Online Sports Betting

Written by
fact-check-iconFact checked by

Legal online sports betting is available in 19 states, and efforts are underway to make it a reality in Ohio and Maryland. For states that have launched mobile sports betting apps, competition has been intense as the top sports betting sites continue to battle for market share.

Getting started is quick and simple, with a straightforward registration process that you can complete online or via mobile device in most locales. This page will highlight everything you need to know about online sports betting, where to get started, and the best sports betting apps with bonus offers.

Legal US sports betting apps July 2022

RANK
OPERATOR
BONUS
INFO
ACTION
1
UP TO $1,050 FREE
New User Bonus. T&Cs Apply.
UFC 276 Optin Promo: Bet $5, Get $100
PLUS $50 Free On Deposit
PLUS Up to $1,000 Deposit Bonus
To Claim: Click Bet Now
2
$1,500
Risk Free Bet
Up to $1,500 Risk Free Bet
Weekly Odds Boosts
Use Promo Code: LEGAL15
5
$1,000
No Sweat First Bet
Up to $1,000 in Free Bets if You Lose Your First Bet
Available on iOS, Android & Desktop
To Claim: Click Bet Now
7
$100
Risk Free Bet
Exclusive Offer:
$100 Risk Free Bet
Use Promo Code: BETBONUS

Contents


Yes, in some places. Online sports betting has been legalized in a number of states to date, and the list is expected to continue growing in the coming years. In 2018, the Supreme Court placed the matter of legalizing sports betting into the hands of the individual states to decide on. While sports betting has since been legalized in a number of states, legislation hasn’t been passed on a federal level.

Best sports betting sites and apps in the US

Below, you’ll see details on all of the top online sports betting apps available for legal betting in the US. App availability will vary by state as some have more than 20 options, while others may have as few as one or two.

Online sports betting in Virginia launched in January 2021. You cannot bet on in-state college teams, but there’s an exception for tournaments in which other schools are participating. The top sportsbooks in NJ include BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars.

The list of mobile sports betting options continues to grow. Here are some of the top options available in multiple states.

DraftKings app

The DraftKings Sportsbook app betting platform is among the best in the industry as virtually everything that you need is just a click or swipe away. Top highlights at DraftKings include an outstanding menu layout for available props, a great live betting section, and betting pools where you can compete against other users.

Review: DraftKings Sportsbook

FanDuel app

The FanDuel Sportsbook app is among the smoothest and most user-friendly in the industry. It has become the go-to option for bettors in a number of legal markets as a result. Top highlights include its innovative same-game parlay feature as well as a big selection of player props for all of the top sporting events.

Review: FanDuel Sportsbook

FOX Bet app

The FOX Bet app receives great visibility throughout FOX Sports programming and has a steady stream of promotions tied in with network personalities. While somewhat geared toward newer bettors, users of all experience levels will find a big menu of sports and bet types along with a section for trending bets and special parlays.

Review: FOX Bet Sportsbook

BetMGM app

BetMGM has evolved into a market leader in a number of legal states. The sportsbook has gained a good deal of traction with a number of intriguing promos and strategic marketing. Top highlights at BetMGM include a very deep bench of sports available for betting, as well as its ‘edit my bet’ and ‘easy parlay’ functions.

Review: BetMGM Sportsbook

PointsBet app

Australia-based PointsBet is known as a site that’s geared toward sports bettors. The site features a unique betting option known as PointsBetting, and careful attention is always paid to the odds and lines. PointsBet also has an intriguing ‘name a bet’ feature where bettors can submit requests and receive odds upon approval.

Review: PointsBet Sportsbook

Caesars app

Caesars Sportsbook has grown its presence tremendously since its acquisition of William Hill’s US assets was finalized. The app provides a simple and solid sports betting experience with odds that are always competitive. There’s also a rewards program for bettors and a steady stream of odds boosts and other promos.

Review: Caesars Sportsbook

BetRivers app

BetRivers is another sportsbook that features a big menu of markets and bet types. Bettors will find useful stats and tips built into the game listings in the main betting lobby, as well a large selection of alternate lines and props. BetRivers also has an excellent rewards program that sports bettors can sign up for.

Review: BetRivers Sportsbook

Betway app

Betway is a newer name in US sports betting circles, but it’s a well-known brand in several overseas markets. There’s plenty of experience behind the scenes, and that shows up in a clean and efficient sportsbook with regularly competitive odds and lines, along with plenty of sports and bets to choose from.

Review: Betway Sportsbook

Where can I place a legal online sports bet?

The list of legal online sports betting states continues to grow. Currently, it’s up to more than 20 states and Washington, DC, but the official launch is still pending in some spots. Florida sports betting, meanwhile, launched its first online sportsbook in November 2021 but it has since been discontinued pending a lawsuit.

Arizona sports betting

Arizona legalized sports betting in April 2021 after months of maneuvering in the state legislature and public statements of support from Gov. Doug Ducey. The subsequent launch in September 2021 featured the arrival of both retail and online sportsbooks in the Grand Canyon State. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars were among the first sportsbook operators to open for business in Arizona.

Read more: Arizona sports betting apps

Colorado sports betting

Legal sports betting was approved by voters in Colorado in 2019. The official online and mobile rollout took place on May 1, 2020, with DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers and BetMGM all going live on the same day. Several other operators have since gone live in the state.

Read more: Colorado sports betting apps

Connecticut sports betting

Legal online sports betting is available in Connecticut. The launch took place in October 2021 with DraftKings, FanDuel, and PlaySugarhouse available for bettors right away. The new gaming compact with the state’s tribes allows for retail betting and online sportsbooks in the state. The Gaming Division of the Department of Consumer Protection oversees the new market once it launches.

Read more: Connecticut sports betting

Illinois sports betting

Legislation was also passed in Illinois in 2019 with the official launch taking place in March 2020. Initially, only retail betting was allowed, with in-person registration required for online and mobile players. That provision expired on March 5, 2022. Illinois sports bettors can download, create accounts and bet anywhere within the state. DraftKings, BetMGM, PointsBet, BetRivers and FanDuel are best sports betting sites in IL.

Read more: Illinois sports betting apps

Indiana sports betting sites

Sports betting was legalized in Indiana in 2019. The rollout happened quickly, with retail options opening up in September of that year, followed by online and mobile launch in October. DraftKings and BetRivers were the first online sports betting sites available, followed by FanDuel a month later. The list of available options continues to grow.

Read more: Indiana sports betting apps

Iowa sports betting

Iowa was also among the states that both legalized and went live with sports betting in 2019. Legislation was passed in May, with the retail and mobile launch coming in August. As of January 2021, online and mobile users can register on a sportsbook app from anywhere in the state since the in-person requirement ended on Dec. 31, 2020. DraftKings, PointsBet and Caesars are among the operators that are live in Iowa.

Read more: Iowa sports betting apps

Michigan sports betting

Sports betting was signed into law in December 2019 in Michigan. Retail sportsbooks opened up in March 2020 and mobile sportsbook apps became legal for sports betting in Michigan in January 2021. There are close to a dozen mobile sportsbook options available in Michigan.

Read more: Michigan sports betting apps

Nevada sports betting

Nevada’s days as the only option for legal US sports betting are over. Not much has changed for the state since the SCOTUS ruling. While more known for in-person wagering at casinos throughout Las Vegas such as Westgate and Caesars, the state also has online and mobile options available from operators like BetMGM.

Read more: Nevada sports betting apps

New Hampshire sports betting

Sports betting officially debuted in New Hampshire in December 2019 after being approved by the state Legislature earlier in the year. The approval covered both retail and mobile, but the situation is unique in NH. DraftKings is the exclusive provider of online and mobile wagering in the state and also the operator of the lone retail shops.

Read more: New Hampshire betting app

New Jersey sports betting

The Garden State was one of the first to act after the landmark Supreme Court ruling. Retail sports betting rolled out in June 2018. DraftKings was the first online option in August, followed by PlaySugarhouse and FanDuel. There are now nearly two dozen NJ sports betting apps on the market.

Read more: NJ sports betting apps

New York sports betting

New York began its legal sports betting status in 2019 with retail shops at its commercial and tribal casinos. In April 2021, Gov. Andrew Cuomo added an online sports betting piece to the state budget, which passed both houses. NY mobile sports betting went live in Jan. 2022 with Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetRivers. BetMGM and PointsBet joined shortly after.

Read more: NY sports betting apps

Pennsylvania sports betting

Pennsylvania was among the states that moved quickly in the wake of the PASPA ruling. Retail sportsbooks opened for business in November 2018. The official launch of online sportsbooks took place in May 2019. SugarHouse was the first mobile sportsbook to go live, and it was soon joined by sister property BetRivers and others including DraftKings and FanDuel.

Read more: Pennsylvania sports betting apps

Tennessee sports betting

Tennessee approved sports betting in April 2019. It’s a unique situation as there are not expected to be any retail sportsbooks in the state. Sports bettors are now able to place mobile wagers as of November 2020 with only a handful of online sportsbooks available to choose from.

Read more: TN sports betting apps

Virginia sports betting

Sports betting was legalized in Virginia in April 2020 and officially launched its first sportsbook in January 2021. According to state law, there will be a minimum of four and as many as 12 mobile sportsbook options available.

Read more: VA sports betting apps

Washington, DC, sports betting

The city council gave its approval to sports betting in 2018, but the bill wasn’t signed into law until the following January. GambetDC, an offering run by the lottery and powered by Intralot, is the sole online and mobile option for bettors in the District since its launch in 2020. The Caesars Sportsbook app is only available in a geofenced area around Capital One Arena.

Read more: DC Sports Betting

West Virginia sports betting

West Virginia also sprang into action following the Supreme Court ruling. Retail sportsbooks opened up in September 2018. BetLucky was available for a short time as a mobile option, but it shut down the following year due to a technology dispute. DraftKings and FanDuel went live in WV soon thereafter and have since been joined by other operators.

Read more: WV sports betting apps

Wyoming sports betting

Wyoming became the first state to legalize mobile sports betting in April 2021, launching its first sportsbook app a few months later in September 2021. The market features an online-only model that is anticipated to attract multiple well-known sportsbook operators to the state.

Read more: Wyoming sports betting apps

Upcoming legal online sports betting states

Maryland sports betting

Just like in Louisiana, Maryland voters passed a referendum in November 2020, authorizing sports betting in the state. The state Legislature followed through and officially legalized retail and online betting in 2021. The application process for operators is underway and is expected to be very competitive. Legal online sports betting is expected to launch in early 2022.

Read more: Maryland sports betting

Ohio sports betting

It was a long march for the Ohio Legislature, but lawmakers passed a sports betting bill in December 2021. It was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine shortly thereafter. The Ohio Casino Control Commission is now working to write the regulations for the new industry. The commission has until Jan. 1, 2023, to officially launch sports betting in the state. There will be as many as 25 online sportsbooks available in the state at maturity.

Read more: Ohio sports betting

States with limitations

There’s another group of states which also have online sports betting, albeit with very limited options for users. While many of the legal markets have opted for a competitive multi-operator approach, others have settled on a single option or two to control the marketplace. Here are the details on those states.

  • Rhode Island: Online sports betting is controlled by the Rhode Island lottery and powered by a William Hill/IGT platform.
  • Oregon: The Oregon Lottery is in charge of all sports betting in the state with the Scoreboard app the lone mobile option.
  • New Hampshire: Sports betting is overseen by the New Hampshire Lottery, which has partnered up with DraftKings for mobile betting.
  • Delaware: While sports betting is legal in Delaware, all wagering must take place at one of the state’s three casinos.
  • Mississippi: Retail sports betting is the only legal option for now, while efforts to expand to online haven’t advanced.
  • Montana: In order to legally place bets in Montana, users have to be located within the geofenced footprint of an approved retail outlet.
  • South Dakota: Betting is currently limited to in-person wagering at casinos located in the town of Deadwood.

Events to bet on

One of the convenient things about sports betting is that there are plenty of choices to consider. You can shop around for your favorite places to play, and focus on one or more bets that work for your approach, for example. The same applies to what you’re wagering on. From the most popular games and leagues to those that fly under the radar, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a look at some of the most popular sports to bet on.

  • NFL betting: The NFL is the most popular sport for betting in the US. Betting on the Super Bowl is the biggest annual single-day event for sportsbooks, and they go all-out with hundreds of prop bets for bettors to consider.
  • NBA: The NBA has firmly settled in as the second-most popular choice at sportsbooks in terms of overall volume. During the postseason and NBA Finals, each contest draws even more interest and wagers.
  • MLB: The days of MLB being the most popular sport in America are in the past, but it still has a tremendous following. Interest will be high around Opening Day, and again during the MLB playoffs and World Series.
  • NHL: While the NHL trails the big three in terms of overall attention, this is still a sport with an incredibly loyal and passionate following. Once the Stanley Cup playoffs roll around, there’s a surge that continues until a champion is crowned.
  • College basketball: Many seasoned handicappers shift their attention here after football season has wrapped up. Regular-season college basketball is popular, but the sport really takes over the spotlight with one of the year’s signature betting events – March Madness gets even the most casual fans off the sidelines.
  • College football: For the fall and winter months, it’s football that controls the conversation in the world of American sports. While college football isn’t quite on the level of the NFL in terms of overall popularity, there are games on the docket where the volume is comparable to its pro counterpart. That’s especially true for bowl season and the College Football Playoff.

How to bet on sports online

While signing up to play in legal states isn’t tricky, what to do from there can lead to plenty of questions. The good news is that the learning curve for betting on sports is beatable. We have a number of dedicated resource pages that provide detailed information on all of the basics.

  • Sports betting odds: Sports betting and numbers go hand-in-hand. One of the most important areas for those new to the game to understand is the odds. After you gain a little seasoning, you’ll be able to understand the most likely outcome, the potential return for winning bets, and which side the public is backing just by studying the odds.
  • Moneyline: This is a basic bet and a great starting point for beginners as a result. When betting on the moneyline, you simply have to choose which side you think will win. There will be odds on both sides: negative numbers for favorites and positive for underdogs.
  • Parlays: A parlay is a bet for which you combine two or more outcomes on a single slip. There’s an opportunity for great returns, but you must be right on all selections to have a winning ticket so your odds are longer. On a monthly basis, one of the biggest sources of hold for sportsbooks comes via parlay wagers.
  • Spread: In a nutshell, the point spread attempts to level the playing field between two teams. It’s like a margin of victory that you must account for in your wagers. Point spread betting takes place on many sports, but it might go by different names such as run line betting for MLB or puck line betting in the NHL.
  • Totals: This bet is also commonly referred to as an over/under and is a wager on the total combined score of a game. Oddsmakers will set a benchmark number, and bettors then wager on whether the actual score will be over or under that amount. The odds on both sides can move in response to betting action.
  • Props: A prop bet can revolve around team or player performance during a game, or on the contest as a whole. A prop is basically a side bet on something that might or might not happen. Prop bets on player performance share a lot in common with fantasy sports. They’ve become a natural starting point for many new bettors as a result.
  • Teaser: The teaser bet lets you move the point spread on two or more games. You can shift the lines in your favor, making the bet easier to win but also lowering your potential payout.

The best options available for US sports bettors come via the sites that have been approved for operations in the respective states. Gaining acceptance and approval is not easy, and those who have joined the list of approved operators have invested heavily to do so.

While there remains an active black market for sports betting via illegal offshore sites, there’s no reason to take the risk. Here are some of the main points to understand.

  • The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006 to crack down on offshore operators. The law is aimed at the companies to prevent them from doing business in the US, but many still operate due to what they claim is a legal gray area.
  • Offshore operators are not operating under the same rules and regulations that legal US betting sites are. There is no guarantee that your funds, data or information will be safely kept.
  • Legal sports betting sites have clear terms and conditions, house rules for players to follow, a wide range of normal funding options and customer service options that can be reached easily. That’s not the case with offshore sites.

Things you can’t legally bet on in the US

Each of the individual states sets its own rules and regulations for sports betting. While there’s not complete uniformity among all of the markets, what is or isn’t allowed is one area of common ground. You won’t be able to bet on the following at legal US online sportsbooks.

  • High schools sports
  • Sports involving athletes under 18 years of age
  • US elections – local, state, presidential, etc.
  • Weather events
  • Reality TV outcomes
  • Oscars and other award shows

For the last item on the list, Oscar betting has been offered in a few markets to date, but sports betting is technically supposed to revolve around actual sporting events in the legal markets. The line gets a little blurry for the Super Bowl, as off the field props such as the result of the coin flip are permitted.

Another area to pay close attention to is how wagering on college sports is handled. While it’s permitted in all of the legal states, there are some restrictions in place. For example, bettors in New Jersey aren’t allowed to wager on in-state programs or events, but neighboring Pennsylvania has no such restrictions in place.

Other states, such as Colorado, allow pregame wagering on college football and basketball, but player props on those games are prohibited. For a detailed look at what is or isn’t permitted in the individual markets, our complete state guides have additional insight.

Why can’t you bet on the election or weather?

While there is often chatter about the betting odds for major political events such as the US presidential election, it remains illegal to bet on the outcome of that. There may be plenty of history attached to betting on who will be the next president, but that doesn’t mean it’s legal.

Legal and regulated operators offer odds and markets on sporting events. You won’t find options to bet on the weather or reality TV at the big shops, and there’s a simple reason for that: They’re not allowed to.

How online sports betting in USA became legal

Challenge in New Jersey

New Jersey voters passed a non-binding referendum in November 2011 that instructed the state legislature to legalize sports betting.  The legislature quickly passed a bill that would have regulated sports betting at New Jersey racetracks and Atlantic City casinos. Gov. Chris Christie signed the bill into law.

The major sports leagues challenged New Jersey in court, claiming that the state was not exempted by PASPA; therefore, it could not legalize sports betting. A lower court ruling sided with the leagues, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed it. The US Supreme Court at that time refused to hear the case.

New Jersey tried another angle. The state attempted to deregulate and decriminalize sports betting in the same venues as before. The sports leagues returned to court and challenged the new approach to sports betting.  The sports leagues prevailed in the lower court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

New Jersey was able to appeal and receive a rehearing in the Third Circuit, which it also lost. The Supreme Court then agreed to hear it and New Jersey won its case in May 2018.

American Gaming Association’s stance

The American Gaming Association is the gaming industry’s lobbying group. It maintains the black market of illegal gambling is too lucrative and thrives in an unregulated environment.  The AGA supported the repeal of PASPA and strongly advocates for states to be able to write their own sports betting laws.

Daily fantasy sports vs. sports betting

Daily fantasy sports is believed to be legal in at least 40 states, according to the companies that promote the product.

There are big differences between daily fantasy sports and sports betting.

In sports betting, a bettor picks a team or multiple teams to win or cover a point spread. In daily fantasy sports, a user chooses athletes and enters a competition that computes a winner based on the statistics accumulated by the players in a sport.

FAQ for betting sites

Is it legal to bet on sports online?

Yes, but it depends on where you are located. Legal sports betting can be done online in many of the states mentioned above. You do not have to be a resident of a state to bet there, but you do need to be physically located within the state to place a legal online sports bet.

Is sports betting legal in Europe?

Online sports betting is legal throughout most of Europe including the UK. This includes betting shops, mobile apps, and over the Internet. Some of the best online betting sites in Europe are now operating in the US.

What is the safest betting site?

The safest options for sports betting online come via the legal and regulated operators. DraftKings and FanDuel are two examples of operators that have received approval to open for business in a number of states. Legal and regulated sites have to go through a lengthy application process, follow specific rules and regulations, and verify that customer funds are safe. That’s not the case with the unregulated options that may be available.

Why do some online sportsbooks accept cryptocurrency?

At legal online sportsbooks, cryptocurrencies aren’t on the list of approved funding options. The lone exception to the rule is in Wyoming, a state which recently legalized online sports betting and has noted that cryptos are permitted for payment. Moving forward, we could see this become an option in other legal states. For now, cryptocurrency options are most commonly found on illegal and unregulated sites.

Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?

Yes, profits obtained from sports betting or any other type of gambling are considered taxable income in the US. If you win above a certain level, operators may even provide you with a 1099-G that states your level of winnings, and the form will be filed with the IRS, as well. Complete tracking of the deposits and withdrawals you have made for gambling purposes is a good habit to get into. For specific questions in regard to your personal situation, we encourage you to consult with a tax advisor.

Is Bovada a legal US sportsbook?

No. Bovada is an unlicensed sports betting site. It is illegal for the company to operate in the US but players likely face no legal consequences.

Privacy Policy