LEGAL US GAMBLING

Latest US gambling news, legal developments and updates

There has never been more discussion around online gambling in the US than right now. More Americans are able to play their favorite casino games, bet on sports, or play poker through their mobile devices and computers than ever before. In fact, no matter where you live in the United States, there are probably opportunities to gamble online relatively nearby.

This page is your premier source of information on legal online gambling in the United States. So, read on for all the latest updates, news and state launches.

Latest online gambling updates

Current as of: Oct. 28, 2021

Sports betting isn’t legal in Ohio yet – despite vigorous legislative attempts every year – but BetMGM appears to be getting ready for it. The online casino and sports betting operator introduced itself to the state by launching its first-ever mobile horse racing app. The BetMGM platform was launched in collaboration with NYRA Bets and allows Ohioans to watch and wager on thoroughbred, harness, and quarter horse races from more than 200 tracks.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, full retail sports wagering is expected to launch on Nov. 1 with, at least, Caesars ready to go. A tribal-owned sportsbook at Paragon Casino is currently the only available option. Mobile/online sports betting is months away, according to the Lousiana Gaming Control Board.

StateOnline CasinoOnline PokerOnline Sports Betting
New JerseyYesYesYes
PennsylvaniaYesYesYes
IllinoisNoNoYes
MichiganYesYesYes
VirginiaNoNoYes
ColoradoNoNoYes
TennesseeNoNoYes
IndianaNoNoYes
West VirginiaYesYesYes
IowaNoNoYes
New HampshireNoNoYes
NevadaNoYesYes
DelawareYesYesNo
OregonNoNoYes
Rhode IslandNoNoYes
MontanaNoNoYes
WyomingNoNoYes
ArizonaNoNoYes

Online casino gambling

At this point, only a handful of states have legal online casinos available to the public. However, there are a few more that are due to join the party sometime in the next year or so. The most prominent of these newcomers is Connecticut, which just began offering online casinos and mobile wagering to the masses in October 2021. Additionally, there is a decent chance that Illinois and Indiana might legalize online casinos in 2022, too. In the meantime, here are the states that have legal and regulated online casinos up and running.

New Jersey

New Jersey is home to more online casino options than any other state and was one of the first to legalize online casino gaming in 2013. Nearly two dozen different apps, including offerings from top brands like DraftKings, FanDuel, MGM, and Golden Nugget, are available to almost anyone with an internet connection in the Garden State. Each site is overseen by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

For more information, visit our New Jersey online casinos page.

Michigan

Michigan is one of the newer members of the online casino fraternity, but the Great Lakes State is already making plenty of waves since its launch in 2021. There are more than a dozen online casino apps for you to try, and you can find options both from big name companies like Caesars and WynnBet and smaller Michigan-based brands like Firekeepers and Four Winds. This diverse mixture of options is available under the umbrella of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Read more about online casino gambling in Michigan.

Pennsylvania

After a lengthy wait, Pennsylvania joined the online casino party in 2019 with just two online casino options. In relatively short order, however, there were more than a dozen different apps available in the Keystone State. All online casinos in Pennsylvania answer to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Get even more details about online gambling in PA.

West Virginia

West Virginia was one of the first states to legalize online sports betting and is, at present, one of the few to offer online casinos. There are four online casino options in the Mountain State, and more should be joining the group soon. The West Virginia Lottery Commission serves as the gambling regulator in the state and oversees all online casino sites there.

Check out our data sheet on West Virginia online casinos.

Delaware

Delaware’s nickname, the First State, stems from the timeliness of its ratification of the US Constitution but is an apt nickname for the state regarding online casinos. However, Delaware has chosen to keep its online casino offerings largely as an in-house thing, with all three of the state’s casinos hosting brands powered by 888. In turn, 888 works closely with the Delaware Lottery, the state gambling regulator. Delaware’s size limits its prospects of expanding its online gambling anytime soon.

Find out all the details about Delaware online casino options.

Connecticut

Connecticut launched in late 2021 with two online casino options & online poker. The state has only tribal casinos — no commercial ones — so two tribes have exclusivity and have partnered with major national online casino operators. While online casinos are up and running in Connecticut, the state is still waiting for the launch of online poker. The Mohegan Sun Online Casino, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, is powered by FanDuel, while DraftKings Online Casino is in partnership with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

Get even more details on the latest in Connecticut online casinos.

Online sports betting

No other type of gambling has more buzz and cachet than sports betting right now. Since a key Supreme Court ruling in 2018, more than half the states in the country have either launched some form of sports betting or are preparing to do so in less than a year. Not every state that has legalized sports betting has chosen to pursue it in the online space, however, so our list below leaves out states like Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Dakota.

Most states realize the increased profit potential from online, though, so in the vast majority of sports betting states, you can play through your mobile device or computer. Before we talk about all those options, let’s discuss states with imminent online launches.

States with online sports betting coming soon

Maryland

Maryland continues to hammer out the final details on its sports betting launch. Officials remain optimistic about a debut sometime in fall 2021, but it wouldn’t be unheard of to get pushed into 2022. Maryland’s approach to sports betting is notable for its sheer size. According to the law, as many as 60 different sportsbooks could call the Old Line State home. The takeaway is that you will have no shortage of sportsbooks to use once Maryland sports betting gets underway.

Louisiana

Louisiana is trundling toward the finish line with online sports betting and expects to become active during the 2021 NFL season. The law allows sports betting licenses to each of the 20 major gambling locations in the state, so Pelican State residents could soon find themselves inundated with options and opportunities to bet on the Saints or the LSU Tigers. Once sports betting launches in Louisiana, there will be 9 parishes in which it will remain illegal, as these areas declined to approve the corresponding ballot measure in November 2020.

New York

New York should have online sports betting in the near future, although a 2021 launch might be pushing it. At this point, most of the major sportsbook companies have indicated that they are interested in providing services to New Yorkers. However, due to the state’s law and rather complicated organizational scheme, some of the biggest brands in the world are submitting their applications as joint projects with archrivals. It remains to be seen what opportunities Empire State residents will have, but with such a large population, it’s a good bet that each New York sportsbook will provide top shelf service.

Current legal online sports betting states

Below are all the states that offer legal online sports betting. However, don’t make the mistake of believing all states to be created equal in their offerings. Each state has its own rules and regulations, with limits on what you can bet on, where you can bet, and the number of apps. Regardless, here’s where you can use your phone or computer to make a wager on a sporting event in the US.

Arizona sports betting

Arizona is one of the largest states to launch online sports betting. Arizona sportsbook licenses are split between professional sports outlets and Native American tribes in the state, but from a player perspective, it’s mostly the usual lineup of books like BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars. Now, the good news is that you can bet on in-state collegiate teams if you like. However, Arizona law does not permit the placement of individual proposition wagers on collegiate games, no matter who’s playing.

Read more about Arizona online sportsbooks here.

Colorado sports betting

Colorado has become one of the shining stars of sports betting in just a short period of time. Since launching in 2020, more than two dozen Colorado online sportsbooks have begun offering their services to Coloradans and visitors to the state. Most types of wagers are available in the state, but individual prop bets on college games are not permitted. In theory, all 35 of the casino properties in the state could offer online sports betting, but it’s still too early in the industry’s lifespan to be at full capacity — to say nothing of whether or not Colorado’s population even supports that many apps.

Learn more about Colorado online sports betting sites.

Connecticut

Connecticut launched online sports betting in October 2021. Because of the state’s small size and particulars of its stakeholders, there are only three Connecticut sportsbooks active in the state. The state lottery offers one of these books in conjunction with PlaySugarHouse. The remaining two books are reserved for Connecticut’s two Native American tribes — the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe (with DraftKings) and the Mohegan Tribe (with FanDuel).

Find out all the details on Connecticut sportsbooks.

Illinois sports betting

Illinois allows online sports betting to take place in a somewhat begrudging manner. Since IL sportsbook apps began launching in 2020, state law has required patrons to register for their accounts in person. Thankfully, this provision will sunset in 2022 (hopefully). In the meantime, you can bet on many different sporting events in Illinois, but wagers on in-state colleges and non-sports events (like elections or awards ceremonies) are not permissible, according to the law.

Learn what’s new for Illinois sportsbook apps.

Indiana sports betting

Indiana beat its next door neighbor, Illinois, to the sports betting table by almost a year and has, in no small part, administered it much better than the Land of Lincoln. State regulations have permitted every Indiana casino to offer online IN sportsbooks, and almost every one has done so at this point. For the most part, you can bet on anything you like in the Hoosier State. However, eSports betting is not allowed, and the Indiana Gaming Commission retains quite a bit of discretion about live betting options.

Read more on how things work at IN online sportsbooks.

Iowa sports betting

Iowa’s entry into sports betting came as a bit of a surprise, but the Hawkeye State is now home to more than a dozen online sportsbook apps. The good news is that most sporting events, including ones involving the University of Iowa and Iowa State, are available for wagering in Iowa. However, if you were planning on eSports betting or placing a wager on the Oscars, you’re out of luck. You will also need to get those college bets on the Hawkeyes and Cyclones in before the game — no live betting on in-state collegiate teams is permitted.

Go here for all the details on betting in Iowa.

Nevada sports betting

Nevada is the original sports betting state and the first to offer online sports betting of any kind. You can find almost any sports wager you can imagine somewhere in the Silver State. However, despite its unmatched pedigree, Nevada remains a frustrating place to play for online sports bettors because of its registration requirements. Under state law, you must register and place your first deposit in person at your chosen NV app’s home casino(s), and it’s a pain if you’re not living in or visiting one of Nevada’s few population centers.

Find out more about Nevada sportsbook apps.

New Hampshire sports betting

New Hampshire is one of a handful of smaller states that has favored a monopoly-esque model for its sports betting industry. The only available app in the Granite State is DraftKings, which works in close partnership with the state lottery. However, you will be able to find some limited options through the lottery itself in the near future. Most wagers in New Hampshire are permitted, but in-state collegiate games are off-limits.

Here’s what to know about sports betting in New Hampshire.

New Jersey sports betting

Since 2018, no state has benefited more from or pushed the envelope farther on sports betting than New Jersey. The Garden State’s hardfought Supreme Court victory opened the door for sports betting outside of Nevada, and state lawmakers have been quick to take advantage of their new freedom. The state is now home to nearly two dozen NJ sportsbooks, and many of the apps have served as a de facto home for New York City sports bettors. The only bets that you cannot make in New Jersey are on in-state college teams OR collegiate events inside state lines.

Check out all the details about NJ sports betting.

Michigan sports betting

Michigan opened its online sports betting doors with a bang in January 2021, with 10 sportsbooks debuting on the same day. Since then, it has become one of the top states for sports betting, with more than one dozen Michigan sports betting apps offering service to Michiganders and their guests. For the most part, Michigan law does not prohibit any particular type of sports wager beyond high school sporting events. However, you cannot make prop bets on individual players in collegiate sports.

For more information, check out our page on Michigan sports betting apps.

Montana sports betting

Technically, you can bet on sports online in Montana, but the method for doing so is extremely limited and, frankly, is rather unpalatable. Montana permits only one sports betting app, Sports Bet Montana, to operate inside state lines, and you can only use the app while you are physically located at one of the state’s retail sports betting outlets. Additionally, the site is a joint effort between the state lottery and its lottery provider, Intralot, and famously offers exceptionally uncompetitive odds for betting. It is not uncommon to see opening payout ratios hovering around -118, which is a massive markup over the industry’s standard -110.

Read more on how to bet on sports online in Montana.

Oregon sports betting

Oregon is another state that chose to launch online sports betting as a state-run extension of its lottery. In fact, the Beaver State was able to take its first bets in Oregon in 2019 thanks to the Oregon Lottery’s assertion that it retained the ability to offer sports betting through grandfathering under PASPA. At any rate, Oregonians can bet on sports through the Scoreboard app as much as they like. However, all college sports are off-limits for betting.

Read our data sheet on Oregon sports betting.

Pennsylvania sports betting

Pennsylvania was the first large state to offer online sports betting. The Keystone State debuted wagering on sporting events back in 2019 and hasn’t slowed down since then. There are nearly a dozen sportsbook apps in service in Pennsylvania now. There are no restrictions on betting collegiate events or other sports in the state, but be aware that non-sporting events (elections, award ceremonies, etc.) are not permitted.

Here’s more on how to bet on sports in PA.

Rhode Island sports betting

Rhode Island is a great example of a state that has amended its sports betting positively since launch. Although the Ocean State debuted wagering on sports in 2018 as a retail-only endeavor, subsequent changes to the law have allowed for online betting and remote registration. Like other smaller states, Rhode Island operates with a state-run sportsbook app as its only option. You have a wide range of options through Sportsbook Rhode Island, but betting on collegiate events inside the state or on Rhode Island universities is not allowed.

Read about Rhode Island sports betting.

Tennessee sports betting

Tennessee’s entry into the sports betting world was a surprise on its own, given the state’s history with gambling. However, the fact that the Volunteer State was the first online-only sports betting state is even more shocking. There are now more than a half-dozen options for Tennessee bettors from which to choose, including a local TN sportsbook, Action 24/7. In-play wagers on collegiate events are not allowed, but everything else is on the table in Tennessee.

Learn more about online sportsbooks in TN.

Virginia sports betting

Virginia became a sports betting state in 2021 and was only the second (after Tennessee) to launch as an online-only endeavor. However, with future plans for retail casinos and sportsbooks in the works in Old Dominion, its status as a nexus for mobile bettors is temporary. Nevertheless, there are now eight sportsbooks active in Virginia, and each one is a big name brand, like BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Barstool. You cannot bet on Virginia universities for the most part, but tournaments involving those teams (like March Madness) are exempt from this provision.

Check out our fact sheet on Virginia sportsbooks.

Washington DC sports betting

Sports betting is a bit complicated in our nation’s capital. The only app available throughout the city, GambetDC, is operated by the DC Lottery in partnership with Intralot. Meanwhile, the Caesars Sportsbook app operates only around Capital One Arena and BetMGM around Nationals Park. On top of that, you cannot bet on DC universities or college games inside the district.

Find out more about the unique setup of DC sports betting.

West Virginia sports betting

West Virginia is the quiet elder statesman of the American sports betting industry and was one of the first states to offer sports betting outside of Nevada. Even though the Mountain State is small, there are six different WV sportsbook apps available inside its borders. All six are partnered with one of the five casinos in the state. You can bet almost anything you like, but, curiously enough, eSports are not allowed as a betting vehicle unless all the participants are over 18.

Read the details about WV sportsbook apps.

Wyoming sports betting

Wyoming became the second state to launch sports betting without plans for retail versions when it came online in 2021. The state’s mixture of low population density, large land area, treacherous weather conditions, and lack of casinos outside of tribal locations in the western portion of the state made an online focus much more necessary than in other states. Wyoming is also one of the few states to set the gambling age for sports betting at 18. There are no real restrictions on the sports available for wagering in Wyoming, either, aside from the customary ban on high school sports.

Here’s all you need to know about betting in Wyoming.

Online poker

Online poker is often the afterthought of the online gambling world. Its low speed and low relative profitability for the sites and states make legalizing it a low priority for most lawmakers. Often, it gets tacked onto larger gaming expansions that are bringing online casinos and/or sports betting to the state at the same time. West Virginia and Connecticut are expected to add online poker to their portfolios in a matter of months. Until then, here are the states that have legal online poker available inside their borders.

Nevada

Nevada is not a surprising location for online poker, given its long history as the center of the poker universe. What is surprising is the dearth of options that Nevadans have — the only active poker site in the Silver State is WSOP.com, the online arm of the world-famous tournament series. WSOP.com is a rather large site and offers cash games, tournaments, sit-n-go’s, and fast fold games. You also can take part in games involving New Jersey and Delaware players, due to Nevada’s membership in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA).

New Jersey

Next to Nevada, no other state has more experience with online poker than New Jersey. The Garden State is home to seven poker sites spread across four different networks. Each site offers the standard types of games and formats, but you’ll have to visit PokerStars if you want a more exotic game or experience. On WSOP.com and 888, you have the opportunity to play against players in Nevada and Delaware, however.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is one of the newer states to launch legal online poker and has only been active since 2019. However, the Keystone State’s population has buoyed the fledgling industry’s efforts to survive, and Pennsylvania is now home to five different poker sites, including giants like PokerStars and WSOP.com. Unfortunately, PA has not moved forward with sharing their player pools with other states yet, so Pennsylvanians are limited to playing with each other for the time being.

Michigan

Michigan hopped into the online gambling world with both feet in 2021 when it launched online casinos, sports betting, and poker on a glorious day in January. So far, two major poker sites — PokerStars and BetMGM — have gotten their businesses underway in the Great Lakes State, and WSOP.com is anticipated to join the party shortly. All three offer great poker action of all stripes inside Michigan’s borders. Best of all, Michigan is likely to join MSIGA in the near future.

Delaware

Delaware is one of the earlier entrants to the online poker game in the US and launched its first site all the way back in 2013. Due to the state’s size and population, the three poker sites in the state are all linked with one another in terms of their network — all three are powered by 888. However, Delaware is a signatory of MSIGA, so Delaware players can play with competitors in Nevada and New Jersey. More or less, Delawareans are able to play for all the benefits offered by WSOP.com.

How US online gambling came to be

Online gambling has been around for decades in the US. Legal online gambling, however, has a much shorter history. The reason for the delay is relatively simple: laws take a while to catch up to new technology. In fact, for the most part, government agencies tend to ban things before making them legal, and that’s largely what happened with online gambling.

So, the first thing to understand is the legal environment for online gambling in the 2010s. Online gambling sites and casinos had proliferated in the past decade (the 2000s) and resulted in millions of dollars wagered every single day in an unregulated environment. This time period also coincided with the “poker boom,” a tremendous resurgence of the game’s prominence in popular culture.

UIGEA leads to online poker’s Black Friday

The federal government did not take this proliferation lying down. Lawmakers passed the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in 2006, which rendered it illegal for gambling companies to accept bets from the internet. Immediately, Partypoker, the largest active site, went dark for US customers. However, other sites, like PokerStars and Full Tilt, quickly swooped in to fill the void. For a time, it seemed like the act was more of a showpiece than a law with teeth, but it was certainly a portent of dark times for online gambling in the US.

In the midst of all this turmoil, Nevada quietly became the first state to offer online sports betting. The first app came online in 2010. However, all wagering took place inside state lines, and Nevada’s position as the sole purveyor of sports betting in the country meant that the development drew little attention from the feds.

The UIGEA remained a mere talking point until 2011. Then, on April 15, the Department of Justice indicted PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker — the three largest online poker sites — for violations of the law. This event has come to be known as Black Friday. Its effect was immediate and profound: the unregulated gaming boom came to a crashing halt.

At the same time, however, other states decided to test the notion that the federal government had no jurisdiction to bar them from offering online gambling games taking place entirely inside state lines. Based on a 2011 Wire Act opinion, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey became the first states with legal online poker two years later in 2013. New Jersey added online casinos during 2013 as well.

The fall of PASPA

For a time, the launches in these three states represented the only real developments in online gambling in the country. The only progress occurred with minor gaming activities like daily fantasy sports and iLottery. What most people didn’t know, though, was that New Jersey had already begun the court case that would change the entire face of online gambling in the US. Everything came to a head in May 2018.

At issue was a law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, or PASPA. PASPA banned sports betting in all states except those that already had active sportsbooks or sports betting games. In practice, the law created a near-monopoly for Nevada. In response to public support, though, New Jersey had legalized sports betting inside its borders in 2012 and had been fighting in court ever since. Finally, despite losses at every lower court, the Garden State managed to gain an audience with the US Supreme Court. After hearing arguments in late 2017, the Court rendered a 6-3 verdict in favor of New Jersey and struck down PASPA as a violation of the Tenth Amendment.

Online sports betting and the future

At that moment, the ball for sports betting began rolling in the US, no pun intended. New Jersey and Delaware accepted the first legal sports bets outside of Nevada a month later. Furthermore, technology had progressed to the point that online sports betting made sense as a complementary offering to retail sports betting. So, many states that legalized sports betting made it available in both online and retail form. Three states — Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming — went so far as to launch in an online-only format. At last check, you can find online sports betting in roughly half of the states in the country.

Additionally, because online sports betting has turned out to be such a boon to state coffers, lawmakers have recently begun entertaining further expansions into online casinos and poker. Online casinos are now legal options in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Connecticut. Online poker is available or soon to be available in those areas, too, and several of those states are likely to combine their player pools to increase traffic in the near future.

With all that said, it’s important to realize that the federal government remains fairly hostile to the notion of internet gaming and is willing to battle in court over new developments. To that end, and on the heels of its PASPA loss, the Department of Justice embarked on an ill-fated attempt to interpret the Interstate Wire Act — a Kennedy-era law that is the reason interstate sports betting is illegal — as relating to all types of gambling. Though that attempt failed in court, it is evident that federal opponents of gambling have not surrendered to the wave of public opinion. In other words, it’s safe to say that a national law to permit online gambling seems less likely at this point in time.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a writer and poker player from Houston, Texas. When he's not teaching high school math and business, Bart writes about the NJ online casino industry and US online poker. He has a master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a degree in English from Texas A&M.

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