Where Is Sports Betting Legal in the US?

In a historic move, the Supreme Court of the United States lifted in mid-May a long-standing ban on wagering on professional and college sports leagues, known as PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992). The ruling authorized individual states to legalize sports betting, if they feel inclined to do so.

The SCOTUS decision thus paved the way for the formation of a legal sports betting industry that could be worth well over $150 billion in terms of turnover. It also marked the beginning of a race that saw several states legalize sports betting days and weeks after the ruling and launch legal sports betting services at dedicated facilities. Aside from Nevada, where sports gambling was legal even after the introduction and approval of the PASPA legislation, there are now four more states to comprise the United State’ legal sports betting field. Several more are expected to join the mix in the following months, and a number of others are expected to follow suit next year and in the next few years.

While it is too early to say how the nation’s nascent sports betting market is performing, it should be said that it is a market of great potential and with the proper legislation, selection of offering and customer incentives, and advertising, it could turn into a behemoth gambling field.

Where can a person bet legally on sports in the US? The latest industry report by the team behind Casino News Daily aims to present its readers with that valuable information.


It was Delaware to win the race and become the first state to launch full-fledged sports betting services after the mid-May SCOTUS ruling. Its three licensed casino operators – Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway & Casino, and Dover Downs Hotel & Casino – went live with single-game sports wagering offering on June 5.

Here it is important to note that Delaware previously offered parlay wagering via its state-run Lottery. Following the lifting of the federal ban on sports gambling, the state’s gambling venues now offer fixed-odds bets on different sporting events as well as point spread and money-line bets.

It took only days after the US Supreme Court announced that states would be able to legalize sports betting that the Delaware Attorney General said there was no legal obstacle before the state to begin offering full-scale betting services.

According to the latest financial report by the Delaware Lottery, the state’s legal sportsbook handled almost $23 million in sports bets in the period between June 5 and August 26. Revenue from the three sports betting facilities amounted to a little over $2 million during the reviewed period.

Sports betting handle at Delaware Park accounted for around two-thirds of the whole. The facility processed the amount of $16.3 million in wagers and generated revenue of $1.5 million.

With both the NFL and college football seasons now under way, it is believed that betting activity will ramp up activity at the three sportsbooks and will bring additional revenue.

It is also important to note that mobile betting apps are, too, expected to be launched at some point in future, but essential details regarding that important step are still under discussion by state regulators.

New Jersey

New Jersey was the state to lead the anti-PASPA effort. It took state lawmakers years of lobbying and searching for supporters of its cause as well as of legal battles until the US Supreme Court agreed to take on the sports betting case.

Following the annulment of the ban, New Jersey legislators passed the necessary legislation for the legalization of wagering on amateur and professional sports leagues within the matter of weeks. First legal sports bets were accepted in the state on June 14 at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City and the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport.

More gambling venues on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk followed suit and launched sports betting services at dedicated on-site sportsbooks. The Meadowlands Racetrack, too, went live with a sportsbook in mid-July to compete for a share of the state’s sports betting pie.

Online betting services and mobile apps allowing bettors to wager anywhere on the state territory were also launched as part of the ongoing expansion of New Jersey’s gambling industry. The state’s existing casino and racetrack operators have joined forces with major international companies, including William Hill and The Stars Group, to take advantage of their experience in the sports betting and digital gambling fields and reap as much benefits as possible from the newly legalized wagering activities.

According to information from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the state’s sportsbook handled the total amount of $152.7 million in wagers in the period between June 14 and August 31.

A recent report by gambling research house Eilers & Krejcik Gaming stated that the New Jersey sports gambling field could overtake Nevada’s established betting market by 2021. It is to be seen whether that point will prove true, but Eilers & Krejcik analysts believe that market channelization, partnerships with big industry names, and attractive promotions could help the nascent New Jersey market to become the main driver of growth in the United States sports betting field.


The Magnolia State became the third one to launch legal sports betting in the months after the PASPA annulment. Its wagering legislation came into force on July 21 and it was on August 1 when the state’s first sportsbooks opened doors and accepted first sports bets.

According to information from the Mississippi Gaming Commission from earlier this month, sports betting facilities processed nearly $10 million in wagers during the first full month of legal sports betting on the state’s territory.

September figures are expected to be significantly higher as the NFL and college football are in full swing. Gaming Commission Deputy Director Jay McDaniel has told local media that the state’s more than 20 sportsbooks saw betting handle of $17.8 million in the period between September 1-19.

It is also interesting to note that Mississippi was the first state where a tribal sportsbook opened doors outside Nevada. It was late last month when the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians launched its sports betting facility at the Timeout Lounge at its Gold Moon Casino, which is part of its Pearl River Resort. Owners of the gambling venue also said that bettors will be able to place bets via their mobile devices as long as they are anywhere within the property.

On-site mobile betting will also be available at the state’s other sportsbooks.

West Virginia

Sports betting debuted in West Virginia in late August, right in time for the beginning of the new college and NFL football seasons. Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races was the first property to launch sports betting services following the annulment of the long-standing ban.

West Virginia actually passed the necessary legislation authorizing sports wagering ahead of the mid-May SCOTUS ruling. It was this past spring when state lawmakers gave the green light to sports betting.

Penn National Gaming, the owner of Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, has revealed that it processed the amount of $640,000 in sports betting handle over its opening weekend.

Pennsylvania and Rhode Island the Next to Join the US Sports Betting Mix

It seems that Pennsylvania will become the fifth state to go live with legal sports betting offering. Following last year’s passage of an omnibus gambling bill, the Keystone State is gearing up for a massive expansion of its gambling industry that will also include sports betting.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board began accepting applications for sports betting licenses earlier in the summer. Three operators have submitted their applications, with those being Penn National Gaming, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, and Harrah’s Philadelphia. It became known earlier this week that their applications will be considered by regulators at their next meeting on October 3.

In other words, Pennsylvania might be days away from launching legal sports betting. Approved applicants will have to pay an upfront license fee of $10 million and their properties will have to receive individual nod by gaming regulators in order to be able to operate wagering services.

Rhode Island passed a sports gambling legislation in June. Under that legislative piece, the state’s Twin River Casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton would be the exclusive providers of sports betting services. These services would be provided thanks to a partnership of the gambling venues’ owner with International Game Technology and William Hill.

It was originally expected that bets would begin to be accepted by October. However, it has recently become clear that it will not be before November when the state’s sportsbooks will open doors and welcome their first customers.

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