Sports betting in the US is now permitted in the following states:
- Arizona – Arizona legalized online sports betting as of September 2021. Wagering on college sports is still not permitted, however.
- Colorado – From May 2020, all sports betting is legal provided it’s at a licensed sportsbook, either online or in-person.
- Illinois – On June 3, 2019, Illinois lawmakers pushed legal sports betting through the state legislature as part of a large capital bill. In late June 2020, the first online betting sites were up.
- Indiana – In September 2019, the Hoosier State became the 13th state in the United States to legalize sports betting and the second in the Midwest. Indiana signed its sports wagering bill into law on May 8, 2019.
- Iowa – As of 2019, residents of Iowa can bet on all professional sports, college games, and international sporting events.
- Michigan – In December of 2019, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approved a law authorizing online sports betting, making Michigan the sixth state to do so. People can now sign up to online casinos in MI as well as sports betting sites.
- New Hampshire – After enacting a law in 2019 allowing bets to be placed in person at different retail locations as well as wagering with online sportsbooks, New Hampshire joined the list of states with legalized sports betting.
- New Jersey – New Jersey helped beat the federal law against sports betting and was one of the first states to allow online and in-person bets on sport. The state allowed online betting from August 2018.
- Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania’s first online sportsbook opened on May 28, 2019. Betting is now available in the state, both in retail places and online.
- Tennessee – After going live on November 1, 2020, mobile and online sports betting is officially allowed in Tennessee. Currently, retail sports betting is still against the law in the state, with no plans to change things.
- Virginia – Sports betting became legal in Virginia in April 2020, and as of January 2021, anybody over the age of 21 can place a legal sports bet at licensed betting sites in the state.
- West Virginia – In August of that year, the first retail sportsbook opened its doors, and in December of that year, West Virginia became the third state in the United States to authorize online sports betting.
- Wyoming – Wyoming legalized sports betting on September 1, 2021. The activity was legalized by the state in March, signed into law by the governor in April, and the first bets were placed in September. Wyoming allows sports betting both online and in person.
Why Did the US Ban Sports Betting?
Sports betting was banned in the US by federal law since 1992, and it wasn’t until 2018 that this decision was finally overturned. As a result, states have been free to change their own laws on sports betting, and all of the above states have decided to regulate and control the sports betting market.
Sports betting was a popular pastime in the US throughout the history of the country, with horse racing first established in 1665. Betting on horse races was extremely popular throughout the 1700s and 1800s. However, by the early 1900s, it had been banned across the country. Pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing took off instead, where bettors would place bets against one another rather than against the bookmaker. This practice continued across states where horse racing was still popular, but gambling on other sports gained an unsavory reputation.
A huge scandal at the 1919 World Series, where White Sox players attempted to fix the game for a gambling syndicate, gave a bad rep to the sports betting industry. Other scandals involving organized crime led to the application of the Wire Act of 1961, which attempted to ban gambling.
In the 1970s, a government-funded survey found that around two-thirds of the country took part in gambling while 80% of the population approved of gambling. At this point, it was seen as inevitable, but most sports leagues argued that it led to a lack of integrity and trust in sports.
As a result, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 was signed. PASPA federally banned all forms of sports betting, although states were allowed to request to continue sports betting. In total, PASPA outlawed sports betting in 46 states, while Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware were allowed to still offer some betting.