Which US States allow Online Gambling – Legal Gambling States

Legal Gambling US StatesWhat was once a far-fetched dream is now a reality. The US’ online and retail sports betting scene is flourishing, with states changing their stance towards this gambling form.

By reading this detailed article, you’ll get insight into the latest news regarding sports betting and learn which states accept sports bets.

Since this landscape is constantly evolving, we will update our guide regularly to make sure you have access to the latest developments in the field.

State By State Online Sports Betting Details

If you’re interested in learning more about the sports betting situation in a particular US state, simply visit the dedicated page by clicking on any of the links below.

For decades, Nevada was the only state to have a legalized sports betting scene. Even after the US Congress passed the PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in 1992, which stopped the further sports betting expansion, Nevada was grandfathered in, giving it monopoly over legal sports wagering.

Throughout the following years, US federal and state laws have undergone many changes, making it possible for other states to introduce legal gambling, and later on, its online counterpart.

However, it was all impossible until the amendment of the Wire Act of 1961 in 2011. The DOJ issued an opinion stating that the Act only referred to sports betting but not other online gambling forms. This moment opened the doors to the entire world of possibilities only legalized online gaming could bring.

The first states to launch online casinos and poker were New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. Other states, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan, quickly followed suit.

Another event that had a huge impact on the gambling scene happened in 2018 when the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, striking down the infamous federal ban on sports betting. This move allowed other states to join Nevada and introduce legal sports betting.

Today, sports betting is legal in over two dozen US states, including Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia, Michigan with many more to come soon.

Federal Laws That Shaped Sports Betting in the US

Throughout history, US lawmakers introduced various acts and laws that heavily influenced the gambling industry. Even after online gambling became legal on the federal level, individual states still had the power to choose whether to introduce legal gambling or maintain a hostile stance towards it.

While it’s impossible to list all the state’s gambling laws, the most important pieces of legislation that helped shape sports betting and the entire gambling industry published on the federal level are:

Wire Act

In 1961, lawmakers introduced a law that essentially prohibited certain betting actions on the federal level. The Wire Act’s main goal was to stop organized crime and trafficking.

However, in 2011, the Department of Justice issued a legal opinion stating that the Act intended to target only sports betting, not other gambling forms. Since there was no mention of online poker and casino games, states could legalize online gambling.

Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA)

As a part of the SAFE Port Act, the US Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in 2006. The law aimed to disrupt the illegal online gambling scene by going after its finances.

Essentially, financial companies were prohibited from processing payments related to unlicensed online gambling and betting sites.

Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)

Introduced in 1992, PASPA prohibited all US states except Nevada from offering sports betting options. Although three other states were exempt from the Act, Nevada gained a monopoly over the entire sports wagering industry in the US, having legalized it back in 1949.

In 2018, the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA, allowing states to launch legal sports betting.

US Sports Betting Legalization Timeline

It’s safe to say that the US has a complicated relationship with sports betting and gambling, in general. While some states like Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware host a regulated gambling market, others, including California, Idaho, and Oklahoma, show no interest in joining the fold and creating a legal gambling landscape.

The following timeline will help you fully understand the current situation of sports betting in the US:


PASPA was introduced, banning all single-game betting in the United States, except for Nevada.


New Jersey voters enacted a referendum that would allow sports wagering in Atlantic City casinos and racetracks.


Four pro leagues (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB) and NCAA sue New Jersey to stop it from offering sports betting. All sports wagering actions in the state cease.


After years of court battles and three unsuccessful attempts to alter the sports betting law and continue the wagering operations, the US Supreme Court takes over the case.


West Virginia legalizes sports wagering even before the Supreme Court decides on the industry’s fate. In May, New Jersey finally wins when the Supreme Court strikes down PASPA. In June, Delaware became the first state apart from Nevada to offer single-game betting. NJ quickly follows suit and introduces a law that legalizes sports wagering.


Between 2018 and today, over two dozen states have made sports betting legal. Some went a step further and launched online sportsbooks.

Which States Have Legalized Sports Betting?

Online Sports BettingBesides Nevada, three other states were exempt from PASPA — Oregon and Delaware for accepting parlay-style sports lotteries, and Montana for having betting squares not offered for profit.

However, as we previously mentioned, the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn PASPA meant that states could choose to regulate sports betting on their own terms. This led to an influx of newly-regulated sports wagering markets throughout the country.

While PASPA didn’t make sports betting automatically legal in every state, it allowed the states to create their own legislation and decide whether to introduce this gambling form. The states you see below have passed new laws and regulations that enable sports betting to enter the market:

Arizona Arkansas Colorado Connecticut
Delaware Illinois Indiana Iowa
Louisiana Maryland Michigan Mississippi
Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire
New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina
Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Dakota
Tennessee Virginia Washington Washington DC
West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Some states have already started accepting sports bets, while others have just passed the law to legalize sports wagering. They have yet to launch sportsbooks and open their doors to passionate bettors.

States Where Online Casinos and Poker Are Legal

Online CasinoUnder the 1961 Wire Act, states were prohibited from having a regulated online gambling market.

However, in 2011, when the Department of Justice challenged the Act’s interpretation and issued a different opinion, stating that the Wire Act refers solely to sports betting, it allowed all US states to legalize online gambling forms, including casino games and poker.

Online PokerAlthough Illinois and New York’s request to start operating an online lottery triggered the DOJ decision, the publicly issued revision ultimately opened doors to many forms of online gambling. From that moment, some US states have used the opportunity to launch a regulated online gambling market.

However, unlike sports betting, online casinos and poker have a more complex layout, making it more difficult for states to create an acceptable and legal online gambling framework. At the moment, only six states accept either online poker and casinos or one of the gambling forms:

New Jersey — Online casino & online poker
Pennsylvania — Online casino & online poker
Michigan — Online casino & online poker
West Virginia — Online casino & online poker
Nevada — Online poker
Delaware — Online casino & online poker

Other Forms of Online Gambling Recognized by US Laws

Essentially, US lawmakers have created three distinct online gambling categories — online casinos, online poker, and online sports betting. So, when their legality is in question, states can choose to introduce only one or all three options and create a regulated market.

However, some states have already introduced other forms of online gambling that we can easily put in the groups mentioned above. States have the power to exclude some sports from the overall selection or ban online variants of traditional land-based casino games.

For instance, some states prohibit online horse racing, daily fantasy sports, and online lottery, while others have embraced these opportunities and included them in the regulated market.

Online Horse Racing

Online Horse RacingHorse racing has always been popular among US bettors. However, some states have a rather hostile stance towards it and prohibit all its forms. On the other hand, many states support horse racing betting in-person and online.

Since federal laws allow individual states to choose whether to legalize online horse racing or not, many operators can offer horse racing wagers across the country.

However, certain states that haven’t legalized or prohibited online horse racing bets leave the decision to operators.

Consequently, horse racing is available in many US states. While placing online wagers in some states falls under the gray area, only a dozen states explicitly forbid betting on horse racing events.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)

Daily Fantasy Sports Daily Fantasy Sports have been present in the US for quite a while. In some states, DFS has regulatory legislation and taxing operators.

For example, New York introduced this gambling form in 2015 by launching DraftKings and FanDuel platforms.

Despite being shut down later by the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, DFS was back in the spotlight in 2016 as a completely legal form of entertainment. Now, the companies pay a 15% tax on gross revenues.

On the other hand, Massachusetts lawmakers took a different approach. They introduced specific regulations and created a legal DFS scene. Consequently, operators that abide by the rules don’t have to pay any taxes or fees to the state.

Of course, this is just a portion of a lively DFS market in the US. Currently, over 40 states accept Daily Fantasy Sports wagers, with more to come in the future.

Online Lottery

Lotteries attract millions of players daily. Since state lotteries are government-run bodies, they use the revenue to support particular sectors — environmental protection, education, crime control, etc.

For reasons unknown, many US states are reluctant to allow online lottery. Less than a dozen states, including Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Illinois, and Georgia, currently support online lottery games. However, US players probably wouldn’t have access to online poker and casino games without the push for legalizing online lottery.

In 2009, New York and Illinois sent a request to the Department of Justice asking whether their decision to launch an online lottery would contradict the rules imposed by the 1961 Wire Act. Two years later, in 2011, the DOJ released the official opinion that essentially allowed the states to legalize all online gambling forms, except for sports betting.

US States That Will Legalize Online Gambling in the Future

Future of Online GamblingWe can’t compare the progress made by sports betting and online casinos, as the two gambling forms require different rules and regulations. Even though sports betting is far more popular, online casinos and poker are slowly gaining momentum.

Apart from six states with a well-developed and regulated online gambling market, others, including California, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, might enter the fold soon. However, since none of them has passed the legislation yet, we can’t say anything with certainty.

Out of all US states, Nevada is a particular case. Known as the global gambling hub, Nevada is still reluctant to legalize online casinos, which might seem contradictory. Hopefully, NV lawmakers will soon realize the potential that a regulated online casino market carries.

Legal US Licensing Jurisdictions

If you reside in the United States and are a sports bettor, there are only three states where gambling online is legal. This includes the state of Nevada, state of New Jersey and the state of Delaware. You must be a resident of the state and will be required to provide verification through state identification before being permitted to use any licensed online casino, poker room or sportsbook. The licensing commissions that oversee gambling within each state are listed below. Should you require additional information on the scope of their responsibilities, you can contact the relevant commission directly.

Nevada Gaming Commission

Nevada Gaming CommissionThe Nevada Gaming Commission is responsible for licensing casinos and sports betting websites that offer services online. The commission is also responsible for all gambling licenses in the state for land-based operators and acts to provide authoritative regulation that governs all persons, associations, practices, locations and related activities involved with the gambling industry within the state.

Their principal responsibility is to protect the residents of Nevada by acting with the highest level of integrity, respect and honesty as duties are carried out within the scope of their responsibilities. They also are committed to protecting all information of applicants, stakeholders and licensees, be objective, impartial and not allow personal nor professional conflicts to be brought into the scope of carrying out their responsibilities.

The Nevada Gaming Commission can be contacted by visiting http://gaming.nv.gov/.

Delaware Gaming and Control Board

Delaware Gaming and Control BoardThe Delaware Gaming and Control Board is responsible for all gambling activities within the state and to ensure the protection of Delaware resident’s welfare and safety when in a licensed gambling facility. The scope of their responsibilities includes the issuing of license applicants, professional licensees, private organisations and other state and national agencies.

Their key objectives are to assist applicants that are seeking a license to operate a casino or gambling activity in the state, renew and issue licenses to those approved and to maintain a database of those licensed to ensure license renewals are received. They also are responsible for answering any public or other government agency enquiries relating to gambling within the state.

The Delaware Gaming and Control Board can be contacted by visiting https://dge.delaware.gov

New Jersey Casino Control Commission

New Jersey Casino Control CommissionThe New Jersey Casino Control Commission is responsible for all activities that relate to gambling in the state. This includes the newly added division responsible for online gambling licensees. It is responsible for the governing of employees working in the industry as well as dealing with enforcement of its regulations relating to penalties and appeals.

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission can be contacted by visiting http://www.nj.gov/casinos/

Frequently Asked US State Gambling Questions

If you are someone with an interest in sports betting or other gambling related activities in the United States, we recommend looking through our list of frequently asked questions and the answers provided. These are in place to help provide insight into gambling in the United States. Should you have additional questions, please feel to contact us, and we will be pleased to assist you in any way possible.

Which sports betting sites are the safest?

Is a sports book able to identify my location?

Am I able to place bets using my mobile phone?

Am I able to place bets using US currency?

Are there age restrictions with online sportsbooks?

Ryan Knuppel Author

Ryan (aka Knup) has been writing sports betting content for over a decade now. He covers anything and everything related to United Stats sports including football, basketball, baseball, golf and more. He has finished first place in several gambling related contests over the years which gives him instant credibility in the betting world. Ryan is a die-hard St. Louis...

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