Sports Betting Legality by State

PASPA, the federal law making sports betting illegal was overturned in May 2018. That meant online sports betting, and sports gambling in general, was now in the hands of state governments. For most states interested in offering online sports betting and all the tax revenue that comes with it, they were left to do two things:

1) Pass a bill to explicitly allow sports betting if they have not done so already. This often leads states to simply allow existing gambling bodies including state lotteries, local tribes, and casinos to add a brick and mortar, AKA walk-up, sportsbook. This is the least complicated step to the real revenue earner that is online betting. It is projected that more than 90% of wagers will be placed online in most states.

2) Develop a licensing model for online sports betting that is uniquely formatted for their state. This is by far the most difficult part of states bringing internet sports betting to market. New legal bills must address items such as tax rate, fees for entry, license bidding and the total number of licenses. Second, but no less important, are issues such as earmarks, integrity of sports, and gambler safeguards.

Almost all states can be classified as being in one of the four groups below. Nearly all states have begun reviewing bills or have legalized walk-up sportsbooks. Revenue estimates are based on a normally full sports calendar and a 7% hold on wagers. See the State’s status description for explanation of tax revenue projections.

Walk-Up Betting Only

These states have legal sports gambling and have licensed brick and mortar sportsbooks. These states have not finalized the details of online gambling licensing, tax rules and/or have not finalized agreements with the online sportsbooks that would utilize those licenses. Revenue projections are based on if the state were to embrace online sports betting and it’s current sports betting tax rate. Some states may have a higher tax rate for revenue from online gambling.

2020 Online Betting Bill Killed

Date Sports Betting Legalized: July, 2019

Online Licensing Began: Mobile wagering not permitted

Bill: HB 323

Overseen By: The Arkansas Racing Commission

Revenue Tax: 13%

Prohibited: eSports. Local College Sports

Online Casino: No  Online Horse Racing: Yes   Online Poker: No

Arkansas added sports betting to their existing casinos and more are expected this year. There currently aren’t any active bills in support of online sports betting.

State Lottery Ran - Not Online

Date Sports Betting Legalized: June 11, 2018

Online Licensing Began: None

Bill: N/A – Sports betting was not illegal in Delaware.

Overseen By:  Delaware State Lottery

Revenue Tax: 50%

Prohibited: None

Online Casino: No Online Horse Racing: *Yes Online Poker: No

Delaware will likely need to to witness other states earning revenue from online gambling before investments are made. Online sports betting is not illegal however there are barriers to entry that leave the potential for it in the hands of the state sports lottery. *Online horse racing is offered through standalone websites.

Online late 2021? Local casinos could buy license now.

Date Sports Betting Legalized: June, 2019

Online Licensing Began: N/A

Bill: SB 690

Overseen By: The Illinois Gaming Board

Revenue Tax: 15%

Prohibited: In-state betting on college sports & minor league teams

Online Casino: Yes    Online Horse Racing: Yes    Online Poker: Yes

Illinois is not allowing brands that are not part of the existing local gambling offering, to enter the online betting market for the first 18 months. Existing casinos have not taking the steps needed and may be using the time to make as much money as possible before online giants eat into the action. At this time the state is a year into legalized sports betting leaving local bettors eager to see what unfolds in the next year when outside sportsbooks can enter the market.

Early 2021? Online Licensing underway.

Date Sports Betting Legalized: December 20, 2019

Online Licensing Began: TBD – Drafting Licensing Guidelines

Passed Bill: HB 4311-12, 4916-18, 4307 & 4308

Overseen By: Michigan Gaming Control Board

Revenue Tax: 8.4% (unless re-established)

Prohibited: In-state college sports*

Online Casino: Legalized   Online Horse Racing: Legalized   Online Poker: Legalized

Michigan will be a case study in what happens when a state goes all-in on online gaming, in all forms, while commanding a conservative 8.4% revenue tax. The state is expected to actively offer legalized online gambling early 2021.

*Michigan is a state where prohibiting betting on in-state college football teams could have a legitimate impact on revenue.

No Licensing For Online Betting

Date Sports Betting Legalized: June 11, 2018

Online Licensing Began: N/A

Bill: H 1481 was the last online gambling bill but was dropped early 2019

Overseen By:  Mississippi Gaming Commission

Revenue Tax: 12%

Prohibited: N/A

Online Casino: No Online Horse Racing: No Online Poker: No

Technically online betting is allowed but only on site of the land casino. This will ensure that revenue is relatively low. At least 80% of wagers will occur at home once mobile online betting is established.

No Online Betting Planned

Date Sports Betting Legalized: May 3, 2019

Online Licensing Began: N/A

Bill: a411 allowed for walk-up sports betting

Overseen By: The Montana Lottery

Revenue Tax: 9%

Prohibited: No college sports. No eSports

Online Casino: Yes   Online Horse Racing: Yes   Online Poker: Yes

Bettors can fill out their bet slip from their mobile app but ultimately the barcode from the bet receipt must be brought to a sportsbook or kiosk to confirm said wager. It’s a somewhat like making your grocery order for curbside pickup in that you still need to go to the store. Montana has a list of kiosks and sportsbooks where a player can confirm their bet using the bar-code. There is currently no legislation in the works that would legalize true online sports betting in Montana.

New York
No Online Gambling Legislature

Date Sports Betting Legalized: June 26th, 2020

Online Licensing Began: Online wagering not permitted

Bill: S5883 was passed in 2013 opening the door for gambling after federal law was changed.

Overseen By: The New York State Gaming Commission

Revenue Tax: 12%

Prohibited: eSports. In-state College Sports

Online Casino: No  Online Horse Racing: No Online Poker: No

Governor Cuomo has talked about coordinating with neighboring states when the impact of government decisions is felt across state lines. That is certainly relevant with online sports betting as a large percentage of f New Jersey’s wagers take place along the NY border. It’s a matter of time before online sports betting is legal in New York. Currently upstate New York has land-based sportsbooks, without any in New York City. Tax revenue estimates of $90m are realistic and the state may command nearly $200m if they were to tax multiple online gambling licenses at a rate closer to 20%.

Online betting expected by Oct. 1st

Date Sports Betting Legalized: April, 2020

Online Licensing Began: October 2020

Bill: HB 896 allows for online sports betting.

Overseen By: Virginia Lottery Board

Revenue Tax: 15%

Prohibited: In-state betting on college sports

Online Casino: Yes, when online.  Online Horse Racing: Yes   Online Poker: No

As many as 12 online licenses are expected to be awarded in time for the NFL regular season, especially if there is a delay due to the Covid-19 virus. Betting on in-state NASCAR tracks is included in the bill.

No Online Gambling Bills

Date Sports Betting Legalized: March, 2020

Online Licensing Began: Not permitted

Bill: HB 2638 allows for physical sportsbooks.

Overseen By: Washington State Gambling Commission

Revenue Tax: 13%

Prohibited: eSports. Local College Sports

Online Casino: No  Online Horse Racing: No Online Poker: No

There are no plans to add licensed online betting in Washington. HB 2638 dictates that bettors can bet online only when they are on the grounds of tribal casinos. Initial projections suggest $38m could be made if Washington embraced online gambling.

Bill Introduced

These are states with active legislation that is meant to accelerate sports betting. The bill could be addressing land-based betting or online gambling policy. In both cases, if the state does not already have a physical bookmaker presence, they are listed here.

All revenue estimates are based on numbers where online betting is already in place using a 13% revenue tax if the state has not already established a would-be tax rate.

Prelim Bills: HB 246 & SB 188

Governor Mike Dunleavy introduced these bills which would allow a gambling committee to be formed, the Alaska Lottery Corporation. The committee would lay the ground work for new gambling law. Online betting is likely years away.

SB 1525 for Walk-Up Only

Arizona is one of the states that is breaking down the path to online sports betting in two parts. Sports betting is against tribal law. If the state can pass this bill making it legal to offer sports betting at existing casinos and kiosks, it will be much easier to add online gambling later. However even making physical sportsbooks legal will have its challenges. Analysts do not expect sports betting to be added to Arizona in 2020.

Long shot ACA-16 would allow Sportsbooks

Proponents of California sports betting face an uphill battle including restructuring tribal pacts and the state constitution. Any kind of sports betting in 2021 appears unlikely.

S 970 died. New Tribe Pact Expected

There is no sports betting in Florida. In the coming months Florida governor intends to come to an agreement with the Seminole Tribe to create a new comprehensive gambling outline that will allow sports gambling, online betting. Florida is currently prohibited from running sports betting through it’s own lottery due to the existing tribal casino agreement. The 2020 session has closed, however a new vote is expected in 2021 after the logistics are ironed out.

SB 403 would allow online betting.

This bill includes article 4, “The Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports 203 Wagering Integrity Act” which, like Tennessee, involves forming a 7 member committee to oversee gambling in the state. SB403 outlines a fee structure involving a 10% tax rate, a $900,000 per year annual fee, and a league data fee for live betting. Mobile online betting appears possible for the 2021 football season.

Online Gambling HB 2671 to go to Senate

The Senate introduced it’s bill with a much lower tax rate of 8% for wagers placed online. The House Bill 2671 calls for a 20% tax for bets placed online. The good news is both bills are targeting how to handle online betting. The bad news is that these bills are unlikely to be reconciled until 2021. That means online sports wagering is possible for NFL 2021.

HB 137 for walk-up only

Due to Covid-19 and a shorter session HB 137 is unlikely to be included this year but is expected to be reintroduced next year. The bill does not explicitly allow for online sports wagering. This version of the bill calls for a fee in the amount of 3% of handle which is likely too high for online betting to be successful.

HB 119 (online betting) will be heard

HB 119 allows for sports gambling and specifically online sports betting. If passed in 2020, it would allow the state to begin working on licensing details and protocol. It is unlikely Missouri would have sports betting at all until the middle of 2021.

North Carolina
Legalized Fall 2020 - No Online Betting

Overseen By: NC Lottery Commission

Revenue Tax: 13%

Prohibited: eSports

North Carolina will soon join the list of states that have brick and mortar sportsbook but no online offering. However, the commission is expected to review that outlook and formulate a plan to bring NC sports betting online.  North Carolina does indeed plan to allow bets on North Carolina college sports.

SB 111 & HB 194 Review - Online 2021?

These two bills represent two distinctly different state gaming models. SB 111 is a proponent of regulating a competitive market that would allow the likes of DraftKings and Bet365 while HB 194 proposes a state-sponsored sportsbook ran by its own lottery. Both bills call for a tax rate of 10% or less. The current gambling tax rate of 33% is the reason local casinos haven’t already established land-based sportsbooks that are already legal. Even at a 15% tax rate, Ohio stands to make $75-$100m in a full year of operation.

If these bills can be reconciled in the short amount of time remaining in 2020, it’s possible to see sportsbooks licensed and online in summer of 2021.

South Dakota
SJR 501 adds walk-up sports betting

This bill allows for an amendment of South Dakota’s constitution. This means that during the session next year, South Dakota can decide what having sports betting means for the state. It may only mean that in the future the tribal casinos will offer sports betting. It does not allow for online sports gambling which would likely require further debate.

H 1275 Online Gambling introduced

This bill is destined to fail and it is not the bill that Texas or online bookmakers are expected to pursue. The most obvious reason this bill will not pass is the “6.5% tax on every bet”. Sportsbooks would need to charge 20% vig instead of 10% to essentially double their hold and pay the fee on betting volume. Bettors hoping for online gambling in TX should look to January, 2021 for a more standardized online betting bill.

Online Betting Bill SB 213

Date Sports Betting Legalized: Bill in Review

Online Licensing:  Potentially August 2020

Bill: SB 213

Overseen By: Vermont Lottery

Revenue Tax Proposed: 10%

Prohibited: eSports, In-State college games.

Online Casino: No   Online Horse Racing: Yes Online Poker: No

As states legalize, neighboring states will do so at a faster rate. The domino effect is a factor in Vermont after New Hampshire decided to legalize sports betting, essentially making it available to Vermont residents who are willing to cross the boarder. Online sports betting could be offered as soon as the 2020 football season.

No Bill

Representatives from these states have not recently reviewed bills and bills are not expected to be introduced in the near future. All revenue projections are hypothetical and based on the performance of sportsbooks that are established in states where online betting is legal.

HB 315 died in committee

Alabama’s HB 315 would have formed a gambling commission and immediately allowed the committee to draw up plans for online gambling. Revenue was set to be taxed at 10%. This bill died in committee. Sports betting is expected to be addressed again early in 2021 but it is unlikely online gambling will be in play until 2022.

CT at standstill with Tribes

H 5168 introduced but can not move forward due to tribal rights. Gov. Ned Lamont supports an open gambling platform that would allow for multiple licenses that could include mobile betting from the well known international operators. The Indian Tribes in CT, that support the state with billions in revenue share, claim exclusive rights to all gambling in CT. Connecticut may need to give the tribes a temporary-exclusivity head start as other states have done for their tribes. Online sports betting in the state is likely not in the cards until at least mid-2021.

No gambling of any kind

Along with Utah, Hawaii does not have foundational gambling in which to add sports betting. Also going against proponents is the fact that Hawaii is an island state that can’t lose legal sports betting revenue across its border.

Sports betting is illegal including DFS

Idaho is largely an anti-gambling state with the exception of horse racing. The state is one of the few that has banned Daily Fantasy Sports.

HB 245 adding sports betting - Died

This HB 245 bill was going to add sports betting only to existing horse tracks yet it could not gain traction. Louisiana may be two years away from the ability to outline an online licensing model. The best teller may be what happens in the short term with neighboring states.

Governor vetoed last online betting bill

The house and senate passed the bill last year. Extensive lobbying took place from casino workers who feared losing their job at the land casino. The governor vetoed the bill and the house let it die rather than reintroduce. It can be voted on again next year.  It did allow for online betting to be introduced.

Sports betting remains illegal

Tribes who exclusively hold the gambling rights in Minnesota are firmly against alterations that would allow sports betting. It has been argued that the economic benefit is not high enough.

No legislature in 2020

The good news for Nebraska bettors is that all of the neighboring states are expected to offer sports betting soon. The state likely can not afford to let that money leave due to principal. The bad news is that there is nothing in the works currently. The most recent sports betting legislature never made it out of committee.

North Dakota
Senate Killed HB 1254 w/o debate

The house passed a bill to legalize sports betting in 2019 but it was killed in the senate without a debate. There are no new bills expected until possibly 2021.

Discussions on walk-up betting only

Oklahoma has presented two tribes with new pacts that explicitly prohibit online betting in the short term. These pacts have proposals for strict on-site sports betting only.

South Carolina
HB 3102 defeated in 2017

Even if sports betting is eventually legalized in the strictest form, it likely wouldn’t include online gambling. In fact, the state is currently battling with DFS sites in court, arguing that the product is indeed a form of gambling. Do not expect online betting in South Carolina any time soon.

Remains anti-gambling as a whole

There has never been a legal sports betting bill presented for vote in the state. Utah is currently discussing massive budget cuts, including $400m to the education system, however sports betting is not viewed as a partial solution. The relatively small revenue it would create would not be enough to call for debate. At a tax rate of 13%, analysts project tax revenue of only $16m in year one and two.

Sports betting not discussed

Wisconsin has tribal casinos but there hasn’t been any discussion of adding sports betting.

H 225 defeated in February

The defeated H 225 bill would have allowed sports gambling in 2021 at the three existing casinos and offered opportunity to regulate online sports betting. A tax rate of 16% was proposed. Rep. Tom Walters intends to try again next year.