, and in brick-and-mortar locations. It calls for the creation of a state oversight commission to make the rules and issue licenses to sports betting operators.

– Arizona
Arizona introduced bill SB 1163 in January 2019 in a move to allow legalized sports betting with exclusivity to the state’s federally recognized Indian tribes with a gaming compact. Sports betting would be prohibited otherwise.

– Arkansas
With voters passing legalized sports betting on November 6, 2018, Arkansas will soon be moving to the list above. Applications for sports betting operators will begin being accepted in June 2019.

– California
A constitutional amendment was introduced in 2017 to allow sports wagering only upon a change in federal law, which happened. However, it faces an uphill battle if previous online poker bill introductions are any indication.

– Connecticut
A formal bill to allow comprehensive sports betting was introduced in 2018, resulting in no formal vote on it. A new bill HB 7731 was introduced early in 2019 focusing on allowing sports betting on mobile and through tribal casinos.

– Georgia
Legislation HR 380 initiates an amendment to the constitution through ballot referendum for sports betting legalization in Georgia.

– Illinois
Legislation was introduced in 2018 with amendments added in March 2019 providing four options on how to regulate it.

– Hawaii
Introduced House Bill 1104 authorizing a regulatory set up for sports gambling that would require oversight by a newly created Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation.

– Kansas
A new sports betting bill was introduced in January 2019 with multiple entities including sports leagues discussing ways to regulate it.

– Kentucky
Bill HB 175 was introduced in Feb 2019 that would allow for sports betting at either the Kentucky Speedway or one of the state’s horse racing tracks. Mobile betting would be allowed requiring users to download the app at one of those locations.

– Louisiana
Voting will take place in October 2019 after SB 153 was introduced to allow for Riverboat, Track, or Land-Based Casino sports betting. If approved operators could begin applying for permits in January of 2020.

– Maine
Seven sports betting legislative bills were introduced in January 2019.

– Maryland
A ballot referendum may potentially be voted on in 2020. However, state legislators are exploring a workaround that wouldn’t require a referendum through the state lottery.

– Massachusetts
One of the first to take on daily fantasy sports legalization is taking steps towards sports betting as well. Most recently, several new bills were introduced in January 2019 including a bill that would not require operators to license through a brick-and-mortar casino.

– Michigan
Legislation HB 4926 to develop a regulatory sports betting system was approved in 2018; however, it was vetoed by the state governor.

– Minnesota
A bill introduced in February 2019 would grant licenses to Indian tribes within the state, with mobile wagering requiring the device to be within the confines of the brick-and-mortar locations.

– Missouri
Bills introduced in 2018 did not advance. However, new sports betting bills were submitted in January 2019.

– New Hampshire
Bill 480, introduced in January 2019 to kick off in 2020, pushes for the establishment of a sports betting system within the lottery commission, features stipulation preventing college sports betting.

– New York
New Yorkers voted to expand casino gambling operations to sports betting in 2013 for four upstate casinos with nothing ever coming to fruition. New Bill 6113 was introduced in 2019 and also includes mobile and online betting.

– North Dakota
After initially voting down the bill, North Dakota House of Representatives passed sports betting legislation HB 1252, authorizing sports betting as a game of chance. It’s now with the state Senate for approval.

– Ohio
Introduced in March 2019, SB 111 would allow sports betting under license with ability to operate online as well as within brick-and-mortar locations.

– Oklahoma
A 2018 bill to legalize sports betting as part of an expansion to the tribal gaming compact received no action upon session closing.

– Oregon
Oregon was one of five states exempted from PASPA, limited to lottery pools. HB 2288 was introduced in Jan 2019 to create regulations on how to distribute net proceeds from sports betting. Mobile betting would be part of the rollout.

– North Carolina
Current house (HB 302) and Senate (SB 154) bills would legalize sports betting, though restricted to tribal casinos.

– South Carolina
A joint bill, SB 57 and HB 3404, was introduced in January 2019 to bring amendment of state constitution to allow sports gambling up for a ballot referendum.

– South Dakota
Over 25 lawmakers submitted a joint resolution to include sports betting on the ballot for 2020.

– Tennessee
Various motions have been introduced in 2019 including HB 1 which includes mobile wagering.

– Texas
Regulations bill, HB 1275, authorizing mobile and online sports betting was submitted in February 2019 requiring operators to attain a permit and pay a fee.

– Virginia
SB 1126 allowing Lottery Board oversight of sports betting was officially signed into law on March 2019. Locations would be limited and betting on Virginia-based colleges would be prohibitive.

– Washington D.C.
Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 was signed into law on January 23, 2019, and expected to roll out sometime in the summer. Sports betting will begin with brick-and-mortar venues such as Capitol One Arena whom announced a sportsbook inside the arena. Mobile wagering will not be part of this initial launch; next year is more likely.

– Washington State
Two sports betting bills were introduced in February 2019. HB 1975 limits sports betting to tribal casinos while HB 1992 would only permit betting onsite at licensed horse race tracks. Neither allows for statewide mobile wagering. However, HB 1975 would only allow it within the tribal casinos.


States that have not taken any action towards sports betting legalization

This list of states prohibit sports betting and do not have any current bills aimed at legalizing sports betting.

– Alaska
– Colorado
– Florida
– Idaho
– Nebraska
– Utah
– Vermont
– Wisconsin
– Wyoming

In less than a year since the supreme court’s ruling, as outlined above, most states have moved quickly on this issue. With so many moving parts and legislation throughout the country, this list will look very different a year from, with more states allowing sports betting.