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

Jul 16, 2019 05:25 PM EDT
  • The latest: Sports betting is now live in New York; a bill in North Carolina only needs the governor's signature to become law; New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu officially signed the state's sports betting bill into law; and Maine will officially have to wait until early 2020 for sports betting.
  • 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.

Updated on July 16, 2019

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, six more (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, New York and Tennessee). 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?


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. | S.D. | Tenn. | Texas | Utah | Ver. | Virginia | Wash. | Wash. D.C. | W.V. | Wisc. | Wyo.


LEGAL (16 TOTAL STATES + WASHINGTON D.C.)

  • Recently legal; no betting yet (7)
  • Physical sportsbooks + mobile (5)
  • Only physical sportsbooks (5)

Arkansas

Only physical sportsbooks

Legal sports betting in Arkansas officially launched on July 1, 2019, at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.

Voters approved a gaming expansion bill back in November, and Oaklawn was the first casino to be declared legal by the state. Expect more sportsbooks to launch ahead of football season.

Sports betting in Arkansas is all over-the-counter, meaning there’s no mobile wagering whatsoever. This spring, a bill popped up in the state legislature that would have legalized full mobile betting in the state, but it hit a snag with the inclusion of integrity fees for leagues.

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.

Illinois

Recently legal; no betting yet

It took an extended weekend session by the Illinois legislature in early June, but the state surprised some by getting its sports betting bill to the finish line this year. (We originally had Illinois projected for 2020.)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law on June 28, but the 26-day between the bill passage and the signing could jeopardize the launch of Illinois sports betting in time for the football season, as the Sports Handle pointed out.

Illinois’ bill is unique in this it gives its brick-and-mortar operations — casinos, racetracks and sports venues — an 18-month head start over online-only operators like FanDuel and DraftKings. The licensed brick-and-mortar operations can offer mobile betting right away, but there’s a little more friction in the process, as in-person registration will be required for 18 months.

Under the bill, sports stadiums such as Wrigley Field (Cubs), the United Center (Bulls), Soldier Field (Bears) and Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox) could apply to have betting kiosks.

Indiana

Recently legal; no betting yet

Signed into law on May 8. Recent reports suggest a Sept. 1 launch is still on target, but that will only be retail books. Mobile betting, it appears, will be delayed. Once mobile wagers gets launched, it will be set up similar to what we’ve seen in New Jersey, which has had the most sports betting success of any state outside of Nevada since the Supreme Court overturned the federal ban back in May 2018.

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 expected to be launched some time in 2020, according a recent report. The one wrinkle with mobile betting: You’ll have to register in person before being able to bet on your phone. That provision will remain in place until Jan. 1, 2021.

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 Hampshire

Recently legal; no betting yet

The NH House officially passed a sports betting bill on June 13, and Gov. Chris Sununu signed it into law on July 12. Daniel Wallach reported on Twitter that he expects the first legal wager to be placed in early 2020. There are no casinos or racetracks in New Hampshire, but the proposed law would allow for up to 10 retail sportsbook locations and five mobile operators.

The mobile component is particularly important, given New Hampshire’s proximity to the Massachusetts border. New Jersey has seen a big lift from New Yorkers spilling over the border to place sports wagers on their phones, and as Massachusetts continues to consider legislation, its residents could do the same thing in New Hampshire.

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.

New York

Only physical sportsbooks

The New York Gaming Commission voted on June 10 to allow in-person betting in four upstate casinos — Resorts World, Rivers Casino, Tioga Downs and Del Lago — located hundreds of miles away from New York City. Wagering officially launched on July 16.

For a little while this summer, it looked like mobile betting might also be coming to New York, as the state Senate passed a bill with online wagering provisions. But it took less than two days for that bill to die in the Assembly over questions of whether legalizing mobile sports betting would require an amendment to New York’s constitution.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joe Addabbo, said, “I am disappointed. It was within our grasp.”

So while you can now legally bet in person at the four upstate casinos by the fall, a mobile solution will not be coming in 2019.

Pennsylvania

Physical sportsbooks + mobile

Mobile betting is officially live in Pennsylvania, with the launch of the SugarHouse Casino’s app on May 28. It comes with a catch, though: It only works on Android devices and desktop/laptop computers, not iOS devices. 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 according to a June 10 report from the Boston Globe, it’s expected to launch before football season. Betting handle was $23.6 million in March 2019.

Tennessee

Recently legal; no betting yet

Gov. Bill Lee let a sports-betting bill become law without his signature in late May 2019. Tennessee will be the first legal state to offer only online wagering. There will be no physical sportsbooks, as the state doesn’t have any casinos.

While it was originally thought that wagering would be live in time for football season, a late June 2019 report from NewsChannel 5 in Nashville said that it wouldn’t be ready until November “at earliest.”

Washington D.C.

Recently legal; no betting yet

The D.C. Council approved a bill in December that would allow for sports betting. It officially became law in late March. The plan is to have physical books, perhaps one inside the Capital One Arena, by football season.

After the passage of the bill, controversy engulfed D.C.’s decision to use the lottery administrator Intralot as the sole sports betting operator. The Washington Post reported on June 28 that the five sub-contractors for Intralot, which would receive more than half of the $215 million deal over five years, all have connections to officials in the District, calling into question whether the no-bid contract was a “pay-for-play” deal, as D.C. Council member David Grosso put it.

But in a final debate over the District’s gaming contract on July 9, the council voted, 7-5, to approve the controversial deal, giving Intralot the sole rights to operate online sports betting in D.C.

West Virginia

Physical sportsbooks + mobile

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


PROJECTED 2019 (2 TOTAL STATES)

  • Passed legislature; awaiting governor’s decision (1)
  • Existing laws need further clarification (1)

North Carolina

Passed legislature; awaiting governor’s decision

North Carolina wasn’t on our radar in the beginning of the year, but a bill easily passed the Senate in April, and on July 15, the same bill passed the House with bipartisan support.

The legislation would allow for legalized sports wagering in-person at two tribal casinos: Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, both of which are located in the western portion of the state, 3-4 hours away from Charlotte and 5-6 hours away from Raleigh.

While the bill would not permit any mobile wagering, the state is expected to launch a gaming commission to study the potential expansion of betting. Perhaps most important to the college-sports-crazed North Carolinians, the bill will allow for betting on college sports teams within the state.

Now that the bill has officially passed, all that stands between legal sports betting in North Carolina is Gov. Roy Cooper’s signature. The bill’s sponsors expect the governor to sign the legislation according to Legal Sports Report, but there’s always a chance it hits a snag in the 30-day period Cooper has to sign.

Oregon

Existing laws need further clarification

No bill has passed, but Oregon was one of four states to be grandfathered into legal sports betting prior to the passage of PASPA.

A spokesperson for the Oregon Lottery told The Oregonian on May 30 that the state will launch sports betting in time for football season, adding, “We’re going to go mobile first just because it’s faster and then follow up with a sports-betting kiosk.” We’re keeping it until the “projected” column until that occurs, though, since sports betting has technically been legal for years and the state has yet to act on it.


PROJECTED 2020 (11 total states)

  • Still under consideration by legislature (4)
  • Waiting for next legislative session (3)
  • Possible referendum required (2)
  • Passed legislature, but currently in limbo (1)
  • 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.

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

The Louisiana legislature tried to get some steam behind a sports betting bill in May 2019, but the efforts failed in the House.

Not long after, though, the Senate passed a new bill on fantasy sports regulation, which also includes some language around sports betting, according to AP reporter Melinda Deslatte. That bill went no where. If/when a sports betting bill ever gets passed by lawmakers, each municipality in Louisiana will have to approve of it for wagering to become legal.

Maine

Passed legislature, but currently in limbo

A bill zoomed through the House and Senate on June 19, 2019, as the legislative session neared its end. But Gov. Janet Mills opted not to sign it. Under Maine law, a bill that goes unsigned by the governor automatically becomes law three days into the next legislative session. (Important note: Mills could also choose to veto the bill within those first three days of the next legislative session.)

Matthew Kredell from Legal Sports Report reported on Friday that Maine will not call a special session this summer to revive the bill, meaning we’ll have to wait for Maine’s 2020 session to get underway on Jan. 8, 2020 for clarity on the future of sports betting in the state. The earliest Maine could go legal is Jan. 10, 2020.

Maine’s bill, as it stands now, would allow for full mobile betting throughout the state, and give operators the option to be online-only (meaning FanDuel, for example, wouldn’t have to attach itself to a land-based casino to operate a mobile product within the state). The online-only retailers would face a steeper tax rate, though: 16%, compared to 10% for brick-and-mortar operators.

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

According to MI Bets, State Representative Brandt Iden is working on the draft of a bill ahead of the July 11 deadline to submit legislation for review. The framework of the bill would allow for sports betting online and in brick-and-mortar casinos.

Michigan’s session doesn’t end until mid-December, giving the legislature time to get something done.

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 (7 TOTAL STATES)

  • Tribal gaming conflicts (3)
  • Possible referendum required (2)
  • Still under consideration by legislature (1)
  • 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.

On June 27, we got a big surprise: California assemblyman Adam Gray and State Senator Bill Dodd introduced a sports betting bill, according to ESPN’s David Purdum and the Los Angeles Times. The legislation calls for a November 2020 ballot question, but would need two-thirds support from the legislature to be put on the ballot.

Gray has introduced similar legislation in the past to no success, but there’s a wrinkle this time around that could work in his favor: A week prior, California’s gaming tribes lost a case in federal court that would’ve stopped casino-style games in the state’s cardrooms, per an article from Online Poker Report.

As Dustin Gouker writes, this “opens a small crack in the door for the possibility of sports betting and online poker in the state.” So while the bill gaining any traction still seems like a longshot, Gray’s legislation will at least get the conversation started again in the Golden State.

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. In early June 2019, House speaker Joe Aresimowicz said the bill is “proving to be as difficult as I thought it was, going into it,” according to the WWLP News in Connecticut

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.

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.

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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