Only a few years ago legal online sports betting became available to sports fans in the US, which ushered in a new era of sports betting and a number of successful sportsbook sites.
The Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal mandate that outlawed sports betting except in Nevada and a few other specific instances.
The overturn of PASPA gave states the green light to offer legal sports betting. Individual states can now pass their own legislation and allow both retail and online sports wagering within their state.
Several US states introduced legal online sports betting in the wake of the fall of PASPA. Initially, states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, accounted for more than 80% of all US sports betting revenue. This number is changing rapidly. So far, more than a dozen states offer legal online sports betting, with more to come.
Best Online Sportsbooks
|Online Sportsbook||States Operating||Bonus Offers|
|BetRivers||New Jersey (as SugarHouse Sportsbook), Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Virginia||100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $250 + $100 free bets with $50 deposit and bonus code BET100|
|WynnBET||Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey||Up to $1000 Risk Free Bet|
|William Hill||Nevada, New Jersey, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, Michigan, Virginia||$2,021 Risk Free Bet|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia||$1000 Risk-Free Bet|
|BetMGM||Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Tennessee, West Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia||$600 Risk Free Bet|
|PointsBet||New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Colorado, Michigan||$2000 in 2 Risk-Free Bets|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia||20% Deposit Match Bonus up to $1000|
States With Legal Online Sportsbooks
DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetRivers, and BetMGM all began operations on the May 1 launch date. BetMonarch and FOX Bet joined the fray later in May. Since then, a total of 19 online sportsbooks have launched in the state, with more expected to join in 2021 and beyond.
Colorado offers one of the most successful sports betting markets in the US. Despite the legal market existing for only eight months of 2020, the online sportsbooks generated over $1 billion in revenue, which meant millions in taxes for the state.
Learn more about Colorado Online Sports Betting.
Retail and mobile sports wagering were legalized in Illinois in June 2019. Online sportsbooks launched in June 2020 starting with BetRivers. Since then, William Hill, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet have launched as well.
Initially, bettors were required to register for an online sportsbook in-person at the partnering land-based casino. However, that requirement was lifted through an executive order by Governor J. B. Pritzker due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspended requirement will likely continue indefinitely.
See our guide to Online Gambling In Illinois.
Indiana lawmakers signed legal online sports betting into law in May 2019. State-regulated mobile sportsbooks started to launch in the Hoosier State in October 2019.
Online sportsbooks available to Indiana bettors include BetRivers, BetMGM, BetAmerica, and PointsBet. Like most other US states, these brands operate as license partners of Indiana’s retail casinos.
Several other brands are already approved by the Indiana Gaming Commission, and will eventually join the state’s mobile sports betting market.
See our full guide to Online Sports Betting In Indiana.
Iowa joined the list of US states to offer legal online sports betting in May 2019. Governor Kim Reynolds signed bill SF617, which legalized both retail and online sports betting in the Hawkeye State.
Both land-based and online sportsbook launched at the same time in Iowa, with legal sports betting going live in Iowa on August 15, 2019.
The Iowa mobile sportsbook betting market includes a couple of brands not seen in other states. Q Sportsbook and Elite Sportsbook join well-known brands like PointsBet and DraftKings Sportsbook as legal sports betting options in Iowa.
Michigan approved legal online sports betting in December 2019. State-regulated mobile sportsbooks launched in January 2021.
Sportsbooks operate in partnership with Michigan’s land-based tribal and commercial casinos. BetRivers, William Hill, FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet, DraftKings, and Golden Nugget are among the first wave of mobile sportsbooks going live in the Wolverine State.
PointsBet also announced a partnership with the Detroit Tigers, the first MLB relationship of its kind. Since then, several other Michigan sportsbooks announced partners with Detroit teams.
FireKeepers launched its retail sportsbook in Michigan in 2020, making it the first tribal casino in Michigan to operate its own sportsbook.
Keep up-to-date on developments in our Michigan Online Sports Betting Guide.
Legal online sports betting in Montana doesn’t quite operate the same way it does in other US states.
The Montana Lottery oversees the state’s sports betting industry. The agency approved one legal online sports wagering operator, Sports Bet Montana. Intralot, the Montana Lottery’s technology partner, is the company behind Sports Bet Montana.
Businesses offering lottery and alcohol sales can apply for approval to install Sports Bet Montana kiosks. Hundreds of locations throughout the state will likely eventually host these kiosks.
Montana bettors can place sports wagers directly through these kiosks, or on a downloadable mobile app. Bets placed on the mobile app, however, must be within a close distance of a Sports Bet Montana kiosk at the time of a bet.
Before the overturn of PASPA, Nevada held the position as the only US state legally able to offer full-scale sports betting. Nevada casinos got the jump on other states regarding legal online sports betting platforms.
Right now, the two major online sportsbooks in Nevada are William Hill and BetMGM. Brands like FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, and BetRivers have yet to enter the state.
Other Nevada legal mobile sportsbooks operate as casino-branded platforms. Casinos offering self-branded online sportsbooks include South Point, Wynn, Station Casinos, Atlantis, and Golden Nugget.
William Hill and Westgate Superbook also offer mobile sports wagering platforms in Nevada.
New Hampshire entered the legal sports betting market in July 2019. Governor Chris Sununu approved a bill to bring both retail and online sports betting to the Granite State.
Online sports betting brands won’t operate as license partners to land-based casinos. This is because New Hampshire doesn’t have any retail casinos. Instead, the New Hampshire Lottery licenses and approves all online sports betting operators in the state.
DraftKings Sportsbook launched in December 2019, as New Hampshire’s first legal mobile sportsbook.
New Jersey’s lawsuit is responsible for the overturning of PASPA, and it’s since led the way in online gambling options, including a huge number of online casinos and sportsbooks as well as a few poker sites.
The state legalized online sports betting in June 2018. The first of New Jersey’s legal mobile sportsbooks launched the following month. Today, New Jersey bettors in the Garden State can access more than a dozen mobile sportsbooks, including all the best brands: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, BetMGM, PointsBet, WynnBET, and William Hill.
New Jersey leads the US in online sports betting revenue. Bettors in the Garden State can access more than a dozen mobile sportsbooks. Brands include Unibet, Fox Bet, William Hill NJ, and theScore Bet.
As of early 2021, New Jersey leads the US in online sports betting revenue. Online sportsbooks in the Garden State brought in $6 billion in wagers in 2020 alone.
Learn more about Online Sports Betting In New Jersey.
The fall of PASPA didn’t affect Oregon sports betting laws. This is because the state was already exempt from the federal ban on sports wagering mandated by PASPA.
Similar to Montana and New Hampshire, the Oregon Lottery regulates the state’s legal sports betting industry. Oregon bettors can access a single mobile platform in the state. The Oregon Lottery Scoreboard app permits sports betting from anywhere within state borders.
Only professional sports are open for betting on the Scoreboard platform, as the Oregon Lottery restricts betting on college sports.
Pennsylvania went to work on sports betting legislation before the official overturn of PASPA. An October 2017 package of bills legalized retail and online sports betting in the Keystone State.
The reversal of PASPA allowed Pennsylvania casinos to begin launching mobile sports betting platforms in May 2019. SugarHouse and BetRivers, both owned by Rush Street Interactive, were among the first legal sports betting sites to launch in the state.
Pennsylvania is second only to New Jersey in online sports betting revenue in the US. Other online sports betting brands in the state include Parx Sportsbook, FOX Bet, and Unibet.
Check out our comprehensive Guide To Sports Betting In Pennsylvania.
Rhode Island legislators approved retail and online sports betting in the state in June 2018. The Rhode Island Lottery regulates the state’s legal sports betting industry.
Bettors in the Ocean State can wager on a single online sports betting site, Sports Bet Rhode Island. The technology behind the platform comes from a collaboration between IGT and William Hill.
Sports Bet Rhode Island operates as a license partner of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which operates two land-based casinos in the state.
Tennessee approved online sports betting in April 2019. The Volunteer State takes a unique position in the mobile sports betting industry, as the state doesn’t host any land-based casinos.
Online sports betting companies can apply for licensure as standalone platforms. Tennessee’s legal online sportsbooks launched on November 1, 2020. The first sportsbooks to debut include fan-favorites DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM.
Virginia legalized sports betting in March 2020, with the legislation going into effect in July 2020. Virginia’s gambling laws permit brick-and-mortar casinos to open in a handful of cities in the state. There will most likely be retail sportsbooks at some of these casinos as well.
What is more exciting is that the gambling bill legalized online sports betting in Virginia. On September 15, 2020, the Virginia Lottery, which will regulate sports betting, finalized its rules and regulations.
This process opened the application process for standalone online sportsbooks to operate in the state. FanDuel Sportsbook launched in Virginia in January 2021 as the first online sports betting platform to go live. DraftKings followed just a few days later, and BetMGM shortly after that.
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s signature on DC Council Bill 23-25 approved sports betting in the US capital in January 2019.
Similar to Rhode Island, Montana, and a few other US states, legal sports betting in Washington DC is regulated by the Office of Lottery and Gaming.
Intralot, the technology company behind the lottery in Washington DC, operates the district’s lone mobile sports wagering platform. The platform, christened Gambet DC, debuted in May 2020. In December 2020, William Hill launched in Washington DC, but bettors can only place wagers within a few blocks of the Capital One Arena in downtown DC. It is anticipated that BetMGM is also on its way through a partnership with the Washington Nationals.
West Virginia went all-in on legalized online gambling after the fall of PASPA. Mobile gambling options in the Mountaineer State include online sports betting, which was legalized in May 2018.
The first online sportsbook in West Virginia, BetLucky, launched in August 2018. The platform was short-lived, however, ceasing operations after just a few months.
Online sports betting reemerged with the debut of FanDuel Sportsbook in August 2019. Other platforms currently operating in West Virginia include DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM.
The Future Of Online Sports Betting
More states will eventually join the list of states with legal online sports betting, as the industry continues to expand in the US. Several states already have legislation in place to offer legal mobile sports betting, with the launch of products in those states pending.
States like New York, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and New Mexico currently offer legal retail sports betting. Online sports betting regulation could be on the horizon in those states.
Maryland and Louisiana both took steps towards legalizing sports betting with ballot measures during the 2020 election. Each state will need to enact rules and regulations before any online sports betting launches in the state.
Online Sports Betting Sites In The US
Visit: BetRivers Sportsbook to claim a 100% deposit match bonus up to $250 + $100 in free bets with $50 deposit and bonus code BET100
The BetRivers brand emerged as a legal online gambling platform owned by Rush Street Interactive. Poised to be a major player in the US legal online sports betting market, BetRivers currently offers mobile sports betting in states like Pennsylvania, Indiana, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Virginia, and Michigan. BetRivers operates in New Jersey as SugarHouse Sportsbook.
BetRivers offers one of the most player-friendly deposit match bonuses in the US. New bettors can unlock a 100% match bonus, up to $250, with just a 1x playthrough requirement.
The minimal playthrough requirement is matched by few other sportsbooks making BetRivers a top choice for any sports bettor.
WynnBET is a relatively new addition to the online sports betting market in the US. While there is a Wynn Sportsnook app in Nevada, it’s separate from the much more robust WynnBET app that’s available for sports betting and casino gaming in Michigan, and New Jersey.
The WynnBet Sportsbook app is available in Colorado, is launching in Virginia, and is announced for expansion into a handful of other states, including Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Tennessee.
New members at WynnBET can receive a $1,000 risk-free bet.
William Hill is a premier sportsbook in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, but it’s become a major player in the US, even before the repeal of PASPA. Not only is the William Hill retail sportsbook inside several casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, but it’s also one of the few online platforms available in Nevada.
William Hill offers new players a risk-free bet of up to $500. However, it depends on the state. In Illinois, it offered a risk-free bet up to $300. And when it launched in Virginia and Michigan in 2021, new members could receive a risk-free bet up to $2,021.
William Hill offers all the major sports in the US. But it is particularly popular among those who bet on international sports, especially European soccer like the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.
Along with its closest competitor, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook holds a position as one of the most popular online sports betting platforms in the US.
Sports bettors located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Virginia, and Michigan, can wager at FanDuel Sportsbook. In many of those states, FanDuel Sportsbook emerged as one of the top-earning mobile sports betting sites.
Bonus offers at FanDuel Sportsbook include a $1,000 risk-free bet for new players. After an initial deposit, new account holders are eligible for up to a $1,000 rebate as site credits on the first bet made, if the bet results in a loss.
FanDuel Sportsbook offers a wide array of betting markets. Bettors looking for action on domestic professional and college sports, as well as international leagues and niche sports, can find plenty of options at FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Australian-owned PointsBet brand committed to a stateside business plan with the implementation of two land-based headquarters in the US. The PointsBet platform currently offers access to bettors in New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Colorado, and Michigan.
The signup bonus at PointsBet is two risk-free bets up to $2,000 total. On top of the $500 risk-free bet for a fixed-odds event, you can also try the PointsBetting feature risk-free for up to $1,500.
“PointsBetting” is a style of wagering that’s exclusive to PointsBet. This bet awards (or takes) more money depending on the margin of victory (or loss) for totals bets. For example, you receive a multiplier for every point that’s over the over/under for an NBA game. That multiplier applies to both the winnings and the losing wager, so this can be risky as well as rewarding
Bettors looking for unique action and big potential payouts should enjoy betting at PointsBet.
DraftKings Sportsbook looms as a leading brand in the US online sports betting industry. In virtually every state in which it legally operates, DraftKings Sportsbook stands as one of the top revenue-earning mobile sportsbooks.
The brand currently operates legally in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee, and Michigan.
New bettors can earn up to $1,000 in bonus money upon registering at DraftKings Sportsbook. The bonus includes a deposit match bonus of 20% up to $1000.
With one of the most user-friendly interfaces in the sports betting industry and a wide selection of sports, DraftKings Sportsbook should appeal to bettors of all experience levels.
Check out our complete DraftKings Sportsbook Review.
The FOX Bet platform is committed to a massive US expansion. Several states with legal online sports betting will eventually include the FOX Bet brand among online sportsbook offerings.
FOX Bet operates as a partnership between FOX Sports and The Stars Group. This collaboration pairs one of the most visible US sports media companies with the world’s biggest online gambling brand.
Bettors located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Michigan can access the FOX Bet platform. New players can unlock a $500 risk-free bet.
Casual bettors should enjoy the FOX Bet platform, as it consistently offers good odds on favorites.
What Online Sportsbook Bonuses Are Available?
Many legal online sportsbooks offer sign-up bonuses in the form of risk-free bets. A risk-free bet offers a refund on the first bet made at an online sportsbook, up to a certain amount. The refund only applies if the bet results in a loss.
At FOX Bet, for example, new account holders can apply a risk-free bet offer to the first bet on the site, up to $500. The potential $500 refund only applies to the first single wager a new bettor places at FOX Bet.
The refund bonus matches the amount of the bet, up to $500, in the event of a loss.
Other online sportsbooks offering risk-free bet bonuses include FanDuel Sportsbook, William Hill Sportsbook, and PointsBet.
Deposit Match Bonuses
Deposit match bonuses can be found at many legal online gambling platforms, and mobile sportsbooks are no exception. A deposit match bonus awards bonus money that matches a certain percentage of a player’s deposit.
At BetRivers and WynnBET, new bettors can enjoy a 100% deposit match bonus, up to $250. A $250 deposit is eligible for a $250 bonus, a $100 deposit can earn a $100 bonus, and so on.
Deposit match bonuses aren’t usually as generous as the BetRivers and WynnBET offers. The 100% deposit match is one of the biggest in the industry.
The deposit match bonus offer usually requires a certain amount of playthrough, or money wagered, to unlock the bonus. BetRivers and WynnBET, again, offer one of the most generous promotions in this aspect as well, requiring just a 1x playthrough.
No Deposit Bonuses
Some mobile sports betting platforms offer free betting credits just for signing up for a new account. This is becoming a little less common for online sportsbooks in favor of other types of bonus offers.
What Sports Can You Bet On In The US?
Betting On US Pro Sports
Legal online sportsbooks in the US offer a robust selection of betting markets on US professional sports leagues.
US bettors can find moneyline, point spread, parlays, and numerous other betting options for NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, and MLS games. Virtually every game from the regular season and postseason is available for betting at legal mobile sportsbooks. You can bet on the Super Bowl online as well.
Moneyline and point spread betting on individual games present just a piece of the betting opportunities available on US major sports leagues. Other ways to bet include futures markets, in-game wagering, and prop bets.
Prop betting isn’t limited to just on-field contests. Bettors can place prop bets on events like the NFL Draft and NBA Draft. Or, they can bet on season-long statistics like NFL rushing leaders, NBA scoring champion, and many other unique wagers.
Most US professional leagues and events offer betting markets with no restrictions. Sports fans can legally bet on home teams from their respective states without worry.
College Sports Betting
College basketball and football represent some of the most wagered-on sports events in the US. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, rings in one of the highest-volume betting events on the US sports calendar.
College football, in many states, encompasses loyal and massive fan bases that in some cases eclipse professional sports leagues. Saturdays during college football season draw big sports betting interest. This culminates in the College Football Playoff each winter.
Other college sports, like baseball, hockey, lacrosse, and women’s basketball, present even more betting opportunities at US legal online sportsbooks.
Betting on college sports, however, can present restrictions in some US states. Some states don’t allow betting on college sports. Others allow betting but restrict who can place bets on collegiate sports.
New Jersey College Sports Betting Restrictions
Betting on in-state teams and events is outlawed in New Jersey. For both retail sports betting, and wagering at online sportsbooks, New Jersey-based college programs and events are off the menu.
These restrictions include college programs like the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Princeton Tigers, and Seton Hall Pirates. College sports contests held in New Jersey are also restricted for bettors, even if a New Jersey team isn’t involved.
Rhode Island And New Hampshire College Sports Betting Restrictions
Rhode Island and New Hampshire sports betting laws dictate similar restrictions, with betting on in-state teams and events outlawed.
Oregon College Sports Betting Restrictions
Oregon’s lone legal mobile sports betting platform, the Oregon Lottery Scoreboard, outlaws betting on any college sports altogether.
Placing any kind of college sports bet in Oregon requires a trip to a legal retail sportsbook.
Illinois College Sports Betting Restrictions
Bettors in Illinois will be able to place bets on college sports, but they may not bet on Illinois university games. This restriction includes games played in Illinois as well as out-of-state.
Iowa College Sports Betting Restrictions
Betting on in-state teams and events in Iowa is legal, save for a restriction on prop betting.
Individual Sports Betting
Betting on major US professional sports isn’t just limited to team sports. MMA, boxing, golf, NASCAR, and tennis open up even more ways to bet at legal mobile sports betting platforms.
Major fighting events include championship bouts in boxing, UFC, and other MMA promotions.
NASCAR betting markets include races from the NASCAR Cup Series. This features some of the biggest names in US auto racing. Other NASCAR events open for betting include the Xfinity Series and Truck Series.
Men’s and women’s tennis and golf present even more chances to bet on individual-based sports.
International Sports Betting
Overseas sports leagues and events open up a world of possibilities at legal online sportsbooks in the US.
International soccer leagues like the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and German Bundesliga are home to some of the most popular sports teams in the world. US bettors looking to wager on clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich can find those teams and many more on legal mobile sports betting sites.
Other international team sports on the menu at legal online sportsbooks include cricket, rugby, basketball, and baseball leagues from around the world.
International motorsports, along with niche sports like table tennis, give US bettors access to a wide array of sports to bet on outside of the US.
Limitations On Other Betting
The explosion in popularity of esports brings with it a rapidly-expanding esports betting market on offshore (illegal and unsafe) gambling sites. However, you can find esports bets in some Nevada, New Jersey, Colorado, and West Virginia sportsbooks. Retail sportsbooks in Michigan and New York often have esports bets as well.
It’s likely that esports will become a huge market at US sportsbooks within the next few years. But right now, things are pretty limited.
Betting on events outside of sports is generally not permitted on US online sportsbooks. This includes betting markets on political elections, award shows, and other non-sports events. However, New Jersey, Indiana, and possibly additional states allow bets on the Oscars and other events.
How Can I Bet On Sports In The US?
iOS Mobile Devices
Most of the legal online sportsbooks operating in the US can be downloaded as mobile apps for iOS devices. These mobile apps allow for betting from the comfort of anywhere within legal state borders.
For iOS devices, legal mobile sportsbooks can be downloaded from the App Store. These apps can be downloaded for free, and allow for betting right from a mobile device.
Make sure to download the app specific to your state. In the case of DraftKings, FanDuel, and other online sportsbooks, one app applies to all licensed states. But BetRivers, William Hill, and others can have state-specific sportsbook apps. If you’re in Illinois, for example, you’d want to search, “BetRivers Illinois,” or “William Hill Illinois.”
Android device users are in luck, as most US mobile sportsbooks are downloadable as Android apps as well.
Although Google Play previously banned real-money gambling apps, it reversed its policy in March 2021. This means that one-by-one sports betting apps are making their debuts on the platform.
Currently, around half a dozen sportsbooks are available for download (including DraftKings and William Hill). More are likely to appear soon, so check Google Play first for your preferred sportsbook. If you don’t find it listed, simply go to the sportsbook’s official website, and download it from there.
The easiest way to start betting at an online sportsbook is directly through a desktop browser. Legal mobile sportsbooks generally operate from a web-based homepage that can be accessed from virtually any desktop or laptop.
However, some online sportsbooks are mobile-only. For example, WynnBET New Jersey is only available via iOS or Android app.
Learn more in our Guide To How To Place A Sports Bet Online.
What Deposit And Cashout Options Are Available On Legal Online Sportsbooks?
The ACH/eCheck deposit option presents the most widely accepted method of depositing money on a legal online sportsbook.
Deposits made using an electronic check (eCheck) deposit generally become available instantaneously at the sportsbooks of choice. This method is occasionally rejected by the bank but works roughly 80 percent of the time.
ACH/eCheck can also be used to cash out from an online sportsbook.
Some online sports betting sites offer site-branded prepaid cards, which operate as debit cards that can be used for depositing funds.
Online sportsbooks directly issue prepaid cards, which can be loaded with funds via eCheck, debit cards, credit cards, and some other methods. After purchasing a prepaid card, funds can be transferred to an online sportsbook balance immediately, with no need to wait for the physical card to arrive by mail.
Prepaid cards can also be used for withdrawals.
PayPal deposits generally require a few more security steps to go through before a deposit is approved. These extra steps are only a minor inconvenience, however, and worth the effort, as PayPal deposits have nearly a 100% success rate.
Withdrawals are also possible using PayPal.
Most legal mobile sportsbooks accept debit and credit cards for deposits, but this method is regularly declined by the issuing bank. Credit card deposits can also incur cash advance fees from the bank.
Debit and credit cards cannot be used to withdraw funds from an online sportsbook.
Casino Cage Deposit
Most online sportsbooks operate as license partners to land-based casinos. Depositing and withdrawing in-person at the casino cage related to an online sportsbook is a secure but less convenient option.
History Of Legal Online Sports Betting In The US
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)
A 1992 federal law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act banned sports betting across most of the US. The mandate exempted Nevada from the ban, and also permitted limited sports betting lotteries in Montana, Oregon, and Delaware.
Interests behind PASPA included former NBA commissioner David Stern and former NBA star Bill Bradley. Bradley was a US Senator from New Jersey at the time PASPA passed.
Bradley, Stern, and executives from other major sports leagues viewed sports betting as a potential problem for sports in the US. President George H.W. Bush signed PASPA into law in October 1992.
New Jersey lawmakers challenged PASPA in the late 2000s, in an effort to bring legal sports betting to Atlantic City casinos.
State voters approved a 2011 amendment to the state constitution that legalized sports betting. New Jersey legislators then passed the NJ Sports Wagering Act in 2012, a bill that formally legalized sports betting at Atlantic City casinos.
The four major US sports leagues and the NCAA challenged New Jersey’s new sports betting laws. The battle eventually went to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Supreme Court ruled PASPA as unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment in May 2018. With PASPA overturned, individual states became free to pass sports betting legislature.
A New Era In Legal Online Sports Betting
The overturn of PASPA allows states to legalize both retail and online sports betting. New Jersey and Pennsylvania emerged as the leading mobile sports betting markets in the US in the aftermath.
Other states now offering legal online sports betting include Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, along with others. In most of these states, online sportsbooks operate in partnership with in-state retail casinos. Tennessee is unique in that there are no retail casinos so online sportsbooks are independent.
Legal Online Sportsbooks Versus Illegal Online Sportsbooks
With a growing number of states offering legal online sports wagering, bettors in some US states can access an unprecedented selection of online sportsbooks.
State-regulated online sports betting platforms generally operate in partnership with retail casinos in their respective states. As such, these legal mobile sportsbooks operate under the same regulatory bodies as the land-based casinos in which they’ve partnered.
Government agencies like the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement oversee the states’ casino industries. These regulatory bodies ensure accountability and transparency from online sportsbook operators.
As state-regulated gambling platforms, legal online sportsbooks offer security of player funds and personal information. State casinos operate with a vested interest in fair games and prompt payouts from their online gambling platforms.
Reasons To Stay Away From Offshore Gambling Sites
Offshore sites operate illegally in the US. Playing on these platforms is also illegal and could subject the player to criminal penalties.
Depositing money on an offshore gambling site can be risky, with no regulations in place to ensure safe withdrawal of the funds.
At legally-licensed online sportsbooks, you have the protection of the state regulatory body, which employs strict oversight. Your money is safe in your account, and your personal information is as secure as it would be at a major US bank.
Plus, you’re not breaking the law, which is great peace of mind.
Legal Online Sports Betting FAQ
Yes. US states can individually decide to offer legal, state-regulated online sports betting. The current boom in the US online sports betting industry happened in the aftermath of a lift on the federal ban on sports betting.
A 1992 mandate called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act outlawed sports betting in the US, except for Nevada and a few other states. The Supreme Court of the United States overturned PASPA in May 2018, clearing the way for US states to offer legal online sports betting.
21 in most states. The minimum age for legally betting on an online sports wagering platform depends on state laws.
In most US states, 21 is the minimum age. Some exceptions, like Rhode Island, set the minimum age at 18 for online sports betting.
Yes. DraftKings Sportsbook legally operates in several US states.
These states include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee, and Michigan. DraftKings Sportsbook uses geolocation technology to determine a user’s location at the time of a wager. The DraftKings Sportsbook software blocks bets made outside of the states on this list.
Yes. FanDuel Sportsbook operates legally in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Virginia, and Michigan.
Several more states will likely join that list eventually as FanDuel Sportsbooks expands into more US jurisdictions.
No. Legal online sportsbooks generally don’t offer credit lines for betting.
Players earn betting credits and bonus money through various promotions across legal online sports betting sites. This includes earning loyalty points for placing real-money bets. The best online sportsbooks offer a loyalty program, such as iRush Rewards, which is offered by BetRivers and SugarHouse.
Yes, in some states. Online sportsbooks in Colorado, New Jersey, and Nevada often list esports bets. Retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos, which usually aren’t tied to the same gambling laws as commercial casinos, can sometimes offer esports bets as well. This is most common in Michigan and New York State.
Online sportsbooks each operate with their own rules regarding maximum bets size. The terms and conditions at DraftKings Sportsbook, for example, state that the platform can restrict bets where the potential payout exceeds $500,000.
Other platforms, like FanDuel Sportsbook, use different maximum payouts for different sports. Bettors can find more information on betting limits and maximum payouts in the terms and conditions of an online sportsbook.
Yes, at legal, state-regulated online sports betting sites. Legal online sportsbooks operate under the oversight of government regulatory bodies in the US.
Betting at a legal mobile sportsbook carries the same level of security as betting at a legal retail casino.
Offshore/illegal online gambling sites, however, do not guarantee the same level of security.