There are few issues that are as polarized as the subject of online casino and land-based sports betting in the United States. It is now legal for states legislatures to legislate sports betting for their states' residents but each state sees the issue differently. Some states show no interest in allowing sports betting in their jurisdictions while others had sportsbooks running within weeks of the Supreme Court ruling that allowed them to run legal sports betting in their states.
Even among the states that do allow sports betting, the schism is wide. In some states, bettors can only place bets in person at land-based casinos while in others, bets can be placed online from any location. Some states tax sportsbooks at a low rate while others place an extremely high rate on the operators. The process of licensing sportsbook operators varies from one state to the next and the operators' relationships and obligations to the leagues differs greatly.
One thing is certain……the sports betting landscape is changing from one day to the next and it's extremely unpredictable. No one is taking wagers on which way sports betting is heading on a federal, state or local level in any region.
A synopsis of the states that are already operating sports betting and those who are headed in that directions:
Legal Sports Betting States
Up until May 2018, Nevada was the only state that was offering sports betting. The state was grandfathered into the PASPA Act (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) since sportsbooks had been running there for decades. The majority of sportsbooks on the Vegas Strip are operated by two companies. Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts. They operate sportsbooks in 17 casinos.
There are three independent sportsbook operators on the Strip: Stratosphere, Wynn and Treasure Island. William Hill is the biggest sportsbook operator in Nevada, running over 100 sportsbooks throughout Nevada. William Hill also operates sports wagering kiosks inside approximately 80 Golden Entertainment taverns and pubs in Nevada.
Delaware has been offering single-game betting on a number of different sports since June 2018 at three casinos. The state is exploring options to expand sports wagering options, including offering it online or at additional land-based sites.
New Jersey is the state that took PASPA to the Supreme Court. The state, which has a large casino industry, wanted to expand to offer sports betting for many years and within weeks after the SCOTUS ruling that declared PASPA unconstitutional, NJ's governor signed a sports betting bill into law. Days later, a William Hill sportsbook took the first bets at Monmouth Park and the Borgata followed suit later the same day. New Jersey allows online betting through state casinos and Fantasy Sports operators.
While other Southern states such as Alabama and Georgia have declared adamant opposition to allowing casino or sports betting activities, Mississippi has been a leader in Southern gambling. It was the first state in the region to legislate sports betting, though at this time, sports betting in Mississippi is available only in-person at a state casino.
West Virginia was the fifth state to regulate sports betting. Sports betting is presently available in West Virginia via Penn National's Hollywood Casino which is allowed to make both in-person and online sports betting available to state residents and visitors.
The Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel is partnered with Nevada-based U.S.Bookmaking to offer sports betting. This was the first sports betting operation made possible via a gaming compact between the state and a Native-American-run casino.
Sports betting in Pennsylvania got going in November 2018 after the state pushed through its sports betting legislation along with online poker and Daily Fantasy Sports. In addition to the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, which took the first Pennsylvania sports bets, the state has given additional sportsbooks licenses to operate.
In Rhode Island, regulatory oversight is provided by the state's lottery and is available at two land-based casino locales and online.
Arkansas followed Mississippi to bring sports betting to the South. The state's Racing Commission regulates sports betting in Arkansas. Sports wagering is available at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and additional sportsbooks will open at retail locations in the coming months. As of now, there is no sports betting available online in Arkansas.
Casino gambling is available only at four upstate casinos in New York and they are the only New York venues where sports betting is allowed. The current law does not allow for mobile wagering. A bill that would have permitted more expanded sports betting in New York stalled in the state's Assembly last year but proponents are pushing for its passage again. The governor of New York is unprepared to sign such a bill since, he believes, only a state referendum can bring legalized sports betting to New York State.
Iowa is the latest state to legalize sports betting. There are several operators in the state, both land-based and online. Each sportsbook operator must pay a $45,000 licensing fee to operate a sportsbook as well as a 6.75 percent tax on revenue.
Upcomoing Sports Betting Implementation
Montana's governor has signed a sports wagering bill into law. The state lottery will operate sports betting in Montana which is expected to start running before the end of the year. Sports betting will be legal both online and in-person.
Washington DC passed the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act that legalizes sports betting in Washington DC through the District's lottery.
Legal sports betting has been approved for Indiana for both in-person and online betting. The Indiana Gaming Commission will oversee all sports betting regulations which will include pro sports and college sports but not esports and high school sports.
Tennessee passed the "Tennessee Sports Gaming Act" which permits statewide mobile sports betting.
In-person and online sports betting is now legal in Illinois and will begin in the coming weeks. In addition to casinos and online betting options, there will also be sports betting at sites such as Wrigley Field for in-game betting.
Retail and online sports betting will hopefully be up and running in New Hampshire by the September NFL season opening. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission will be in charge of regulatory oversight.
Sports and horse race wagering will launch in North Carolina via the state's Indian gaming All bettors must place their wagers in-person at one of two retail locations. A bill that would permit statewide sports betting is pending.
Legislation in the Works
The following states have some type of sports betting legislation pending: Maine, Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts,, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, California, Oregon, Ohio, Virginia, California, Hawaii, Arizona, South Dakota, Texas, Washington State, Georgia, Vermont, Colorado, Alabama,
Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Florida and Utah have no pending legislation and, in fact, have laws on the books that prohibit sports betting.