Utah Sports Betting

States across the country are legalizing sports betting — or at least considering it. However, Utah is not among them.

In fact, the Beehive State might be farthest from it.

With well-known and deeply rooted Mormon ties, Utah has successfully kept legalized gambling of any kind at arm’s length.

Not only does the state not feature any casinos or regulated form of online gambling such as sports betting, but Utah also stands as one of five states without a state lottery system.

Lawmakers even went so far as to specify that online gambling will remain illegal in Utah even if the federal government allowed it.

Needless to say, there appears to be next to no hope for Utah to legalize sports betting.

When will Utah sports betting launch?

If the Utah state criminal code is any indication, we might not ever see lawmakers legalize sports betting.

The state’s Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, Welfare and Morals contains this tidbit from Chapter 10 as it relates to gambling:

“If any federal law authorizes Internet gambling in the states and that federal law provides that individual states may opt out of Internet gambling, this state shall opt out of Internet gambling in the manner provided by federal law and within the time frame provided by that law.”

Summed up: If the federal government allows state-sanctioned online gambling (such as sports betting), Utah will continue to choose not to participate.

Even if the day arrived when lawmakers decided that integrating regulated wagering could be beneficial to Utah, they would face an Everest-sized mountain to climb before it would become a reality.

Utah gambling law background

Among the tenets of the Mormon faith is living a pure life, one free from various vices. This includes gambling.

The only true form of gambling in Utah occurred during the heart of Prohibition in the 1920s. Between 1925 and 1927, the state offered legal pari-mutuel wagering. Since that time, any legislative efforts to re-introduce state-regulated gambling have been rebuffed by lawmakers and voters.

One could consider bingo halls as an arm of that industry. But even then, those establishments offer free games and charge only for food.

Horse racing does exist in Utah, though state law clearly states that nothing in the chapter allowing such racing “may be construed to legalize or permit any form of gambling.”

The closest Utah comes to casinos is in West Wendover, Nevada, which shares a border with Wendover, Utah. That small Nevada town is home to five casinos some 120 miles from Salt Lake City.

In 2012, as online gambling rose in popularity, Utah lawmakers amended some verbiage in state laws to include prohibitions on internet gambling, including the inclusion of the aforementioned Chapter 10.

Utah online sports betting

Let’s say lawmakers and the public eventually allow legalized sports betting in Utah. Unless there is also an allowance to build casinos in the state, it would seem more likely that the state only authorizes Utah sports betting online, similar to the sports betting industry in Tennessee.

As such, in the event that sports betting somehow becomes legal in Utah, folks located within the state’s borders could access Utah sportsbooks and betting apps via desktop computers or on mobile devices.

Of course, this is all only hypothetical.

What sports would I be able to bet on in Utah?

If Utah ever legalized sports betting, it would seem a given that operators in the state would feature betting markets similar to elsewhere in the country.

In states that currently offer regulated wagering, bettors have access to a wide array of sports. Obviously, American sports are the most popular, headlined by the big four North American professional leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) and college football.

Some of the popular betting options in the US include:

  • Auto racing
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Mixed martial arts (MMA)
  • Soccer
  • Tennis

Operators in states with legalized sports betting also offer betting options on international sports as well as niche sports. These include cricket, rugby, cycling and even table tennis.

Betting on Utah sports teams

The pride and joy of Utah’s athletic history remains the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake. But fandom tied to local professional and college sports remains incredibly strong.

The state is home to just one franchise in the big four North American professional leagues — the Utah Jazz of the NBA. But its pro soccer team, Real Salt Lake of MLS, also attracts plenty of attention.

  • Utah Jazz (NBA): A New Orleans transplant, the Jazz relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979 and rose to league prominence in the mid-to-late 1990s. The Jazz made five Western Conference Finals appearances in seven years, culminating with back-to-back showings in the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. The Jazz lost both title series to the Chicago Bulls and have not advanced to the conference finals since 2007. But that has not pushed fans away from backing their local franchise.
  • Real Salt Lake (MLS): The club joined Major League Soccer in 2005 and has since built one of the most loyal fanbases in the league. Real Salt Lake claimed the MLS Cup in 2009 and finished second in 2013, not to mention its deep runs in continental tournaments such as the CONCACAF Champions League. The team averaged nearly 90% capacity in its stadium in 2019, 10th among the 24 teams in the league, proving the support and hunger locals have for the club.

Of course, it’s not all professional in Utah. Many folks have ties to local universities, including three that play football in the FBS:

  • University of Utah (Pac-12 Conference)
  • Brigham Young University (West Coast Conference*)
  • Utah State (Mountain West Conference)
    *Independent in football

In addition, Utah is also home to four other NCAA Division I programs, including three that play football in the FCS:

  • Dixie State (Western Athletic Conference)
  • Southern Utah (Big Sky Conference)
  • Weber State (Big Sky Conference)
  • Utah Valley (Western Athletic Conference)

What would be the minimum age for sports betting in Utah?

If Utah ever legalized sports betting, no doubt lawmakers would follow the trend set in other states.

In most other legal jurisdictions in the country, state-regulated industries have set the minimum betting age at 21 years old.

Utah Sports Betting FAQ

Is online sports betting legal in Utah?

No. Sports betting of any kind, retail or online, is banned in the state. No gambling is authorized. In fact, Utah is one of just five states without a state lottery.

Will Utah legalize sports betting?

Likely not. Even before the US Supreme Court repealed PASPA, thus opening the door for state-sanctioned sports betting, Utah lawmakers revised state law to make the state’s intentions clear.

They installed verbiage explicitly stating that if the federal government allowed state-run gambling, Utah would choose not to incorporate legal online gambling, including sports betting.

Are daily fantasy sports contests legal in Utah?

Interestingly, Utah does not specifically address daily fantasy sports. As such, the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel have allowed tournament and contest entries from players in Utah.

Can I bet with an offshore sports betting account?

It’s not recommended. Offshore operators do accept wagers from any location in the US, including Utah. But since those operators are not licensed, they are also not regulated, meaning no authorities are overseeing their activities. As such, users receive no consumer protections.

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