Where can you bet legally online in the U.S.?

Since the U.S. gambling industry took the first blows of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, the country’s Supreme Court has moved to liberalize the market. Some states have fully legalized betting, while others states have it limited to specific types of betting or highly regulated. If you’re looking for sweepstakes, for example, look here for more information on availability.

Rather than list states where online betting is legal, this article will try to highlight the different online opportunities across the country by grouping the states into three main categories:

  • States where all forms of online betting are legal
  • States with limited online betting options
  • States that are likely to legalize online betting in 2021 or 2022.

States Where You Can Bet Legally

It appears that only twelve states have made provisions to legalize online betting in its various forms:

  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

Let’s take a brief look at the current situation in some of them.

States Offering a Variety of Betting Options

Colorado has one of the most operator-friendly online betting environments in the U.S. The state has therefore seen a true sportsbook boom over the past six months.

Since Colorado accepted its first online wager in 2020, the state has quickly become the Promised Land of online betting in the country, attracting whales like BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetRivers. This group was later joined by Australia’s PointsBet, which opened an office in Denver.

New Jersey

The state has the second-largest online betting market in the U.S. after Nevada. Interestingly, NJ was the first state to bring the subject of online betting to the Supreme Court.

As a true pioneer in the field, New Jersey has set the gold standard for online betting in the U.S. and is said to have the country’s most regulated online gambling system. Over 80% of all bets are accepted online. New Jersey’s pioneering effort has definitely paid off, as the state government estimated the revenues from online sports betting in 2020 at $5 billion.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania launched digital sports betting in 2019 and has since grown to be among the biggest markets in the country, with operators readily paying hefty fees to get into the business.

Only fourteen operator licenses are distributed among the candidates, so the sift is tight. Nevertheless, the state’s profits from online betting put it right behind Nevada and New Jersey.

States with Online Betting Limitations

The second group of states has legalized online betting, but the options are limited to one or two operators.

Nevada

There hardly is a text on gambling that does not mention the state where it all started, Nevada, and the gambling capital of the world, Las Vegas.

Yet, the situation with online betting in Nevada is a bit awkward. To place an online bet, one has to first complete a physical registration with one of the state’s many casinos. Consequently, the bettor is limited to using the online betting platform of this particular casino.

Rhode Island

Sports betting has been legal in Rhode Island since 2018. Three years later, the state’s sole online sportsbook is William Hill.

Although it is no longer necessary to register in person at one of Rhode Island’s two casinos to place online bets, the state holds the smallest share of the U.S. online gambling market.

Washington D.C.

GamBet is the only legal mobile app in the district operated by the D.C. lottery. Without other competitors, GamBet’s odds are worse than the average for the country.

States Likely to Endorse Online Betting in 2021

Finally, some states have endorsed online betting, but it is not yet active.

Arizona

The state narrowly passed an online sports betting bill in April 2021, allowing for complete online wagering, including the nation’s first in-stadium sportsbooks.

South Dakota

Sports betting has been legal in South Dakota since November 2020, but operators can only accept online wagers in Deadwood casinos and some casinos on tribal land. It is still unclear when South Dakota will see state-wide online betting.