Sports betting in the US: In what states is it legal?

What States Allow Sports Betting in 2020?

 Sports wagering is of a colossal demand among US residents who are notable for their engagement in team sports in particular. The world honors many eminent sportspeople with American roots who left their signature mark on the global sports scale.

Photo by Juan Salamanca from Pexels

The Internet boost has opened immense horizons for US punters, making online wagers as accessible as never before in the historical chronicles. However, not all 50 states allow sports wagers in the full amount. Some regions put a harsh ban on all gambling activities and strictly punish bookmakers that tend to find a loophole and get around the law.

US betting and gambling regulations

To have a clearer vision of the current gambling & betting situation in the US, we first need to look back at the past and explain how local authorities adjusted their stringent laws over the years.

There’ve always been debates on the government level considering the legalization of sports wagers for US compatriots. The first meaningful change occurred when Congress signed the Interstate Act in 1977, which allowed punters to wager on horse races.

Another notable victory happened in 2006 with the Internet Gambling Act (UIGEA) introduction. The document allows banking institutions to process financial transactions between customers and betting companies.

Finally, the year 2008 made a breakthrough in the US gambling system as the Supreme Court officially knocked down the ban on sports wagering. However, sportsbooks and casual bettors couldn’t equally share the joy from the ban removal. Some states still have sharp restrictions on gambling activities, while few states have a zero legalization activity at all.  

Legalization activity by state (2020)

There is no one golden rule that covers all spheres of sports wagering legalization at full. In some vicinities, restrictions are more rigid than in brother-states. The system works by the following criteria:

  • Group A: Full legalization (physical, online, mobile wagering allowed)
  • Group B: Partial restrictions (brick-and-mortar establishments only)
  • Group C: Under ban (no wagering activity at all)

States in the group A:

  • Nevada
  • Arkansas
  • West Virginia
  • Colorado
  • Rhode Island
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Montana
  • New Mexico

Utah, Idaho, and Wisconsin are on the half-way to wagering legalization. As for other states outside the list, the situation differs in each particular region. Some states remain in the red zone, and it’s hard to forecast when things will start moving in the right direction.

Pros of legalization

When it comes to debates about the pros and cons of whitening the sports wagers nationwide, the opponents divide into three camps: the first supports legalization, others stand against it, and third have no unambiguous opinion on this matter.

Despite multiple arguments and even controversies surrounding the potential dangers of sports wagers permission, there are certain unbeaten benefits to vote for the ban removal in all states:

No black market any longer!

Statistics show that humans’ involvement in sports wagering does not rely on the strict ban. Whether it is prohibited or not, human nature works this way that punters will always seek workarounds to bid on games and tournaments. At this point, we can observe a boost of illegal bookmakers who offer punters to wager on beloved sports at the black market. If authorities legalize sports wagers, they will give the green light to legal operators and significantly hit the black market.

Economic boost

One doesn’t need to be Einstein to grasp that if sportsbooks operate legally, they will have to pay fees to the state treasury. Experts admit that a net income from bookies’ taxes may reach a multi-million mark for each particular state. Thus, wagers whitening will not only remove illegal bookies’ activity from the US map, but will also significantly boost the economic level.

Sports rise

Despite skeptics’ misleading opinion that the gambling craze can negatively influence human minds, the reality is not so scary. Of course, gamblers should know their limits (the same refers to the legal age), but a mindful approach to wagering will not harm society. On the contrary, it will stimulate people’s interest in sport and bring more spectators to courts and stadiums countrywide.

Beloved sports among US punters

American people are in sports from the school years. Their passion for sporting activities increases during the college period and strengthens in adulthood. US folk adore different sports, but the top three winners are:

  • Soccer
  • Horse racing
  • Baseball

Traditionally, horse racing competitions gather the biggest US platforms nationwide, while a multi-million audience watches TV broadcasts of the major soccer games and baseball matches. The most eminent players are honored in the Hall of Fame, and their legacy passes from one generation to another.

How to wager on sports legally in the US

Though not all US states are equally loyal to wagering activities, it doesn’t mean that punters should put a taboo on this pastime. Many global operators provide their services on the online platforms, making sports wagers accessible to US bettors. Still, gamblers should not forget about safety measures and pick up the trusted bookies thoroughly.

According to the WorldBookmakers’ experts, the following hallmarks help detect reliable and safe sportsbooks from the better-to-avoid ones:

  • They are granted with a license by the authorized bodies.
  • Users can find all necessary data, including contact details, in the open-access on a bookie’s site.
  • They have a high-profile customer service department.
  • They do not delay payouts.
  • They allow punters to select between several suitable payment methods.
  • They do not charge deposit fees from customers.
  • They resolve any claims and disputes fairly for both parties.

Summing up

If you tend to bid on sports events in the US, you firsthand need to learn laws and regulations valid for your state. As you can see from this article, some US regions are more loyal to betting activities, while others hold a strict ban on the lion’s share of sports wagers. Even if your state of residence skips the ban, the vital rule all punters should learn by heart is picking up legal and trusted sportsbooks. We hope our guide will help you identify reliable platforms from scammers. 

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