History of Sports Betting in the United States

Sports betting became allowed in the United States in June 2018 – almost two years after it was first proposed. According to the Justice Department, sports betting was illegal under the 1992 Pro and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), but individual states now have the choice to allow sports betting in their jurisdictions.

Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and Nevada were among the states that were grandfathered in, rendering them immune from the PASPA decision. These states already had sports lotteries in place, and Nevada, of course, was home to Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world, where sportsbooks were already in operation.

In 2009, Senator Raymond Lesniak launched a lawsuit against PASPA, alleging that the legislation was discriminatory against the 46 states that were not given the opportunity to be grandfathered in. The case was eventually dismissed, but the fight to repeal PASPA continued. Unsurprisingly, the NCAA and professional sports organizations fought tooth and nail to keep sports betting from being legalized in the United States.

The Supreme Court declared PASPA illegal in a 7-2 decision in May 2018 after a lengthy and drawn-out legal fight. Now, each state has the authority to authorize sports betting, subject to its own set of laws and restrictions. Although not all states will follow suit, we are seeing significant progress in the legalization of sports betting throughout the United States.

Several sportsbooks are opting for internet platforms, while others are sticking with traditional retail or brick-and-store sportsbooks. Sports betting tax income is being scrutinized by state authorities, who are witnessing the benefits of legalized sports betting, which has generated millions of dollars in revenue for several in their first year of operation.

States in the United States where Sports Betting is Legal


Arkansas became the ninth state in the United States to allow and regulate betting when it approved and started sports betting in July of this year. You may now make bets at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas, which is located in the state of Arkansas.rocky mountain cliff during day


In May 2020, the state of Colorado will legalize betting in the state. They have chosen to go the mobile sports betting way, with four different providers to choose from. They want to open retail sportsbooks in the future, but it was difficult to start in the middle of the COVID-19 epidemic, which is still ongoing.


Although Delaware already had the authorization to accept sports bets, the state acted quickly after PASPA was overturned to establish sports betting at three casinos, with plans to expand to include mobile sports betting shortly as well.


Illinois, the 15th state to allow betting, got off to a shaky start because of the state’s inconvenient timing – a pandemic began one week after the state’s retail sportsbooks opened their doors. COVID-19 forced the closure of most of the United States in March 2020, after the first wagers were made at Rivers Casino in March 2020.


Indiana became the latest state to allow sports betting in September of this year, which was a surprise to many people. Alternatively, you may place your wagers via your mobile device or at one of their authorized retail locations.

gray building surrounded by plants during golden hour


The state of Iowa legalized sports betting in August of this year, and the state will provide both retail sites and mobile betting – the only catch is that you will need to visit a retail store to set up your mobile betting account.


Michigan became the 16th state to allow sports betting only two days after Illinois, on March 11, 2020, making it the fastest state to legalize sports betting in the US. Their timing was also unfortunate, as the epidemic hit the United States and forced the closure of all retail sportsbooks. Their mobile device will not be available until 2021, according to the company.


Mississippi was yet another unexpected state to get on the sports betting bandwagon so early, and it was the first to do so. The company started taking sports bets in August 2018, less than three months after the PASPA ruling was reversed. The state now only provides sports betting via land-based casinos, with no plans to expand to mobile betting in the foreseeable future.


Within weeks of the pandemic outbreak, Montana introduced its sports wagering product in March 2020. You may make a bet at any of the Sports Bet Montana kiosks, which are located at licensed shops throughout the state of Montana.


While the repeal of PASPA had no meaningful impact on Nevada or Las Vegas, they have made some changes to their sportsbooks and online services in the last two years as a result of the ruling.

New Hampshire

Sports betting became legal in New Hampshire in July of this year, and the state’s first sportsbook opened shortly before the new year. They provide mobile betting services via a relationship with DraftKings Sportsbook, which is currently the sole mobile provider in the state.

New Jersey

It goes without saying that because New Jersey was the driving force for the repeal of the PASPA, they were the first state to allow sports betting in June 2018. They provide both traditional retail sportsbooks as well as a wide range of mobile betting alternatives. A large number of New Yorkers would cross the bridge to make a bet on the game.

people on river near concrete building during daytime
New Mexico

In August 2018, the state of New Mexico became the first state to legalize sports betting. New Mexico became the sixth state to legalize sports betting in its casinos in 2011. At this time, there are no plans to provide online betting services.

New York

After the New York State Gaming Commission took its time establishing legislation and regulations surrounding sports betting, the state of New York legalized sports betting in June of this year, even though the launch had been postponed. For the time being, they exclusively provide in-person betting in casinos.

aerial photography of body of water near city at daytime
North Carolina

Sports gambling in North Carolina was allowed in July of this year, but it is only available at the state’s two tribal casinos that are regulated by the state.


Oregon debuted its sports betting offering in August of this year, establishing a sportsbook at Chinook Winds Casino in the state’s capital city of Portland. They just recently launched mobile betting on the state lottery’s internet sportsbook in October of this year.


Pennsylvania legalized sports betting in August 2018, only a few months after the Supreme Court overturned the PASPA. They have a large number of retail sportsbooks across the state, and their mobile betting platform was just established one year ago, in June of this year. Our smallest state was one among the first to allow sports betting after the repeal of PASPA, starting in August 2018. In September of this year, they rapidly expanded their service to include mobile betting.


Tennessee approved sports betting in May of this year, and the state expects to begin accepting bets on sporting events in September 2020, with licenses for sportsbooks being granted in July of that year.


Sports bettors were able to make wagers as early as January 2021, although they were not permitted to wager on college sports played in Virginia. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has completed the implementation of its legal sports betting law, which was passed in August of 2020.

West Virginia

West Virginia legalized sports betting in the state in August 2018, and just a few short months later, they expanded their offering to include internet betting via the Fetlock app.

Which states are the most unlikely to legalize sports betting in the future?

While we believe that many states will allow sports betting shortly, we believe that there may be a few states that will continue to oppose legalization forever. Utah, with its huge Mormon population and stringent state regulations, is the primary state we think will never legalize marijuana.

selective focus photography of three books beside opened notebook

Hawaii and Alaska are outliers who are unlikely to legalize sports betting either, as they are not part of the continental United States and have such a vested interest in tourism revenue that they will not seek the sports betting tax revenue. Hawaii and Alaska are also outliers who are unlikely to legalize sports betting either, as they are not part of the continental United States and have such a vested interest in tourism revenue that they will not seek the sports betting tax revenue.

South Dakota, Wisconsin, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Nebraska, and Wyoming are among the states that we believe may be leaning more toward not legalizing marijuana or delaying legalization for an extended period.

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Have you got an idea about why Las Vegas (aka sportsbooks) always wins in sports betting? Please let us know in the comments!

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