Sports Betting in the USA: Where Is It Legal?

For a long time, sports betting was outlawed throughout almost the entirety of the US, and it took a Supreme Court decision in 2018 to give states the option to legalize this activity.

Some places have been quick to embrace legal sports betting, while there are still plenty of parts of America where it remains unavailable to people who want to place wagers on events legitimately.

So where exactly can you enjoy sports betting with completely above-board bookmakers, and what does the future hold for this type of gambling?

New York

One of the most recent states to give sports betting the green light, the move to legalize in January of 2022 saw sports betting operators lose $200M in New York. This was down to the sheer amount of money spent by gambling operators on advertising to customers, with every player costing over $100 to bring onboard.

Marketing spend in the world of sports betting is bigger than elsewhere because of the bonuses that operators offer. However, this should eventually become a profitable industry in New York, as it has in other states where it is a more established market.

New Jersey

A long time innovator in the world of gambling, New Jersey got into the legal sports betting scene early, and it has built up a healthy player base, with its online wagering leading the way.

Like lots of other states with a growing web-based casino scene, NJ has implemented licensing laws which mean that brands that want to operate online must have a bricks and mortar presence within the state. Likewise players have to be physically within its borders to play bets, which means out-of-state wagering is not an option.


Nevada is the exception, in that it has offered legal sports betting for much longer than anywhere else. This all comes down to the popularity of its land based casinos, and the role that Las Vegas has played in providing the state with economic stimulation since the mid-20th century.

It may no longer be the only place to place wagers legally, but Nevada is still the home of gambling in the US.

The rest

In total, there are currently 28 states across America which have authorized sports betting in some way in recent years, including everywhere from North Dakota and Connecticut to Arizona and Montana.

Furthermore, in the near future places like Florida, Louisiana and Nebraska are all getting ready to implement some form of legal gambling on sporting events, although the finalization of these deals has yet to be completed.

As you’d expect, there are also states where sports betting remains explicitly illegal, even if there is the prospect of this changing at some point further down the line. California is perhaps the biggest example of this, with its huge population presenting an intriguing prospect for gambling operators, and also representing a vast opportunity for more tax revenues to be generated from legal wagering activities.

The one place in the US which looks set to remain staunchly free from any kind of legal gambling is Utah, so residents will need to travel elsewhere if they are interested in placing bets.

The considerations

Even if you are in a state where sports betting is legal, you should still only play with legitimate operators, and also make sure to set yourself a budget for your betting.

Playing with a disreputable or unlicensed site, or failing to stay on top of your spending, could leave you in a sticky situation, so it is best to do your research and gamble responsibly as well.

Photo by David Morris from Pexels