United States Legal Online Sports Betting – Where and How to Play, US Sportsbook Info

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United States Federal Online Sports Betting Legislation

To tell the tale of online sports betting legislation in the United States, we start in Nevada, way back in 1931. On March 19, 1931, Nevada Governor Fred Balzar signed Bill 98 into law, which legalized gambling for the first time in any US state’s history. This put Nevada, and more specifically, Las Vegas, on the path to becoming the sports betting destination we know today.

So why was Nevada the only state in the US where people could legally bet on sports for nearly a century?

First, that’s not quite true. There is one state that had something in common with Nevada: Delaware. While no other state offered legal sports betting until 2018, Delaware featured parlays of three or more NFL games. Still, Nevada was entirely on its own in offering full-scale sports betting.

For the reasons why sports betting remained sequestered in Nevada until 2018, enter the Big Bad in this story: the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, better known as PASPA. In 1992, PASPA – a law put in place by the US federal government in order to curtail corrupt sports gambling – essentially banned sports betting across the US, except in states where it already existed (Nevada and Delaware).

When Congress voted PASPA into law, there was a clause which gave states that operated casinos a one-year window during which they could pass legislation to allow sports betting. Many states, especially ones like New Jersey with an existing gambling infrastructure, rued the day they failed take advantage of the carve out – for the next 25 years.

Nevertheless, 17 years after PASPA, the battle for online sports betting in the US began. In 2009, Senator Ray Lesniak rallied support to question the constitutionality of PASPA. In 2011, a constitutional amendment that would allow sports betting in New Jersey was given the thumbs up by 64% of voters. Soon after, Lesniak introduced the Sports Wagering Act, the first step toward fully legalized NJ sports betting.

In 2012, New Jersey lawmakers approved the Sports Wagering Act, which Governor Chris Christie signed into law. Progress stalled, however, when the the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA sued Christie and New Jersey in order to prevent legalized sports betting.

2013 was a bad year for the fight against PASPA. A judge ruled in favor of the leagues, and PASPA was upheld. Every appeal yielded the same result, and the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear the case.

In 2014, Christie switched tactics by proposing to end New Jersey’s self-imposed ban on sports betting. Christie claimed that because there would be no regulation by the state, it didn’t violate PASPA. He introduced and signed the bill, and by October, 2016, New Jersey casinos began preparing to launch sportsbooks.

When the professional sport leagues didn’t back down, New Jersey’s Sports Wagering Act was denied a second time by both the US District Court and Third Circuit Court. In a surprising and encouraging move, SCOTUS agreed to hear the case – a massive turning point for New Jersey, and for online sports betting in the US.

On December 4, 2017, oral arguments were heard in the officially named Murphy vs. NCAA case. By all accounts, the hearings went extremely well for the pro-sports betting side, and optimism swelled. In May 2018, SCOTUS announced a 6-3 win for Murphy and New Jersey, striking down PASPA once and for all, and paving the way for legal online sports betting in the United States.

State-by-State US Online Sports Betting Update

For the purposes of this page, states will be classified as in the following ways:

PLACE YOUR BETS! – State offers full-scale sports betting, both live and online

HALFWAY THERE – State offers full-scale live sports betting with online sportsbooks pending the approval of state regulations

GETTING CLOSER – State does not yet offer sports betting but is working on legislation and/or regulations

UP IN THE AIR – State’s plans regarding sports betting are in flux

PLACE YOUR BETS!

Pennsylvania

On October 30, 2018, Tom Wolf signed a sports betting bill into law, leaving only PASPA in the way of legal sports betting in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is typically in no rush to get anything moving but on November 16, 2018, Hollywood Casino took the first legal sports bet in Pennsylvania. Since then, seven other sportsbooks have opened their doors.

After a series of delays, on June 1st, 2019, SugarHouse PA made history when they launched the first online sportsbook in Pennsylvania. Since then, Parx, Rivers and the number one online sportsbook in NJ, FanDuel have all gone live with up to 5 more launching over the next few months.

Heres a look at where you can place your bets in PA:

App/Mobile SportsbookCasino PartnerSports Betting Service ProviderLaunch Date
SugarHouseSugarHouseKambiJune 1, 2019
FanDuel
Valley Forge CasinoFanDuelJuly 22, 2019
FOX Bet Mount Airy Casino ResortFOX Bet / The Stars GroupSeptember 5, 2019
BetRivers
RiversKambiJune 25, 2019
ParxParxKambiJune 24, 2019
DraftKingsHollywood Casino at Penn NationalDraftKingsNovember 4, 2019
Harrah's PhiladelphiaHarrah's PhiladelphiaScientific GamesComing Soon
BetMGMIndependent licenseGVC HoldingsComing Soon
UnibetMohegan SunKambiNovember 13, 2019

Nevada

Sports betting has legally existed in Nevada since 1931. But it wasn’t until 1982, when the federal government further reduced its tax rate all the way down to 0.25%, that sports betting in Nevada flourished. The modern-era of sportsbooks dawned in 1986 when The Hilton opened its Superbook, full of luxurious seats and many large TVs. This site is now Westgate, which is home to what is widely recognized as the best sportsbook in Las Vegas.

Sports betting in Nevada in 2018 is alive and well, despite PASPA no longer blocking other states. Almost every casino in Las Vegas has a sportsbook, with many of them featuring large, stadium-like areas with large screens and plush seating areas.

Las Vegas has also embraced the Digital Age, with many sportsbooks offering online sports betting. Some operators are boasting that between 25-50% of their handle comes from apps. No matter how or where you like to bet on sports, Las Vegas is still the sports betting capital of the US.

Here are some of the online sports betting operators in Nevada:

Site/AppSports Betting Service Provider
Station Casinos – STN SportsMiomni
MGM Resorts – PlayMGMIGT
CG TechnologyCG Technology
William HillWilliam Hill
NV Sports BooksWilliam Hill
Boyd Gaming – B-Connected SportsMiomni
Golden NuggetMiomni
Westgate – SuperBookMiomni
Caesars EntertainmentMiomni
Treasure IslandMiomni
South PointWilliam Hill
WynnMiomni

New Jersey

Online sports betting in the United States is now legal thanks in large part to New Jersey and its lawmakers. In May 2018, the SCOTUS announced a 6-3 win for New Jersey in the Murphy vs NCAA case, thus striking down PASPA once and for all and opening up the online sports betting floodgates.

Shortly after the ruling, New Jersey unanimously passed a new sports betting bill and Gov. Phil Murphy signed it into law. NJ sports betting officially went live on June 14, 2018. The Governor officially launched sports betting in New Jersey by placing $20 on Germany to win the World Cup (what a fail!), and $20 on the New Jersey Devils to win the 2019 Stanley Cup (that’s a lot of pressure on Taylor Hall!).

According to the bill, online sports betting in New Jersey was legal 30 days after June 14, although DraftKings Sportsbook – the first operator to offer NJ online sports betting – did not launch until August 2018.

Here is the current state of online sports betting in New Jersey:

Site/AppCasino/Racetrack Partner(s)Sports Betting Service ProviderLaunch Date
888 SportCaesarsKambiSeptember 10, 2018
Bally’sBally’s ACScientific GamesTBD
bet365Hard Rock ACbet365Summer 2019
BetStarsResorts ACSBTechSeptember 13, 2018
Borgata Online SportsbookThe Borgata ACGVCMay 14, 2019
CaesarsCaesars ACScientific GamesSeptember 6, 2018
Churchill DownsGolden Nugget ACSBTechTBD
DraftKingsResorts ACKambiAugust 6, 2018
FanDuelMeadowlandsFanDuel GroupSeptember 1, 2018
Harrah’sHarrah’s ACScientific GamesTBD
Kindred GroupHard Rock ACKindred GroupJanuary 27, 2019
BetMGMThe Borgata ACIGTAugust 22, 2018
SugarHouseMonmouth ParkKambiAugust 23, 2018
William HillMonmouth ParkWilliam HillSeptember 1, 2018

HALFWAY THERE

West Virginia

On March 3, 2018, West Virginia legalized sports betting, which meant when PASPA was finally struck down in May 2018, the state was in position to offer full-scale sports betting relatively quickly.

On August 30, the first official sports bet in West Virginia was made at Hollywood Casino Charles Town Races – a $50 wager on West Virginia to win the 2019 NCAA championship game.

Current West Virginia law permits online sports betting, and regulations are in place. BetLucky.com is the only online site to take bets, but all online betting was suddenly halted when complications arose with their gaming supplier, Miomni. However, with the September 13 launch of the FanDuel Sportsbook inside The Greenbrier, mobile sports betting in West Virginia is about to get a lot more exciting.

Delaware

On June 5, 2018, Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to accept a single-game sports bet when Governor John Carney placed $10 wager on the Philadelphia Phillies to beat the Chicago Cubs.

Delaware has three casinos that offer sports betting – Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington. Currently, there are no legislative details for online sports betting in Delaware. Lawmakers have said they are in no rush to get into the online sports betting market and are focused on ensuring the casino sports books are functioning efficiently. That said, it wouldn’t be surprising to see online regulations begin to take shape in the coming months.

Mississippi

On August 1, the state of Mississippi began accepting sports bets. Sports betting in Mississippi must take place in one if its land or water-based casinos. Beau Rivage, Gold Strike, Sam’s Town, Horseshoe and IP Casino are among the first casinos taking sports bets in Mississippi.

Currently, gambling and sports betting in Mississippi must take place on the physical presence of a casino. Some casino have electronic betting, but it is limited to patrons on the premises. Online and mobile sports betting in Mississippi is coming at some point, but there are no immediate plans. Early attempts in 2019 failed with hopes of talks to heat up as the new congressional year starts soon.

Indiana

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill that allows both retail and online sports betting in Indiana. Operators and regulators have said that their plan is launch retail sports betting on September 1st, just in time for the NFL season.

Rhode Island

When Governor Gina Raimondo signed off on Rhode Island’s 2018 budget, people took notice that it contained language that would allow retail sports betting, but not online. Rhode Island has since passed an expansion in March 2019 that allows mobile betting as well and hope to launch as soon as possible.

New York

In 2013, New York passed a law that legalized sports betting at four on-site locations, but this bill lay dormant due to the presence of PASPA. After the fall of PASPA, legislation for legal sports betting in New York was tabled, but surprisingly, it failed to pass in 2018.

In 2019, we finally saw some good news in New York as two sportsbooks have been able to open their doors. Rivers Sportsbook at Schnectady and FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs began taking bets, but nothing yet on the online front. Only time will tell if New York will see how important online/mobile betting is to create a thriving sports betting market.

GETTING CLOSER

Illinois

Illinois has passed legislation legalizing both retail and online sports betting in early 2019, but we are still awaiting the Governor’s signature. Illinois is aiming for a late 2019/early 2020 launch for retail sports betting.

Tennessee

In April 2019, Tennessee passed legislation to allow mobile only sports betting. Originally slated to be a live and online bill, legislators decided that the mobile only option was the best bet for the state. There is no set start date but hope for a late 2019 launch, but will likely be closer to 2020.

Colorado

Colorado is moving right along down the path to legal sports betting. A bill has passed through the general assembly in April 2019, but in order for the bill to become law, it would have to become a ballot measure that is voted on by the citizens of Colorado. This vote can take place in November 2019. This bill would allow for live and online sports betting.

Iowa

Iowa passed a bill that would allow for online and live sports betting in the Hawkeye State. This bill would require in person registration for mobile/online until 2021 and doesn’t allow NCAA prop bets. We could see a 2019 launch, possibly before football season.

UP IN THE AIR

Connecticut

In 2018, Connecticut lawmakers introduced a wide-ranging sports betting bill. The state heard oral arguments from various interested parties, representatives from the NBA and MLB among them. Despite a strong group of supporters, legislative sessions concluded without a formal vote on the sports betting bill. Governor Dannel Malloy, who would like to see the bill to completion, has suggested that he will call a special session of the state legislature to continue working towards legal sports betting in Connecticut.

United States Online Sports Betting FAQs

Is sports betting currently legal in the United States?

As of May, 2018 – the month the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA – individual states are now free to pass legislation that would legalize sports betting.

Thus far, Nevada, New Jersey, West Virginia, Delaware Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Mississippi have launched legal and regulated sports betting.

Where can bettors in the United States bet on sports?

The first avenue for a state to get into the sports betting market is thru its existing land or water-based casinos. Any state looking to legalize sports betting will start with brick and mortar sportsbooks.

From there, mobile apps and online sportsbooks will follow, much to the delight of punters everywhere. However, there are two main hurdles for online sports betting in the United States.

First, states must determine online sports betting license fees, tax rates and regulations. Some states are flying through this process (New Jersey) while others, like New York, are struggling.

The other thing sports fans and bettors should know is that due to the Federal Wire Act of 1961, online sportsbooks are prohibited from accepting out-of-state wagers. Sports betting in each individual state is completely tethered to its lawmakers and regulators, which is why it’s so important to discover and report in this news, like we do here at RotoGrinders!

Which US states currently have online sports betting?

Nevada has many sports betting apps, but accounts and deposits are tied to physical casinos.

West Virginia launched and suddenly halted taking mobile bets on BetLucky.com due to betting supplier issues. FanDuel has opened up its sportsbook on The Greenbrier property and is in the process of launching a mobile product.

The only states that have full online and live sports betting are Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We’ve reviewed the following online sportsbooks and sports betting apps, which are live in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

New Jersey Online Sportsbooks:

Pennsylvania Online Sportsbooks

What kind of sports bets are legal to place in the US?

The following types of bets are likely to be accepted in any US states that legalize and regulate online sports betting:

Point Spread
Moneyline
Over/Under (Totals)
Parlays
Teasers
Props
Futures
In-Play

Do DFS sites offer sports betting?

Yes, both FanDuel and DraftKings have online sportsbooks up and running in New Jersey. FanDuel has an online sportsbook live in Pennsylvania.

FanDuel, which became The FanDuel Group when it was bought by Betfair US, recently opened its physical sportsbook in West Virginia (at The Greenbrier) and is likely to launch online sports betting in the near future.

Boston based DraftKings, who is partnered with Resorts for its online sportsbook in New Jersey, recently announced plans to open offices in New York, California and Las Vegas. Needless to say, it’s clear DraftKings has its eyes on a country-wide sports betting expansion.

About the Author

  • JD McNamara (jmcnamara)

  • JD McNamara is the founder of Content Aces (so he writes a lot of things for the Internet). He is a poker player, DFSer and sports bettor who is a huge fan of the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs.