US Betting: where is it legal to play online in 2021?

Online betting in the United States is controversial, and not all states have legalized sports betting. Only a handful of states have legalized sports betting, and a few are on their way to legalize it. This article will explore all the places where betting is legal and the specific laws connected to this place.

Sports Betting Legalization History

It’s been two years since that day the US Supreme Court struck out the bill that banned sports betting across multiple states, and since then, many have passed legislation to legalize it. Each state has to pass a law no matter that the Supreme Court removed the ban, and so many of them have done so, beginning with the state that spearheaded this New Jersey. It was the first to legalize sports betting, and the first legal bets were placed in June, while mobile and online betting was legalized a month later. We will cover some of the states and the specific laws they have regarding the subject below.

Betting Sites in New Jersey and Specific Betting Laws

New Jersey was the first state to legalize sports betting after removing the federal ban and is currently the state with the most Sportsbooks available to customers. Only legal Atlantic City casinos and racetracks can offer sports betting partnering with a Sportsbook or two. The first institution to legalize it was Monmouth Park Racetrack. Besides this racetrack, two more can offer it legally – Freehold Raceway and The Meadowlands. The institution that issues all licenses and oversees the gaming in the state is the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Currently, there are seventeen online and mobile Sportsbooks that run in New Jersey. Another unique fact about the state is that it legalized online casinos and poker sites back in November 2013, which means that some bookies also provide online Casinos, like Caesars or BetMGM. In New Jersey, betting on award shows is allowed, but college sports wagering is a big no-no. The Sportsbooks operating in the state are:

  1. BetMGM
  2. PointsBet
  3. William Hill
  4. Bet365
  5. FanDuel
  6. DraftKings
  7. Borgata
  8. 888 Sportsbook
  9. Caesars Sportsbook
  10. BetAmerica
  11. FOX Bet
  12. Golden Nugget
  13. TheScore
  14. Resorts
  15. SugarHouse
  16. Unibet
  17. Hard Rock Sportsbook

Pennsylvania’s Wagering Laws and Available Sportsbooks

Pennsylvania had a betting law in the books ready since 2017, but the PASPA was prohibiting them. They finally legalized it in 2018, months after NJ, in October. All gaming in Pennsylvania is regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which upholds the activity laws.

Anyone over the age of twenty-one can place bets on professional, international, and college sports. You can bet online or via a mobile device or computer and offline, in-person at any of the Casinos. The tax to acquire a license is a one-time payment of $10 million, and every legal casino needs to have one to permit sports betting on its grounds or online via their Sportsbook partners.

The licensee’s revenue is taxed at 36% each year, which is some of the highest in the states. You don’t even have to be a permanent resident of the state to play. Once you are in state lines, you can go ahead and bet away. There are some restrictions though, you can’t wager on non-sport events, like elections and awards, and also you can’t wager of sports drafts, like the NFL Draft.

E-sports betting is also banned in the state. Like many other states, Horse Racing is licensed, but it’s considered separately that regular sports betting. Here are all the Sportsbooks available in the state:

  1. Unibet
  2. FOX Bet
  3. FanDuel
  4. DraftKings
  5. BetRivers
  6. SugarHouse
  7. Parx Casino Sportsbook
  8. Caesars Sportsbook
  9. BetAmerica

Three more casinos are set to release an online Sportsbook sometime in 2020 – Hollywood Casino at Penn National, Live! Hotel & Casino, and Wind Creek.

Indiana’s Available Wagering Sites and Unique Betting Laws

Indiana legalizes sports betting in September 2019 before the start of the NFL Season. The first sportsbooks to appear were DraftKings and BetRivers, and soon others followed. In the state, the Indiana Gaming Commission regulates everything sports betting related, including issuing licenses to casinos and Sportsbooks. Only mobile sports wagering is allowed online, and in-person betting in casinos is also legal. You can register your account from anywhere, but you can’t bet on e-sports or athletes under eighteen. All land-based gaming facilities are allowed to offer sports betting if they have a license, and their revenue is taxed 9,5%. Mobile betting has become quite popular, and more than a million was wagered in the state in their first year. Here are the eight online Sportsbooks available in Indiana:

  1. FanDuel
  2. DraftKings
  3. Unibet
  4. BetAmerica
  5. Caesars Sportsbook
  6. BetMGM
  7. PointsBet
  8. BetRivers

FOX Bet and William Hill are also set to launch in the state soon.

West Virginia’s Sportsbooks and Wagering Laws

West Virginia was the fifth state after NJ to legalize in-person sports betting and legalize online sports betting in 2018. The regulating organ that oversees everything casino and sports bet related is the West Virginia Lottery Commission. There are four casinos where you can place bets in-person:

  • Hollywood Casino
  • The Greenbrier
  • Mardi Gras
  • Wheeling Island
  • Mountaineer Casino

The state only has three online Sportsbooks, for now:

  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • BetMGM Sportsbook

It is known that William Hill will soon open a mobile/online platform in the state by partnering with Mountaineer Casino. They already offer retail betting, and online sports wagering is going to follow soon.

Iowa’s Specific Wagering Laws and Bookies

As of May 2019, retail sports betting in Iowa is legal, and in August, online betting was legalized. It’s regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Like Pennsylvania and many other states, you don’t have to be a resident of Iowa to place sports bets there. The only requirements are that you aren’t on the self-exclusion list, that you are above 21 years old and that you are within state lines. While you are permitted to wager on professional, international, and college sports, you can’t place bets on e-sports are any non-sport-related event. You also can’t place in-play prop wagers on in-state college teams. Horse Racing is also legal in the state, and it’s permitted in the one venue they have – the Prairie Meadows. You can also bet on horses online via TVG, Betmerica, or TwinSpires. Thirteen of the nineteen available casinos in the state offer sports wagering via six online platforms:

  • PointsBet
  • DraftKings
  • Q Casino Sportsbook
  • Elite Sportsbook
  • William Hill
  • Hard Rock Sioux City Sportsbook

The most recent addition to the list was DraftKings, when they launched in February 2020. FanDuel also has a presence in the state, but it’s only retail wagering, for now.

Colorado’s Betting Laws and Wagering Sites

Sports betting became legal in Colorado in May 2020, long after voters approved it in November 2019. Before lawmakers could legalize sports betting, they needed to get the people’s votes in a referendum. After more than three million people voted, the bill passed by twenty-thousand votes. The state taxes 10% of the casinos’ winnings. You can’t place bets on e-sports or athletes who are below 18 years old. There are three types of licenses gaming institutions can apply for, and the Colorado Division of Gaming regulates everything. Many Sportsbooks are live in Colorado currently, via mobile apps. They are:

  • DraftKings
  • BetMGM
  • Smarkets
  • FanDuel
  • BetRivers
  • FOX Bet
  • Elite Sportsbook
  • Circa Sports
  • BetMonarch
  • Sky Ute

More Sportsbooks are aiming to launch apps in the state soon, like:

  • Betfred
  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • BetAmerica
  • Bet365
  • theScore Bet
  • Wynn Resorts
  • William Hill
  • PointsBet

Illinois’s Online Bookmakers and Betting Laws

Illinois became one of the states that legalized sports wagering in , and BetRivers was the first Sportsbook to open their virtual doors in June 2020. Thanks to unfortunate events, anyone can create an account from anywhere in the state without validating it in person. The specific laws include that you can wager on professional, college, and international sports, and you don’t have to be a permanent resident of the state to place bets from inside of it. You only have to be at least twenty-one years old. Certain bet types aren’t allowed, including betting on non-sport events and bets on in-state college teams. Currently, the only online options for sports betting in the state are with:

  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • BetRivers Sportsbook

Other Sportsbooks will open in the future, like William Hill, PointsBet, and more.

Nevada Gambling Laws and Available Online and Mobile Sportsbooks

Nevada was the only state where you could place legit sports bets until the Supreme Court struck out the PASPA act. Although other states invaded the sports betting industry, Nevada still makes a good revenue from sports bets. Almost all casinos in Nevada offer a Sportsbook, but the only mobile apps available are:

  • Wynn Sports
  • William Hill
  • Station Casino
  • BetMGM
  • South Point
  • CG Technology
  • Caesars Sportsbook
  • Golden Nugget
  • Atlantis Reno

If you want to wager online, though, you will have to create an account in-person in a casino. That way, you don’t have to validate your info online.

Other States with Legal Sports Betting

nfl us betting laws

A few other states have legalized sports betting, but their operations aren’t as advanced as the states we described above.

New Hampshire legalized sports wagering in July 2019, and in the next year, they launched their first mobile Sportsbook with DraftKings. In-state college games are banned from betting on, but all other college sports and professional leagues are okay to place bets on. The New Hampshire Lottery will regulate all sports betting. No one else except for DraftKings can apply for a sports betting license in the state. They won the bidding in 2019 and got exclusive rights in exchange for 50% of the revenue. The key difference here is that you have to be eighteen to place bets, not twenty-one.

New York also has legal sports betting, but it’s not available for online Sportsbooks yet. The New York State Gaming Commission regulates it.

Delaware was one of the first states to launch sports betting after the PASPA was lifted. Although in-person betting is allowed, residents of the state would have to travel elsewhere to bet online because while online betting is legal, it’s launch is delayed thanks to high expenses. William Hill supplies all betting, but that may change if the state launches online sports wagering.

Another similar (but quite different) situation in Arkansas, where mobile and online sports betting isn’t available, and the state’s people are limited to in-person betting, which was launched in July 2019.

Mississipi legalized sports betting in 2018, but they only offer it in water-based and land-based casinos. We are waiting to see if the laws would change and allow mobile and online betting soon.

Oregon legalized online wagering in August 2019, and the only available app controlled by the Oregon Lottery launched – The Scoreboard.

Rhode Island also legalized sports wagering and launched an app regulated by their lottery and powered by William Hill. Rhode Island also allows Horse Racing wagers, but the state doesn’t have any current provider for horse races. But you can still wager online on horse racing via TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica.

At the end of 2019, Michigan legalized mobile and online betting, but they didn’t start taking bets until March 2020. It’s regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board when betting launches for good suspected bookmakers who will make a play for the state’s market are:

  • DraftKings
  • BetMGM
  • Barstool
  • FOX Bet
  • FanDuel
  • William Hill
  • PointsBet

Overall Legislation

Casino gambling

The first form of gambling that we will look at in this article is casino gambling. This is far less restricted than other forms of betting in North America, as you can see with the presence of casinos in numerous states throughout the country. Two of the major gambling hubs, if you like, are Las Vegas and Atlantic City, New Jersey, which is where you can find some of the largest and most prestigious physical casinos in America. These locations have attracted domestic and even international betting enthusiasts for many years, and they continue to do so to this day.

One of the reasons that you can generally find plenty of physical gambling locations in America is because there is no federal law that specifically prevents casino gambling activities. While that is obviously beneficial from a casino enthusiast’s point of view, it’s also important to understand that each individual state has its own laws towards gambling. But with this in mind, you should work from the rule of thumb that if there is a physical casino within that state, then casino gambling is more than likely fully legal.

The only area of casino gambling where you do need to exercise a bit more caution is if you are trying to enjoy some casino gambling online. This is where the regulations can get a little bit more interesting, and there are some states where you actually cannot make online bets by law. At the time of writing, these states include Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, Oregon, Montana, and Washington. As you are probably aware, the gambling industry has gone through some radical changes of late, so while this information is currently correct, we would always encourage you to check out any law changes before making any assumptions.


If you have ever played poker before, you will probably know all too well about the thrill of trying to outsmart the player opposite you at the tables. This is something that many of the physical casinos across America allow you to try and do since plenty of them will have designated poker rooms that you can go and play in. Poker really is big business in North America, as you can often find that high-profile tournaments such as the ones from the World Series of Poker Tour are taking place in casinos located all over the nation. Therefore it goes without saying that you can play poker legally within North America.

While this is true of physical casino locations, the world of online poker has suffered a bit of a bad reputation in the past. Obviously, there were the shutdowns of major poker sites such as Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars, with both companies coming under federal investigation for money laundering and other fraudulent activities. With that being said, things really have moved on since those dark days, and now there are several trusted online sites that you can sign up with if you want to engage in online poker.

These online sites provide you with an ideal opportunity to hone your poker skills while playing against hundreds if not thousands of other players. You can often play in cash tournaments, daily freerolls, sit & gos, and even twister events at these sites, which keeps things flexible and exciting.

Remember, poker isn’t necessarily a game that is based on pure luck. There are always ways for you to outsmart other players at the table even if you do not have the best hand – but that’s for you to find out!


Out of all of the forms of gambling that you can participate in in North America, bingo is probably not the first one that springs to mind. However, the game of bingo has come an awfully long way since the days of only being played by a slightly older demographic. This common perception of bingo players is changing fast, and thanks to modifications to the game as well as advancements in bingo software, you can find some really exciting online bingo games right now.

Some of the best online casino sites really are starting to become aware of the increase in popularity of bingo gaming too. This is exactly the reason why you can find so much variety for online bingo, with many themes and variations emerging for 90-ball, 80-ball, 75-ball, and other specialized forms of the game. One of the key attractions for online bingo is that it doesn’t cost much at all to get started either, as you can often purchase entry tickets into these games for as little as 1 cent.

In addition to this, there are cash prizes that can run into the hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and you will often find that there are hundreds of players that are participating in any single game. This helps to keep things lively and competitive if you choose to participate in online bingo. There are loads of sites today that support this kind of online gambling, and we highly encourage you to check them out and give bingo a try.


Before the huge push to get online sports betting legalized in North America, there were just a few states where you could legally place a sports bet. Just to reiterate, you could only do this at a physical location and not through any kind of online platform. The four states where sports betting was actually legal (physical locations only) up until 2018 included Delaware, Nevada, Montana, and Oregon. However, due to the increasing pressure applied by states and major betting brands in the USA, the change in legislation concerning sports betting really started to occur in 2018.

Sports betting became fully legalized in New Jersey first of all, with the first online sportsbooks making an appearance just months after the legislation had been changed. Since 2018, more and more states have started to change their laws on sports betting, and there are many where sports betting has been completely legalized, which includes bets being accepted at physical locations as well as bets being taken online. States such as Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, Illinois, and several others have now transitioned and taken advantage of such law changes.

So, if you are based in these states, it may be worthwhile checking out what brands are operational and what sites you can sign up with. One of the best things about signing up with these sites is that you can get some exclusive welcome bonuses as well, which is especially true since brands are making such a push to increase their membership numbers recently.

Some of the sports that you can expect to be able to bet on include hockey, American football, tennis, baseball, basketball, soccer, and many others.

Horse racing

Horse racing is one of the oldest and most popular forms of sports betting in the world. You will typically find a market for this sport in just about any physical sportsbook, and there are countless online sportsbooks that provide you with access to betting on horse racing. One of the greatest elements about betting on this sport is that there are races taking place almost every single day from somewhere in the world. The very best sportsbooks will cover almost all of these races as well, meaning that you essentially have an unlimited stream of races to wager on.

The reason that this sport is so popular is that it is one of the purest forms of gambling that there is. By its very nature, gambling is an activity that consists of randomness and luck, yet with horse racing, you can often find some absolutely huge odds if you want to bet on an outsider for a race. This is something that many people do to really heighten the excitement of placing a wager, and more recently, online sportsbooks have even started to provide live streaming for these races. This means that you can place a bet and watch the event in the exact same location, which is of course ideal.

You don’t need to be too concerned about the legal status of betting on horse racing either. Providing that you are based in a state where sports betting has been legalized, you should have nothing to worry about when betting on horse races. This is true whether you choose to sign up with an online provider and bet online, or whether you want to wander into a physical casino and place a bet within its sportsbook.


The final category for gambling which we will be discussing in this post is lottery gambling. This is probably the most accessible and indeed the most widely accepted form of gambling in the USA. This is because most lotteries are actually run by individual states themselves, so of course, the government is eager to snap up the revenue that is earned by people purchasing lottery tickets. This is probably why you can find a ton of different lotteries that are constantly running in North America, and some of the payouts can be into the multi-millions.

Unlike sports betting, where you actually need to be based within the state where sports betting is legalized, this is not necessarily the case with online lottery play. For example, you could be based in New York but choose to play the California lottery, and there is no federal law that will prevent you from doing this. The only law that you need to really be aware of is that if you were fortunate enough to win anything on the lottery, these winnings will be subject to the individual tax rates in the state that you live in.

On another note, it is now easier than ever to actually participate in lottery games. If you sign up with an online site where lottery gaming is supported, you can actually buy your tickets directly through that site and then just sit back and wait for the numbers to roll in. This completely removes the need for you to go to any kind of physical store and purchase a ticket, and you can even check if you are a winner just by logging back into the site that you signed up with.

Final Conclusion

Our detailed explanation above should clarify the current sports-betting situation in the United States is, and as it develops, we will update you with all the latest news. As you can see, FanDuel and DraftKings dominate the online sports betting market in the states for now. But other Sportsbooks, such as PointsBet, BetMGM, BetRivers, FOX Bet, and others also have chances of becoming the dominant Sportsbooks in the states which will legalize or launch online sports wagering in the future. We are positive that sports betting has a bright future in the United States, and even more new Sportsbooks would probably launch as states begin to pass bills securing its legality.