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Online Gambling Sites > Betting Guide > US Sports Betting Guide: Your #1 Betting 101 for the USA > Legal Sports Betting USA: Our Complete Guide to US Betting Laws

Legal Sports Betting USA: Our Complete Guide to US Betting Laws

Publish Date:08/02/2023
Fact checked by: Eric Bale

Best Legal Sports Betting Sites in USA 2024Welcome to our trusty guide to US betting laws, where you can get your questions answered, including, 'Is betting legal?', 'Is betting illegal?' and which states allow sports wagering.

The US gambling landscape is currently experiencing change like never before, and so, many people will be asking, 'Are betting apps legal?' Thankfully, betting on sports is legal in many states thanks to new legislation. Our resource brings together useful information and facts about the current legalities of betting and outlines what the future looks like for the industry.

Recent history of betting in the USA - Is betting illegal?

Online betting in the USA has been classified as restricted for almost a century due to each state setting its own laws around the sports arm of gambling. Many betting activities were limited to a handful of sports betting venues and racetracks. However, over the past decade, legislation has been introduced by a number of state officials that has opened the door to wagering on computers and mobile devices.

Although sports betting is illegal in states such as Connecticut and Idaho, states like Delaware, Illinois and Indiana have introduced regulated sports betting in retail and online. To not only meet the demand of sports fans and bettors but to benefit from tax revenues associated with the pastime.

Since the introduction of the Federal Wire Act of 1961, interstate wagering on sports has been outlawed. This, combined with the fact that there are no federal laws governing online betting, means each state is free and able to set its own laws on the subject as it sees fit.

With this in mind, it’s tricky to know whether betting is illegal or permitted without careful research and guidance from US betting experts. For this reason, our team keeps up to date with the latest happenings from the US betting scene so that we can bring you safe and legal digital platforms that you can use legally to bet on sports such as NFL, NBA and MLB.

If you're looking to bet on sports and reside in a state where betting is legal, you'll be pleased to know there are currently more operator choices than ever before. In the segment below, you can check out our recommended betting sites in the USA, including betting apps that are legal and secure, such as BetMGM, FanDuel and Unibet, brands we have vetted and ranked based on a stringent checklist of criteria.

When it comes to betting sites, it often comes down to preference and taste as to whether or not they are considered a top provider. However, by using a checklist of criteria and looking closely at certain factors, you can form your own opinion on whether or not a site is the best. We've highlighted some factors to consider when reviewing and ranking sportsbooks.

Security

First and foremost, the best sports betting sites on the market take safety and security seriously when handling customers’ personal and financial information. All top providers should operate on secure servers (SSL) with encryption and hold a valid security certificate.

Bonuses

Sportsbook operators offer bonuses and promotions as incentives to sign up or continue betting. The best bonuses often give you bonus credits to wager on sports or place sweat-free bets where you get your money back if your bet loses.

Sports

A wide variety of sports you can browse in various categories such as NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS and NHL. However, this is not just limited to US sports. Any top betting website should also provide access to sports around the world, including Aussie rules, horse racing, soccer and Gaelic football among others.

Odds

The variety and competitiveness of the odds are extremely important when it comes to getting value from your wager. The better the odds, the more potential returns you can get from successful bets.

Betting lines

Along with a great variety of sports, the number of betting lines available can make a real difference to bettor satisfaction levels. Any sportsbook that wishes to be considered one of the best in the industry should provide multiple betting lines and types for wagering, including moneyline, point spread, total points, props and parlays.

So is sports betting legal in your state? The online betting landscape is constantly evolving, so we recommend bookmarking this sports betting guide and checking back frequently to ensure you have the very latest facts and information on betting laws by state. If you're wondering whether online betting is legal where you live, take a look at the list below. Bear in mind that the minimum age for sports betting is 21 and laws are subject to change at any point. Therefore, the most recent additions to the legal betting world may be yet to be added based on the date they went live.

Almost half of all US states have legalized online betting alongside the retail offering, including:

State What's legal?
Colorado Online & retail
Delaware Online & retail
Florida Online & retail
Illinois Online & retail
Indiana Online & retail
Iowa Online & retail
Kansas Online & retail
Louisiana Online & retail
Maryland Online & retail
Michigan Online & retail
Mississippi Online & retail
Nevada Online & retail
New Hampshire Online & retail
New Jersey Online & retail
New York Online & retail
Ohio Online & retail
Pennsylvania Online & retail
Rhode Island Online & retail
West Virginia Online & retail

If your state isn't on the above list, you might be asking, 'Is sports betting illegal in my state?' Which state will be next to introduce legal online betting? Let's take a look at the states where retail sports wagering is permitted, and who may be more likely to make the next step into online and mobile wagering.

State What's legal?
Arizona Retail only
Arkansas Retail only
Washington, D.C Retail only
Montana Retail only
New Mexico Retail only
North Carolina Retail only
Oregon Retail only
South Dakota Retail only
Washington Retail only

Unfortunately not. As mentioned earlier in this guide, the Federal Wire Act of 1961 banned any opportunity to engage in interstate wagering, which includes virtually on any digital device. This means you must reside in the actual state where legal sports betting is offered. This is usually part of the verification process when signing up to any new online betting provider.

By now you shouldn't have to ask, 'Is betting on sports legal?' anymore. When it comes to wagering on sports, US residents have access to many platforms where betting is legal. However, it's still very much a zip-code lottery as to whether or not you're fortunate enough to live in a state where you can bet on your favorite football or basketball teams.

As we've highlighted in our guide, sports betting may be on its way to your state, so it's worthwhile keeping an eye on the laws and legal updates on this page so that you know when to expect betting to go live. In the meantime, if you check out the available operator reviews, you will know which brand appeals to you most when the time does come for you to start wagering on sports. So don't worry about questions like, 'Is online betting legal?' just read our guide and get all of the information you need.

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The legal online betting landscape is complex in the USA as the laws vary from one state to another. You can use our guide at TheGameHaus.com to get the facts and details you need about the latest legal updates, including what is permitted and what is not based on the state in which you reside.

Which states have legalized sports betting?

🏈 Almost half of all US states have legalized sports betting in some capacity, be it online or retail. However, knowing which states remain illegal can be tricky, especially as new legislation is being introduced all the time. Thankfully, the team at TheGameHaus.com have covered all bases when it comes to legal sports betting so you can see whether your hometown is on the list.

📱 Can I bet on sports legally on my mobile device?

It's vital to know whether or not your preferred mobile device is eligible for legal sports betting. At TheGameHaus.com, we've got all the guidance you need around device compatibility and eligibility criteria for each legal operator, including any apps that may be available for iOS and Android.

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