Two important sectors in the US are sports and gambling. However, the combination of these two pastimes (i.e., sports betting) was only legal in a select few states until quite recently.
Even today, while it’s far easier to participate in sports live betting—thanks in part to a myriad of online and mobile options—it can still be heavily restricted or even outright unavailable depending on where in the U.S. you’re attempting to gamble.
Here is information about state-specific sports betting laws.
- Working through a sportsbook, often known as a person or business that accepts bets, is generally necessary in order to wager on sporting events. Depending on state rules, they may either be brick-and-mortar shops where bets may be placed in person, or online and mobile platforms.
- The American Gaming Association reports that 30 states and the District of Columbia presently have sports betting laws that are termed “Live, Legal,” which means that customers may be given single-game sports betting through legal retail, internet, and/or mobile sportsbooks.
- Florida, Nebraska, and Ohio are the three “Legal—Not Yet Operational” states, as sports betting has been legalized by these states but the market is not yet available.
- A number of states, including Alaska, California, Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Oklahoma, have either pre-filed or presented measures in their state legislatures to authorise single-game sports betting or have planned public referendums on the issue.
- Even if sports betting has been legalized, restrictions may still apply and can vary by states, such as limited authorized operators, few permissible bet types, and a minimum age requirement.
Understanding Sports Betting
Sports betting is a type of gambling that revolves around predicting and wagering the outcome of competitive physical activities. The term sports betting can encompass athletic competitions, such as basketball or American football, non-athletic events (i.e., auto racing), and non-human contests (i.e., horse racing). Some online sports betting companies also provide the opportunity to gamble on non-sporting events, such as the outcomes of elections or entertainment events, even if they are not strictly sports in the classic sense (e.g., the Oscars).
Sports wagers come in a variety of forms, with spread, prop, total, and moneyline bets being some of the most popular. Spread bets are bets on whether a team will win by a certain margin or, in the event that they lose, cover a certain number of points. Prop bets are bets on particular occurrences (i.e., who wins the coin toss or scores the first touchdown). Totals, sometimes referred to as “over/under” bets, are profitable if the combined scores of both teams fall within or outside of a certain range. The amount gained with moneyline bets depends on the chance that a specific team will win or lose (i.e., bets on underdogs pay more).
Of these four, prop betting is unique, in that there are five states where this is the only permitted bet type.
Sports betting activities are typically facilitated by sportsbooks, which are companies or individuals that accept bets.Sportsbooks can be physical shops where customers can make bets in person or they can be online or mobile platforms. The terms “sportsbook” and “bookmaker” are conceptually equivalent, despite the latter word often referring only to a specific individual.
Sporting events, casinos, and racinos (gambling and racing facilities) all have physical sportsbooks. Off-track betting is when a sportsbook accepts bets on races but is not situated within a racecourse (OTB).