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When Will Online Sports Betting Be Legal? Projections for All 50 States

May 20, 2019 10:05 AM EDT
  • Darren Rovell caught up with two legal experts -- Daniel Wallach and Jake Williams -- to see when they expect online and physical sports betting to be legal in each of the 50 states.

It’s been a year since the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting, allowing states to legalize it if they wish.

So where do we stand a year later? What states are in business, and how are they doing? What states are imminently coming online? And what states are on the back burner? We’ve compiled a comprehensive look at all 50 states (plus Washington D.C.), with projected legalization dates for every state.

To make this as simple as possible, there’s an interactive map below, and the text for each state is ordered by the projected year we expect them to come online. Two experts — Daniel Wallach, principal at Wallach Legal, the nation’s first law firm solely devoted to sports betting, and Jake Williams, vice president of legal and regulatory affairs for Sportradar — helped me with the projections and sub-categories for every state.

My conversations with Daniel and Jake came in the midst of a flurry of new states legalizing. Since the beginning of May, three more (Iowa, Indiana and Montana) have come online, and Tennessee should join them soon. Don’t be surprised if 15 states in total are accepting bets by the end of 2019.

That’s enough of a preamble; let’s dive into the map and the full list. If you’d prefer to navigate directly to your state’s section, please click the links below.

When Is Legal Online Sports Betting Coming to Your State?

Updated on May 14, 2019


Ala. | Alaska | Ari. | Ark. | Calif. | Colo. | Conn. | Dela. | Fla. | Ga. | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Ind. | Iowa | Kan. | Kent. | La. | Maine | Mary. | Mass. | Mich. | Minn. | Miss. | Mo. | Mont. | Neb. | Nev. | N.H. | N.J. | N.M. | N.Y. | N.C | N.D. | Ohio | Okla. | Ore. | Penn. | R.I. | S.C. | Tenn. | Texas | Utah | Ver. | Virginia | Wash. | Wash. D.C. | W.V. | Wisc. | Wyo.


LEGAL (11 TOTAL STATES + WASHINGTON D.C.)

  • Physical sportsbooks + mobile (5)
  • Recently legal; no betting yet (4)
  • Only physical sportsbooks (3)

Delaware

Only physical sportsbooks

Was the first legal state after the Supreme Court’s ruling, ahead of New Jersey, which brought the PASPA case to the forefront. But Delaware’s lack of mobile betting and its decision to have the lottery run the show have put it far behind New Jersey in terms of betting volume. Betting handle was $10.5 million in March 2019.

Indiana

Recently legal; no betting yet

Signed into law on May 8. Stated goal is to have things up and running by Sept. 1. The law calls for full mobile betting, similar to what we’ve seen in Nevada and New Jersey.

Iowa

Recently legal; no betting yet

Signed into law on May 13. Goal is to be taking bets by July or August. Betting will be available via brick-and-mortar locations to start, with mobile betting coming shortly thereafter. The one wrinkle with mobile betting: You’ll have to register in person before being able to bet on your phone.

Mississippi

Physical sportsbooks + mobile

Has mobile betting, but, similar to Montana, it’s very restrictive, only permitted while inside a casino. Betting handle was $32.4 million in March 2019.

Montana

Recently legal; no betting yet

Signed into law on May 3. The state lottery will oversee everything. Bettors will be able to place a wager inside licensed bars and restaurants via kiosks or on their phone, but mobile betting will not work outside of those bars and restaurants. Stated goal is to have things up and running by football season.

Nevada

Physical sportsbooks + mobile

Full mobile as long as you’re within the state’s borders. Betting handle was $596.8 million in March 2019, the highest month ever in the history of the state.

New Jersey

Physical sportsbooks + mobile

The closest version to Nevada we’ve seen since the Supreme Court’s ruling a year ago. Both residents and non-residents can place wagers via their phones, so long as they’re within the state’s borders. New Jersey has brought in $2.32 billion in bets in the nine-and-a-half months on record, 80 percent of which have come via mobile.

Betting handle was $372.5 million in March 2019, its second-biggest month ever, behind only January of this year.

New Mexico

Only physical sportsbooks

No bill passed, but Native American tribes have interpreted that their sportsbooks are legal under their state tribal gaming compacts.

Pennsylvania

Physical sportsbooks + mobile

Mobile betting expected to come soon. Betting handle was $44.5 million in March 2019.

Rhode Island

Only physical sportsbooks

Legal betting age is 18, unlike any other state, which is 21. Rhode Island doesn’t have mobile betting yet, but it could be coming later this year. Betting handle was $23.6 million in March 2019.

Washington D.C.

Recently legal; no betting yet

The D.C. Council approved a bill in December that would allow for sports betting. Officially became law in late March. Plan is to have physical books, perhaps one inside the Capital One Arena, by football season. Mobile betting is a bit more complicated, since lottery administrator Intralot is running the show, much to the dismay of some in the District.

West Virginia

Physical sportsbooks + mobile

Mobile temporarily suspended due to vendor issues. Betting handle was $17.5 million in March 2019.


PROJECTED 2019 (5 TOTAL STATES)

  • Existing laws need further clarification (3)
  • Passed legislature; awaiting Governor’s signatures (1)
  • Expected to pass legislature soon (1)

Arkansas

Existing laws need further clarification

Bill introduced this year died largely because of an onerous 1 percent integrity fee that would go back to leagues. While leagues are pushing, no current legal state allows for that.

New Hampshire

Expected to pass legislature soon

Approved by house, likely to be approved by senate and governor. There are no casinos or racetracks, but proposed law would allow for up to 10 retail sportsbook locations.

New York

Existing laws need further clarification

The existing law, enacted in 2013, only permits wagers to be made in person at the four upstate casinos, located hundreds of miles away from New York City. Odds are these will be up and running by football season. There is still no mobile betting in sight despite New Jersey posting huge numbers.

Oregon

Existing laws need further clarification

No bill passed. State lottery maintains that sports betting is legal under current laws.

Tennessee

Passed legislature; awaiting governor’s signature

The governor has said he’ll let the bill become a law without his signature. If that happens, sports betting can start as soon as July 1 in the state, but expect it to come closer to football season. Tennessee would be the first state to be online only.


PROJECTED 2020 (11 total states)

  • Still under consideration by legislature (5)
  • Waiting for next legislative session (3)
  • Possible referendum required (2)
  • Tribal gaming conflicts (1)

Colorado

Possible referendum required

Will hit the ballot in November. If it passes, sports betting can be legal by May 2020.

Illinois

Still under consideration by legislature

Five amendments were proposed to a sports betting bill and there’s a question as to whether the legislature can get on the same page before the session closes on May 31.

Kansas

Waiting for next legislative session

Legislature got far down the road before session ended. Expect quick approvals when it returns in 2020.

Kentucky

Waiting on next legislative session

Kentucky ran out of time to get something done this year, but given how much gambling on horse racing means to the fabric of the state, expect something to get done next year.

Louisiana

Possible referendum required

A sports betting bill has been filed in the state legislature. The session ends in June. But even if it passes, each municipality has to approve of sports betting for it to become legal.

Massachusetts

Still under consideration by legislature

While residents have pressured the state to get going, driven by smaller surrounding states having legal sports gambling, Massachusetts isn’t exactly imminent. One bill would allow the state to give out online/mobile licenses without it having to be tied to a land-based casino. That would be a welcome development for DraftKings, which is headquartered in Boston and the No. 1 mobile sportsbook in New Jersey.

Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12).

Michigan

Still under consideration by legislature

A bill is expected to be proposed by the end of the month, which still makes 2019 possible since the session goes until mid December.

Missouri

Still under consideration by legislature

There are a couple bills in Missouri, some which include what is perceived by many to include fees that would be disadvantageous to operators.

North Dakota

Tribal gaming conflicts

Two bills were introduced. One failed in the house and one failed in the senate.

Ohio

Still under consideration by legislature

There are two warring bills with a fight over who would run a sports betting enterprise in the state. Positive? The legislative session goes to the end of the calendar year.

Virginia

Waiting for next legislative session

West Virginia legalized it and Washington D.C. is now ready to go, but Virginia took a step back on gambling this legislative session, deciding instead to study it.


PROJECTED 2021 (9 TOTAL STATES)

  • Still under consideration by legislature (3)
  • Tribal gaming conflicts (3)
  • Possible referendum required (2)
  • Waiting for next legislative session (1)

Alabama

Still under consideration by legislature

This is all you need to know about Alabama: Its House of Representatives just passed a bill legalizing fantasy leagues in an attempt to reverse what is not allowed by the state constitution.

Arizona

Tribal gaming conflicts

Will the tribes run sports betting in the state? The tribes themselves can’t even decide if or how they want to be involved, so this is going to take a while to sort itself out.

California

Possible referendum required

California, which has 17 major pro sports teams and one fifth of the country’s population, has a double whammy: Legalization would likely require a change to the state constitution, and all gaming is controlled by tribes.

Connecticut

Tribal gaming conflicts

The toughest opponents to sports gambling continue to be the tribes and Connecticut is no exception. While one remedy is to give the tribes sports gambling, making a new deal comes with complications.

Florida

Tribal gaming conflicts

Voters turned down a referendum that would have provided for sports betting in the state, leading some to believe that Florida will be one of the last states in the game. But word is that the powerful Seminole tribe is willing to listen if it can be at the table to control sports gambling, much in the way it controls gaming within the state.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

Maine

Still under consideration by legislature

There are many bills in play — too many at this point — each with different takes on physical versus mobile and what the tax rate should be.

Maryland

Possible referendum required

The state failed to get anything done this year, which means that it’s next year at best to pass something. Expectations are, if that happens, that actual sports betting doesn’t come until 2021.

North Carolina

Still under consideration by legislature

North Carolina was the last state in the south to approve the lottery (2005) and is not considered progressive on the gambling front.

Texas

Waiting for next legislative session

Texas is also one of the few states where fantasy still isn’t even legal. There’s a strong push by some to get sports gambling legalized, though lobbyists might be stronger.


NOT IN SIGHT (14 TOTAL STATES)

  • Little to no action (7)
  • Tribal gaming conflicts (4)
  • Possible referendum required (3)

Alaska

Little to no action

Alaska is pretty much nowhere on sports gambling. The 49th state might actually be the 49th to legalize it.

Georgia

Possible referendum required

Georgia is quite conservative and an amendment to the state constitution stands in the way of legalizing sports betting.

Hawaii

Little to no action

One of the most inactive states. A bill was created to study the issue.

Idaho

Little to no action

State laws as written are currently against gambling, save for horse racing. State doesn’t allow fantasy.

Minnesota

Tribal gaming conflicts

The state’s 11 federally recognized tribes do not want expansion of gaming. That’s an issue.

Nebraska

Possible referendum required

There’s not too much optimism in Nebraska after the state turned down the right to expand casino gambling at its racetracks years ago.

Oklahoma

Tribal gaming conflicts

If anything is to happen, it has to go through the tribes.

South Carolina

Possible referendum required

See Georgia.

South Dakota

Tribal gaming conflicts

Will go through tribes if a constitutional amendment passes.

Utah

Little to no action

Sports betting is likely never coming to Utah.

Vermont

Little to no action

When PASPA was overturned, the executive director of Vermont’s lottery said he didn’t know of a single person who wanted sports betting in the state. Does that sum things up for you?

Washington

Little to no action

Gambling would first go through the tribes to the legislature, and if it passed, it would allow the tribes to negotiate with the governor. A lot of red tape.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Russell Wilson

Wisconsin

Tribal gaming conflicts

State’s constitution prohibits gambling. Tribes are said to want to keep the status quo.

Wyoming

Little to no action

Three licensed casinos in the entire state. No legislation has even been introduced.

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