Gambling in the USA can be hard to get your head around, largely because many of the 50 states have their own incarnations of the Federal laws. For instance, much of the USA has banned all forms of sports betting and online betting, but some states, including Nevada and New Jersey now have legal and regulated betting industries.
The below table reveals the legalities of each form of major online gambling in the states of the USA. Just because they are technically illegal, does not mean we can’t do these types of gambling, it just means we’ll be playing at offshore sites, or ones based in another country.
For more information on any of the following please follow the links in the table.
|State||Sports Betting||Racetrack||Lottery||Online Casinos||Online Poker|
|District of Columbia||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
* Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon had existing sports betting laws grandfathered in when PASPA was enacted in 1992; however, Oregon does not have a full-scale sports gambling industry at present.
Sports betting in the USA
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was officially overturned by the US Supreme Court on May 14, 2018, which paves the way for the regulation and taxation of sports betting in the United States.
New Jersey challenged Murphy vs NCAA, which was a legal stoush between major sports leagues and the state, and argued that the industry could provide a significant revenue stream. But the NCAA countered that sports betting was a violation of PASPA.
Twice the PASPA legislation was upheld but finally in a 6-3 majority the Supreme Court made the decision to allow sports betting to be legalised on a state by state basis.
This means each state in the USA can legislate to allow sports betting which will create many different laws across the country, and will ultimately lead to legislation legalising wagering at a federal level to stamp out the conflicting state laws.
At the moment only a few US States have some form of legal and regulated sports wagering, but even these states, in comparison to advanced wagering jurisdictions like the United Kingdom and Australia, are streets behind.
Instead millions of US dollars is being wagered at offshore gambling websites, with these unaffected by the existing Federal laws, despite the best attempts of the Government over the the years.
As sports betting is legalised across the USA states, the jockeying to operate is going to be intense with UK gambling giants like William Hill and Bet365 already signalling their intentions to make a play for the market.
USA sports betting fans wager on everything from the NBA, NFL, college sports, NHL and many other global and domestic sporting competitions.
Major sports in the USA
Click on the drop down boxes below to read more about the major US sporting codes and where to find our helpful betting guides:
- The world’s premier basketball league, the NBA is where the best of the best assemble to play one of the world’s truly global games.
Made famous by the sporting legends it creates — like Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Lebron James, the National Basketball Association features 30 franchises split into two conferences — the eastern and western conferences — that battle it out for the Larry O’Brien trophy in the NBA Finals.
The 82-game NBA season starts in October, ends in May and is followed by a two-month playoff series that crowns a winner in June.
- The one thing that can constantly be relied upon to unite the USA with Canada is the National Hockey League.
Filled with the sport’s best and highest-paid athletes that come largely from Canada, the USA, Russia and all around Europe, the NHL is a fast-paced, bruising league that features 31 teams in major cities across the USA and Canada that make up two conferences — the east and west — battling it out for the Stanley Cup.
Much like the NBA, the NHL regular season starts in October, is played throughout winter and ends in May, where a two-month playoff series ends in June.
- Baseball has long held the hearts of Americans as the country’s deepest and longest romance with sport.
Major League Baseball has 30 teams split into six divisions between two different leagues (with their own unique rules) — the National league and American League.
The MLB features an incredible 162-game season played throughout the summer and is followed by divisional and conference playoffs that end with a champion being crowned in the World Series.
The USA’s greatest folklore and sporting tales stem from baseball and feature some of its highest-paid athletes ever.
- Make no mistake, North America’s push into the world of soccer is real, as Major League Soccer continues to grow in countries where it was once shunned.
Played in the North American summer and featuring 23 teams from the USA and Canada, MLS has grown quickly to attract some of the game’s biggest stars, including David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and a host of others.
- The PGA Tour is the creme de la creme of the men’s professional golf circuit. Anyone who’s anyone plays in the United States, including homegrown heroes Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth and international stars like Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Jon Rahm.
All four of golf’s major titles are co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour, while three of them – the Masters, the US Open and the PGA Championship – are held in the US every year. Several of the events that make up the prestigious World Golf Championships are also staged in North America on a regular basis.
Online casinos in the USA
Online casinos in America are much like sports betting in that there is a lack of regulation in most states, although more and more land-based venues are branching out into the online realm. As a general rule in the states with legal online casinos like Nevada, the website must be paired or owned by a land-based venue, which then allows them to offer real money casino games on the internet.
Other states in the USA still fail to address online casinos in law meaning they are governed by the outdated UIEGA legislation, which fails to stop USA citizens from gambling at offshore casinos, with many decent ones available to citizens of the state. If you are new to the scene, by offshore, we simply mean that the casino has a license in other jurisdiction.
As an example BetOnline.ag is one of the biggest casino operators accepting punters from the USA and they have a Costa Rica license and process all their money offshore. Ideally the US Government does not want this happening, but until they either A) regulated online casinos or B) venture into the world of IP blocking, which they have shown an unwillingness to do, you can legally play at casinos based outside the states.
Latest gambling news
Iowa casinos launch regulated sports betting
Casinos all over the Hawkeye State will launch retail sportsbooks on Thursday, August 15.
Indiana sports betting to launch in September with Horseshoe Hammond
Indiana's largest casino will start taking sports wagers the day before the 2019 NFL season kicks off.
More bookies closing as UK’s High Street crisis worsens
Vacancy rates are skyrocketing as betting shops continue to disappear from town centres.
William Hill records 33% profit drop for first half of 2019
Overseas expansion and FOBT limits have put a big dint in William Hill's profits this year.
Paddy Power Betfair blames FOBT crackdown for profit slump
Flutter Entertainment says higher taxes and FOBT reforms have hurt the company's bottom line.
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