Legal US Sports Betting – State by State

Legal and live Bills passed but not live yet

In May 2018, the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This opened the door for US states to pass their own legislation to authorize sports betting.

PASPA gave Nevada permission to continue the sports betting that it was already operating, so it has not required any new legislation.

Six other US states have jumped into the fray with their own sports betting legislation. Many more will pass new gaming laws in 2019.

Current list of states with legal sports betting

The following states all have legal sports betting in some form:

California and possibly another 20 states should follow in 2020 or later, according to predictions made by Kindred.

US Betting States Roadmap
By Henrik Tjärnström, CEO on 26 October 2018

What sports betting is allowed in each state?

Following the PASPA ban we are going to see each state progress in different way where local lawmakers decide on what type of betting will be available to the locals.

Murphy v. NCAA
Justice Alito delivers opinion in Murphy v. NCAA – source:

As Justice Alito puts it when delivering the courts opinionAmericans have never been of one mind about gambling” and this is as true today as it has ever been.


Nevada law imposes one of the lowest sports betting tax rates in the world—just 6.75 percent.

Nevada Gambling Tax
Nevada Gaming Commission – License Fees and Tax Rate Schedule

Unsurprisingly the gaming laws are extremely permissive, but counter-balanced by strict and highly competent oversight by the Nevada Gaming Commission and Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The regulators have broad latitude as to what game types are allowed. Not only is sports betting allowed in the many casinos, but customers can also bet on virtual sports and esports.

Online sports betting, casino and poker are available, but sports bettors must register for an account at a casino.

Most casinos offer live sports betting, either at a teller window or an automated kiosk. The first online sports betting app launched in 2010.

Sports Betting Kiosk Nevada
Punter betting in kiosks in Nevada

Now there are 8 online sports betting options and between them they take between 50 percent and 70 percent of all sports betting action.


Delaware has a population of less than a million, but it was the first state to introduce regulated sports betting on June 5, 2018.

Three horsetrack/casinos, known as racinos are licensed to accept sports bets:

  • Delaware Park
  • Dover Downs
  • Harrington Raceway
In the line to bet at Delaware Park Casino

The introduction of sports betting has doubled gambling revenue in the state.

The Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement has not yet authorized online gambling. The state authorized online gambling in 2013, so there is no legal bar to launching online sports betting.

It appears that the regulator is watching to see how live sports betting works out before giving the racinos authorization to launch online sports betting.

Online poker is provided through a state mandated monopoly. Currently 888 has the contract. That puts 888 in pole position to win any contract for online sports betting. 888 is already operating online sports betting in New Jersey.

New Jersey

New Jersey was second to launch state-regulated sports betting on June 14, 2018. There are currently 9 locations offering live sports betting.

The next to open will be the Hard Rock Atlantic City which is also one of the newest casinos in the state.

It is expected to launch its sports book early in 2019 and last year we noted a contract between GIG and Hard Rock City International:

Hard Rock City sign sports betting contract

Two of the most successful sports books in the state are at racetracks. Monmouth Park actually took the first legal sports bet in New Jersey.

Governor Phil Murphy wagered $20 on Germany to win the soccer World Cup and $20 on the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup in 2019.

Phil Murphy bets at Monmouth Park Racetrack

The other racetrack sportsbook is at the Meadowlands little more than half an hour’s drive from central Manhattan.

There are 8 online sports betting apps available, and unlike Nevada customers can sign up online.


The old riverboat gambling traditions of Mississippi are alive and well. 23 of 28 licensed casinos currently offer sports betting.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians launched sports betting at the Pearl River Resort in September. The first tribal casino to get into the sports betting market.

Eric Johansen – first person to place a bet at Pearl River Resort

Unfortunately the new gaming laws do not allow online gambling outside of casino premises.


Pennsylvania was early to the starting gate with its new gaming laws. However, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has taken a measured approach to regulating live sports betting and online gaming.

The first sportsbook opened in November at the Hollywood Casino on the Penn National Race Course. The Sugarhouse and Rivers casinos joined with their live sports betting offering on December 13.

A total of 8 casinos have agreed to pay the $10 million license fee which authorizes both live and online sports betting.

The remaining casinos will launch sports betting in early 2019. Harrah’s forecasting a go-live date was sometime in January 2019 – in the end they went live just before Super Bowl.

Harrah’s open sports betting

No online sports betting is yet available. The regulator and the casinos are taking a cautious approach to bed in their live sports betting first.

Earliest launch date for online sports betting is the first quarter of 2019, but some are likely to delay until later.

West Virginia

Three casinos have sports betting up and running in West Virginia:

  • Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
  • The Greenbrier
  • Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort

Fanduel provides the Greenbriar operation. Fanduel is better known for its Daily Fantasy Sports business. William Hill powers the other two sports betting facilities.

Two more casinos opened sports betting operations in December 2018:

  • Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
  • Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack
Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in Wheeling and Mardi Gras Casino & Resort

West Virginia gambling is regulated by the state lottery. Online and mobile sports betting is legal, but no operator has yet launched.

Expect announcements of the first online sportsbooks early in 2019, although the Hollywood Casino might just get its mobile app out before the end of the year.

Rhode Island

Sports betting in Rhode Island is restricted to just two casinos. The Twin River Casino opened first, on November 26, shortly followed by its sister business, the Tiverton Casino Hotel.

All legal sports betting is operated by the state lottery.

Exract from Rhose Island Lottery Annual Fiscal Report 2018

In an unusual arrangement, the state takes 51 percent of sports betting revenue with the sole technology providers IGT and William Hill taking 32 percent. That leaves the casinos with just 17 percent of revenues.

The new gaming laws don’t allow online or mobile sports betting. There is some indication that this may change in the future. Until then sports betting in Rhode Island will require a trip to the casino.

New Mexico

New Mexico has only two casino where sports betting is allowed. The Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel opened its sportsbook for business on October 16, followed by the Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino in Santa Fe just before Super Bowl, 2019.

Another unusual situation, as New Mexico has not passed new laws authorizing sports betting.

Both Santa Ana Star and Buffalo Thunder are tribal land. The state compact between New Mexico and the tribal groups permits the tribal members to offer sports betting even without a new state laws.

No online sports betting is available.

Major League Sports Betting

So, if you are interesting in placing a wager on sports, here are some of the more popular sports punters bet on in the U.S.

Many betting options available in Delaware (Image: AP)


The National Football League, commonly referred to simply as the NFL, is the highest level of professional American football in the world. Nothing compares to the excitement of the NFL. The sights, the sounds, the extravagant half-time shows during the season-ended Super Bowl, NFL is most certainly one of the best spectators sports in the world.

Patriots winning the superbowl 2019
Patriots winning the Super Bowl 2019

Featuring 32 teams, a typical NFL season takes place over 17-weeks from early September to late December with each time playing 16 games and having one bye week. Once the regular season concludes, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs that culminates in the Super Bowl, usually held on the first Sunday in February.

One of the great features of the NFL is the sheer number of betting opportunities that it creates. Popular bets include the moneyline bets where you predict the outcome of the game, NFL totals where you bet the final score will go over or under a predetermined amount.

Other popular NFL bets include prop bets, such as how many passing yards or touchdowns a quarterback will make; these are extremely popular during the Super Bowl where online bookmakers almost always have several special offers.

Parlay bets are also common in NFL betting, as are futures, the latter revolving around something that will happen in the future like winner of a particular conference, a team reaching the playoffs and the team who wins the Super Bowl.


The National Hockey League, abbreviated to NHL, is the best professional ice hockey league in North America. Thirty-one teams currently compete (24 from the United States and seven from Canada) from early October through early April, during which time they play 82-games.

Like NFL and NBA, the NHL consists of a regular season where 16 teams qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs, an elimination tournament featuring three rounds of best-of-seven matches. The top team from each conference then advances to the final round, better-known as the Stanley Cup.

Capitals winning Stanley Cup 2018
Capitals winning Stanley Cup 2018

Betting on NHL gives you ample opportunities to place wagers thanks to the massive number of matches taking place during the season. You can make NHL prop bets based on teams, individual games, and season outcomes. Other NHL bets that are popular are the futures market, parlay betting and Live Betting where you can place bets while the action unfolds in front of you.

NHL betting on individual matches differs from other American sports in there are two types. There is the moneyline where you simply predict the outcome of the game and the Puck Line, also known as the Canadian line, where the favored team is normally given a spread of 1.5 goals.


Those of you who love basketball betting have to check out the National Basketball Association, otherwise known as the NBA, thanks to there being so many matches to bet on during a season. Thirty-teams battle it out on the court for 82 games during regular season before the top eight teams in each conference progress to the NBA Playoffs in late April.

Like the NHL, the NBA playoffs play out in a tournament format in a best-of-seven series with the tournament culminating in the NBA Finals, held annually in June.

Golden State Warriors wins 2018
Golden State Warriors wins 2018

NBA lends itself to betting and there are dozens of different bets to make during a typical game or season. The most popular NBA bets are the points spread bets where the favored team starts with a points deficit that they have to win by in order for your bet to pay out. These points spread bets even up the teams and generally sees both teams start at the same price.

Moneyline betting is a straight bet on the outcome of the game where the favored team will have a shorter price than the less fancied teams. Also look for NBA Total bets where you bet on the over/under of a predetermined overall points tally in the game, prop bets, parlay bets and futures bets such as who the NBA MVP will be, the winner of each conference and the overall NBA Finals champions.


One of the oldest American sports is Major League Baseball, or MLB. If you thought the NBA played a lot of games during a season, wait until you check out MLB betting because those guys manage to fit in 162 regular season games between the first Sunday in April and the first Sunday in October! Imagine how much MLB betting you can do!

Ten teams progress to the postseason playoffs once the regular season is completed and four rounds are played culminating in the World Series a best-of-seven series between the pennant winners in each league.

Red Sox Wins MLD World Series
Red Sox Wins MLD World Series

MLB Run Line betting is popular with sports bettors because it gives the favored team a run deficit it must make up in order for the bet to pay out, evening the game significantly. You can also bet on the MLB moneyline which is a straight bet on who will win the game, parlay betting where you choose several teams to win, prop betting and futures betting.