The issue of legality in terms of sports betting in the United States is quite unlike in any other nation; indeed, the issue is fairly complex, and the field is constantly moving, and this often leads many to wonder where the activity is legal and where it is not.
Barely a month goes by without another territory passing the relevant legislation allowing sports betting, be that online or at a legal, physical location, and sometimes both. Below is a definitive and up-to-date background on where things stand as of now (March 2023).
Online Sports Betting Legal
- West Virginia
- New York
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
Physical Sportsbook Legal
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- North Carolina
In three states, the situation is in a pending state as relevant bills are being processed and discussed and could well be passed in the near future. These states include Massachusetts, Maine, and Nebraska.
New York, New York
The trend, with regards to legal sports betting, was moving in the right direction anyway, but the moment New York entered the field last January, the situation started moving a whole lot faster.
The success of the market in the Empire State will no doubt have left many others considering their position. The amount made from taxation is clearly a big reason behind the legislative push, and there is a sense that things are likely to hot up in 2023.
This is echoed by Casey Clark, one of the senior vice presidents at the American Gaming Association (AMA), who stated;
“Last year was a record-breaking year for the gaming industry,”
“And certainly, the continued expansion and adoption of and maturation of legal sports betting across the country contributed to that.”
As for further expansion, Clark added;
“We’ll see [legislative] action in probably nine or 10 states,”
Big Boys in Town
In much the same way that New York helped expand matters, there are hopes by some in the industry that moves to legalize sports betting in other major state markets, such as California, Florida, and Texas, will start a domino chain that leads to potential systemic change across the United States as a whole.
In New York, the state received a massive $693 million in tax revenue from their legal sports gambling activities in 2022, with those in the state backing a huge $16.2 billion in bets over the year, a new record for any US state.
Such numbers are hard to ignore as they clearly show an appetite for sports betting, and the likes of California, Florida, and Texas must surely be whetting their lips at the prospect of securing similar levels of tax from the potential licensed operators in their state.
Clearly, having a licensed, regulated market is also better for residents of these states, who might otherwise opt to sign-up with offshore sportsbooks, who are, at best, problematic and, at worst, downright criminal.