Which US States Will Legalize Sports Betting Next?


Since the US Supreme Court repealed 1992’s PASPA ruling in 2018, sports betting has slowly become part of the sporting experience state by state. Following 2018’s repeal, states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey leaped to legalize online and in-person sportsbooks.

Other states, like Delaware and Mississippi, approached sports betting with reservations. Mississippi chose to legalize in-person betting, with mobile options to come in the future. Delaware took a similar approach, with limited in-person options for single-game betting.

Beyond each state’s regulatory stance on sports betting, oddsmakers themselves also worked to meet state protocols while appealing to sports fans. Depending on the state, some major casinos have opted to launch online sportsbooks from existing in-person venues.

Other groups have moved straight to an online format from sports broadcasting, offering odds and wagers from pundits and experts who have made their careers on popular shows that deconstruct major league teams and conferences. And in yet another vein, certain fantasy league groups are now making the jump to add real money to daily fantasy options and season-long platforms.

For sports fans in the US, the past few years have offered an unprecedented number of options for getting in on the action. More than ever, spectators are looking to learn about betting techniques and figure out which team to back. But, depending on a state’s stance on punting, some may have a long wait ahead of them.

Coming Soon

Washington, South Dakota, North Carolina, Louisiana, Virginia, & Maryland

Recently, these six states passed bills to legalize and regulate sports betting. However, the offerings from each reflect the state’s legislative boundaries, which are expansive in some regions and highly specific in others.

North Carolina will allow betting on horse racing and sports on tribal lands, which have seen two in-person locations go live to date. Similarly, Washington legalized sports wagering at tribal casinos throughout the state. Neither state has legalized online or mobile betting options.

South Dakota also legalized sports betting for tribal locations. At the moment, betting is only permitted in the area of Deadwood. Lawmakers still need to establish specific regulatory protocols for sportsbooks, which means sports betting isn’t yet live.

Virginia approached sports betting much like New Jersey did, allowing online options on all sports except Virginia-based college sports. New Jersey doesn’t allow wagering on in-state college sports or events.

Like South Dakota, Maryland and Louisiana still need to set out precise procedures for sports betting, which includes their stance on taxation rates and protocols for registration. Maryland is currently focused on diverting tax revenue from sportsbooks for public education, while Louisiana needs to set up regulations for its 64 parishes.

Unlike other states, which are divided by counties, Louisiana is politically organized by parishes. However, the verbiage for the passed sports betting bill is more lenient than in South Dakota and Maryland, which means Louisiana could see sports betting go live as early as next year.

Possible Jumps

Oklahoma, Maine, & Nebraska

Like South Dakota, North Carolina, and Washington, Oklahoma’s sports betting legislation will happen in tandem with federally-recognized tribal groups. However, in the case of Oklahoma, tribes have set their own gaming regulations, which were approved by the federal Department of the Interior rather than the Oklahoma government.

At the moment, sports betting remains in a legal gray area, with no official bill legalizing sportsbooks in the state. Maine has also seen a back-and-forth regarding the legalization of oddsmakers.

Lawmakers in Maine passed an act to regulate sportsbooks, but the governor vetoed the bill shortly after. Nebraska, on the other hand, recently amended its state constitution to allow for games of chance—though there’s yet to be any articulation regarding what constitutes a game of chance.

As these three states work further to either concretely allow or veto sports betting, other states are continuing to refine sports betting bills after facing rejection from legislative bodies. To date, the only states that haven’t presented any bills that cover sports betting are Idaho, Wisconsin, and Utah.

Utah is the state least likely to join the betting boom, as the state constitution specifically bars all forms of gambling, including lottery tickets.

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Having worked in the marketing department at two online sports betting sites, John brings his love of sports to serve BigOnSports as chief writer. He will be researching and writing about the sports betting community to improve your experience as a sports bettor.