Sports Betting in the US Explained

Sports betting is legal in the United States on a state-by-state basis. There is a patchwork of laws and regulations. The industry has grown thanks to a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

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Sports betting is a very popular phenomenon in the United States of America, but at the same time, it is not available in every single state. In this article, you can find an explanation of this matter and a short but useful breakdown of its popularity and development in many states.

The Current Situation

Sports betting is moving towards legalization in many American states. Take Florida and Maine, for example. Both of these states have allowed customers to waver and; thanks to one of the last Sports Protection Acts, each state now has the opportunity to enforce its own sports betting laws.

Right now, more than 30 states have passed legislation to enable sports betting in the USA. There are some states that are more popular than others when it comes to betting and these states are New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia and Arizona. North Carolina is also moving in that direction and it will institute sports betting in the early months of 2024.

In Which States Is Betting Illegal?

Despite the global trend of sports betting, there are still many countries where this kind of practice is not legal, and it might never be. Some of these examples are in US territory, such as Alabama and Alaska.

In Alabama, many proposals that backed up the legalization of sports betting have been made, but they were all shot down, as this kind of practice is not in line with the country’s principles. What’s more, Alabama currently does not have any commercial casinos in its area. Similarly, Alaska considered legalizing betting before 2020 but then changed the course of action and as a result, gambling in Alaska is still very much illegal.

There are many other places where gambling and sports betting are now illegal, such as California, where the majority of Californians have voted against the legalization of this practice. Many American states are happy to continue considering sports betting illegal, and before performing this practice in US territory, everyone should make sure to check whether or not this practice is legal in the country they are located in.

What Will Happen in 2024?

What makes this matter even more complicated is that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting back in 2018, and because of this, the majority of American states have acted against it to actually legalize the activity.

Today, 37 states, including Washington D.C., have legalized sports betting, which can be freely performed without any legal consequences. In 2024, more states might revisit or introduce new legislation on this matter during the course of this year. The aforementioned states of California, Alaska and Alabama, as well as Utah and Idaho, still do not have legislation to legalize sports betting. Besides, there are several states with so-called ‘dead legislation’, which simply means that it was introduced but did not pass for whatever reason. These states are Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, Oklahoma and Hawaii, among others, which have chosen a more moderate position.

States such as Washington and Montana, for example, have legalized sports betting in retail spaces but not online. At the present moment, online sportsbooks are the main option for sports gambling and they are currently available in 27 states, as well as in Washington, D.C. Texas passed a bill to legalize sports betting, but this bill will only be able to be reconsidered in 2025. Similarly, in Minnesota, legislation failed to pass, but many people there want to push for the legalization of this practice.

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