States That Have Legal Sports Betting

Betting on sports in the United States is certainly no clear-cut issue. In fact, there are a number of important laws both at the state and federal level that come into play if you are looking to wager on sports. Whether you know them or not, there are sports betting laws in your state, and we want you to be able to understand some of the reasons behind them, as well as the laws regarding sports betting in your state.

Below, we're going to breakdown all the laws that determine whether or not sports wagering is legal where you live and we're going to talk about how these laws can even affect the practice of betting sports online.

It all starts with PAPSA even though it's part of the federal laws for online sports betting and that is because it determines which states are even permitted to offer legalized wagering within their borders. From there, we'll delve into the states where it is actually legal to bet and discuss where is it legal to bet sports online in the United States.

The Effect PAPSA Has On Sports Betting In Individual U.S. States

The Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act was formed in 1992 as a means to end sports wagering in the United States. However, stipulations in the language of the law allowed for certain states to gain immunity to the law. There were specific requirements that had to be met.

First, a state with the opportunity to apply for this immunity must have has a tracked record of licensed casino gaming for a period of at least 10 years prior. Second, those states would have to present their own sports wagering laws within a one-year time frame if they wanted to be grandfathered in.

At the end of that one-year period, only Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware (the charter members) were left standing with the chance to allow for legal sports wagering in their state.

PAPSA itself is a federal sports betting law, but in a roundabout way it started at the state level by giving these states the chance to follow through if they wanted to have sports betting. If you don't live in one of these states, placing a bet with a bookmaker and technically even with a friend is not legal.

However, as mentioned on the page about federal laws, PAPSA only covers intra-state betting and therefore wagering with offshore sportsbooks that are legal is unaffected by the antiquated law.

States With Legal Sports Betting

Nevada - It's only natural that the U.S. gambling Mecca be a place to legally bet sports provided that you are on the grounds of the company which operates the sportsbook in whatever Vegas casino. As such, Nevada has the most free forms of sports betting of any state, but at the same time it is highly regulated and taxed. Las Vegas is where most of the sports betting takes place in the state of Nevada followed by Reno, and the activity attracts millions and millions of visitors each year who come for fun and gambling including sports wagering.

With that said, Nevada frowns upon online gambling of any sort, sports betting included, because they view this as money that is not going through their regulated sportsbooks and casinos. If the money doesn't go through them, they won't get their cut of the taxes which sustain the day-to-day operations of the state. The reason to ban online sports betting is there and while it is prohibited, it is not prevented nor is it prosecuted by the authorities in the state of Nevada.

Delaware - Delaware didn't act on allowing legal sports betting until 2009, but betting in the state can be traced back to 1974. While "legal" these, state lawmakers have restricted the activity by limiting the types of wagers and even the sports that can be wagered on. For instance, only parlay wagering on NFL games, and then betting on horses at horse tracks are legal betting options for those in the state. While offering wagering on the NFL is big for bettors, parlay betting is just a small fraction of the numerous ways to place a bet in Vegas or even at online betting sites.

Like its counterpart, Delaware wants all gambling revenue within the state to come through their regulated gambling operations. Taxes from gambling revenues are huge to a small state like Delaware so the motivation to make all forms of online or unregulated gambling illegal is there. But even as fickle as the Delaware sports betting laws and lawmakers are, they know they cannot enforce the ban on online sports betting at the consumer/citizen level. They instead target the providers and even then, offshore sports betting sites are outside of their reach and they continue to operate freely.

States Where Sports Betting Could Be Legal

Oregon - Oregon took advantage of the chance to receive immunity under PAPSA, however decided to repeal it's laws that regulated the activity back in 2005. Effective at the end of the 2006-07 NFL season (see how big betting on the NFL can be?), sports wagering in Oregon was not permitted by the state. This was done as means to try and entice NCAA events to be hosted in the state.

When sports betting was legal in Oregon, the NCAA refused to conduct any official "NCAA" sporting events in the state and therefore cities in Oregon would never be selected as sites to host NCAA postseason games. As it stands, Oregon is still under the jurisdiction of PAPSA in which they could again legalize sports betting, but have chosen not to exercise that option for the above mentioned reasons.

Montana - Montana has done the least of any of the four states that has had immunity under PAPSA. Sports pools, fantasy sports, and sports tab games are legal in the state, but it doesn't go further than that. Unlike Las Vegas, Montana doesn't attract the steady flow of vacationers and therefore would need to rely on locals to sustain the revenues from sports betting. Considering that Montana had less than one-million residents following the 2010 Census, the model of sustainability doesn't really fit into what Montana is or what Montana desires to be.

Again, there is no need to worry about state sports betting laws which may or may not even still be on the books as they pertain to betting online in Montana. You definitely won't want to start an illegal bookmaking operation within the state's borders and you might even want to think twice before using one. But, that can all be avoided by taking to the web to place your wagers on sports when living in or visiting Montana.

States Where Sports Betting Is Not Legal

We have talked about the four states which had legal sports wagering after the introduction of PAPSA. So with that, we can automatically deduce that betting real money on sports while within the borders of all other states besides Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon is illegal on the federal level when done with an in-state bookmaker. But as we've said before, PAPSA and other laws really don't cover the online portion of sports betting and it really falls into a gray area.

Even when states (outside of the aforementioned four) have laws against online gambling, it is always in an effort to discourage residents and prosecute providers of online gambling WITHIN their jurisdiction, keyword 'within'. That doesn't apply to online betting sites and with states not wasting the time to prosecute its citizens over wagering a few hundred bucks (it would cost way more in resources to prosecute plus be a waste of judicial time) it's a fairly safe proposition for bettors. So basicly, sports betting is pretty much legal in all 50 states as long as you are betting with an offshore sportsbook.

Will I Get Into Trouble For Sports Betting In States Where It Is Not Legal?

We are going to approach this answer from two different perspectives. They are sports betting through a land-based sportsbook in person, and sports betting online.

If you are not living in a state that has any form of legalized land-based sports wagers ushered in under PAPSA, then the bookmaker that you are placing a bet with is not legal, nor were those wagers you placed/were thinking about placing. Law enforcement is quite diligent when it comes to unlawful bookmaking operations running inside of the U.S. states where sports betting isn't legal is why you need to understand the difference between laws for betting in-person and those for wagering online.

When it comes to online sports betting, it's a different story. There are a number of legal online sportsbooks that residents in the United States can sign up and join of which authorities to little about and nothing to prevent. That is because these betting sites operate offshore, and the laws that are in place, even at the state level, do not affect the individual bettor placing the wagers at these offshore sites.

We've listed a few of legal sports betting sites below which will accept residents from your state. Some do not accept all states but be assured that there is something listed to cover you no matter where you want to live. The only thing you must worry about is meeting the minimum age required to gamble at that sportsbook. It's usually only 18 years old but if you aren't at least 18, please do not waste your time as these betting sites will not allow you to join, even to play for fun.

Legal Sports Betting Sites For Americans

Bovada Sports - Takes Wagers From Bettors In 47 U.S. States; New 50% Good For Up To $250 Freeplay

Bovada Sportsbook is an online sportsbook operating out of Costa Rica, but specifically markets to players in the United States. Bovada is a great online sportsbook to sign up for if you are a USA player as anyone over the age of 18 or the legal age in your state, if it is 21, are allowed to wager. However, those in the states of Maryland, New York, and Washington are not accepted due to increasingly tougher restrictions that bettors within those states face when depositing and withdrawing money to and from the site.

As for what they offer, there are literally hundreds of betting lines formed at Bovada every week for sports all across the United States. Plus, you're going to find a lot of stuff you never even thought you could wager on. Bovada has a ton of different betting types like straight wagers, parlays, pleasers, teasers, if-bets and more if you want to find ways to really make your wins pay big!

While a win is never guaranteed, the bonus that first-time depositors get is; a 50% match of the first deposit made good for up to $250. This money is applied as freeplay and must be rolled over before it can be cashed out but the number of times is fairly low; just three times!

BetOnline Sportsbook - Legal For Players In All 50 U.S. States; $900 Bonuses Possible On Every Deposit

Sign up and join BetOnline Sportsbook and play legally as a resident in the United States. Bet on the NFL, college football, college basketball, NBA, NHL, and a ton more throughout the year. You can check out all of the BetOnline betting lines before signing up to see if they meet your needs. They are high quality, and are legal for U.S. players to create and account.

Signing up is always easy and never takes more than just a few minutes to fill out the required online forms and verify your email address. Once you've done that, it's simply a matter of finding a deposit method which will work for you. BetOnline accepts all major credit cards except for MasterCard but it is rumored they will process the card once you have established a trusted relationship with the site.

You are definitely going to want to deposit when you consider the fact that the bonuses never end at BetOnline. This is huge because most sites just load you up one time and offer promotions periodically throughout the year. That wouldn't work for BetOnline so they decided to make a lifetime bonus that was just as good on your 50th deposit as it was the first time you deposited. A 15% or 25% match awaits anyone who transfers funds into their account through the methods advertised at BetOnline. Contact the cashier for more information on redeeming the bonus as you will get different match amounts and will need to use different bonus codes depending on which deposit method you are successful with.

One Of The Best Legal Sports Betting Sites Online

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