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Sports Betting in North America

Sports Betting in North America

A recent sports ruling in the US Supreme Court has now made it possible for American states to legalize sports betting and gambling. Stakeholders in the industry reacted in measured optimism. As it stands now, the new ruling means that there is room for the creation of an oversight body and it is a huge potential for a new revenue stream.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 pushed for the ban on sports betting and events outside the state of Nevada. Consequently, this law made Nevada the home to the famous Las Vegas where a person could place a wager on the outcome of a single game.

The Supreme Court’s decision was prompted by the state of New Jersey that has been at the forefront for many years fighting for the lifting of the gambling and sports ban. A new era awaits as teams and states are eager to know the best way to benefit from sports betting. The cost of casino equipment and casino operators surged after the announcement of the ruling.

Sports’ betting is now a Reality across the United States

Around twenty states now consider sports betting, and as expected in such cases, the number will pick up depending on the actions taken by other states.  To find out the extent of any changes towards sports and betting. As depicted in the subsequent paragraphs below is a  state-by-state analysis to get the new trend of sports betting in North America.

The order in the state’s list is in the following categories:

  • States that allow full-scale sports betting
  • States where bills have been passed in the recent past
  • States with bills introduced and are yet to be passed
  • States where no gambling bill has been introduced

1.   States Where Sports Betting is Legal


After the court’s ruling, Nevada is no longer the only state to permit full-scale sports betting. The market is already mature and has been consistent for many decades.  Sports betting practices in this state can form a good foundation for other states keen on placing strict regulations and guidelines alongside gambling activities.

The best place to start talking about risk management, oversight, and liquidity is Nevada; they have done it for many years than anyone else.


The existing laws did not prohibit limited sports’ betting on NFL games in Delaware. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, the governor issued a statement to legalize sports gambling. Expanded options on wagering could take place in different establishments across the state.

New Jersey

New Jersey is the state that initiated the legal battle that eventually led to the lifting the twenty-six-year-old sports betting ban. The state was ready after the court ruling by planning an event on the same day. This event was to start accepting wagers but was given another date to allow legal regulations to be in place.


There is hope in the state of Mississippi as the gambling officials are ready to set up casinos with betting professionals within the first 45 days of court’s ruling. The gaming commission issued proposed rules to govern sports betting.

West Virginia

The law on sports betting was enacted in March awaiting a favorable outcome from the courts. Regulations should be in place as sports and wagering are waiting for their operating licenses in the state’s casino.


A law authorizing sports betting was passed in 2017; the only condition was if federal law allowed states to regulate gambling.  The bill asks investors for a $10 million licensing fee, and a tax rate of 34% on revenue seems to be tough for potential betting operators.

New Mexico

There are so many behind the scenes activities that go on relation to betting. Some reports also indicate betting on some games will not be permitted.


2.   States where Sports and Betting Bills Have Passed

New York

The governor passed some legislations allows wagering on an athletic event as long as the federal ban was not in effect. The state administrators promise to do an economic and legal analysis and gambling before they come up with a decision.


There are no serious sports and gambling decision made so far because the state officials are still reviewing the Supreme Court decision.

Rhode Island

A current bill was in place on time to regulate sports betting but under state regulation. Gambling is to take place at the already existing casinos. However, betting on college sports and gaming activities is prohibited.


3.   States with Pending Sports Betting Bills


The governor acknowledged that introducing sports gambling is arduous that involves changing the constitution.


Michigan has eight gambling bills that would expand sports gambling including sports and placing wagers on fantasy sports.


A bill that supports casino and racetracks licensing is in the pipeline. Another bill supporting certain sports leagues are also in the pending bills.


A bill to allocate 1% of what they call integrity fee to specified sports will be introduced depending on the wagering handle. The same bill also requires at least 9% of tax on sports-related betting revenue.


State senators from Ohio made a formal introduction of a bill that enacts and legalizes sports wagering. The bill is open for a full-scale legislation


A bill was introduced that was to empower Kentucky racing commission to have a system of wagering that allows betting on professional and college sports excluding high school games.  A tax of 3% is charged alongside an initial licensing fee of $250,000 will be charged to those seeking gambling permits


California introduced a constitutional amendment that will allow sports wagering that complies with federal laws. All other gaming activities in California are under various regulations that ensure consumer safety. A pending voter referendum could legalize sports betting.


An anticipatory law was passed in 2017 that saw a comprehensive sports betting bill supported by various stakeholders.  A special session of the States legislature will resume sitting to re-start discussions on legalizing sports betting


A bill introduced in early 2018 that aims to expand how we view lottery and sports betting in Kansas. Betting should include any game involving one or more competitive games involving amateurs or professionals.


Tennessee introduced its sports betting bill in November 2018. This bill is to allow sports wagering subject to a local election. The bill will allow for amendments including an “opt out” clause for colleges that seek that option.

South Carolina

A bill was introduced to amend the states constitution and allow sports betting on professionals sports. Betting activities will be restricted and regulated to specific spaces.



Washington District of Columbia

In late 2018, the sports wagering and lottery amendment act were enacted to legalize sports betting in Washington DC.  The bill introduces strong regulatory measures to spur consumer confidence. The bill allows for both online and in-person wagering. It is the work of the District lottery to act as an oversight body.


The Oklahoma governor was given powers to expand what they call the tribal-state compact to include sports. The expansion included wagering and the results of competitive games that involve athletes. The bill supports one or several games that in which athletes take part in and bets placed as a common pool from which the winner costs are paid.


The states gaming commission released a white paper with a roadmap for those seeking to know more about the state of sports betting and gambling in Massachusetts. This study was to highlight possible opportunities for investors. Massachusetts is the first state to regulate fantasy sports; there is a lot of expectation on them to move faster towards sports betting legislation.


A task force to study and implementation of sports and gaming within the state. The draft includes the issuing of licenses relating to gambling activities as well as the ability to accept wagers on sporting activities. The age of any bettor is set at least 21 years.


By the time of the Supreme Court ruling, the state of Montana already had laws governing specific types of sports betting. Lottery in Montana offer supports fantasy sports for football and auto racing. A new law would have to be enacted to give Montana residents to encourage a fully-fledged sports betting.


Oregon supports some form of gambling and sports betting. The same law is flexible and is subject to amendments if lawmakers find it appropriate to change it so that it works alongside the new Supreme Court ruling. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection ban did not affect Oregon because betting was legal in the state before Congress intervened.


A bill was introduced in 2018 to include additional games and sports betting in approved horse racing facilities. The bill underwent customization to allow only a small number of sports betting firms that were already operating in the state.


A new bill was tabled to allow the already existing casinos and fantasy sports companies to increase their sports and betting facilities to include other sporting activities. The bill is still at the committee stage.


A bill that ought to authorize sports wagering and creation of a regulatory commission is still pending in the Minnesota legislature. The draft has clauses that enable mobile betting as well.


4.   States with No Gambling Bill

All states that have restrictive laws that are against full-blown sports betting. For sports betting to take place such acts, have to be repealed or changed to give room for sports wagering and gambling. After the Supreme Court verdict, these states do not have any bill relating to Sports and betting in the public domain.

Idaho, North Carolina, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Dakota, Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington State, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Texas, New Hampshire, and North Carolina

Note that Utah whose constitution does not allow any form of gambling activity.

There is a possibility of having new battlefields set along the creation of wagering rules with players’ representatives watching from a distance on how the league will respond. A possible scenario is when the league takes the integrity fees from sales whereas associations also feel that they should be compensated for the role they play in ensuring fairness, which casinos capitalize on making a profit.

The list of states is bound to change from early next year if you consider the pending bills that require enactment and amendments to take effect.




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