- Sports Betting
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Legal sports betting is here in the United States.
After the US Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on wagering outside Nevada in 2018, states started to move quickly to legalize and regulate sports wagering. Read on for more information about legal US sports betting.
So far, there are 18 states with active legal sports betting industries, with more on the way. Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, Montana, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, and North Carolina all legalized wagering in 2019.
Here is the current status of sports betting in every state; if a state does not appear, single-game wagering is both illegal and there is no legislative activity:
|State||Is sports betting legal?||Is online sports betting legal?||Recent or planned legislative activity?|
|Delaware||Yes||Yes, launch undetermined||--|
|Illinois||Yes||Yes, pending launch||Yes|
|Michigan||Yes||Yes, pending launch||Yes|
|Mississippi||Yes||Yes, on-property only||--|
|Montana||Yes||Yes, on-property only||Yes|
|New Mexico||Yes, at multiple tribal casinos||No||No|
|Tennessee||Yes, pending launch||Yes, pending launch||Yes|
|Virginia||Yes, pending launch||Yes, pending launch||Yes|
|Washington DC||Yes, pending launch||Yes, pending launch||Yes|
Check out this sports betting bill tracker for more information on legislation around the country. Here is a look at the current status in some states that have taken action:
New Jersey is the reason sports betting is spreading across the US. The state won a US Supreme Court case that struck down the federal ban. Wagering is legal at the state’s racetracks and in Atlantic City casinos, as well as various mobile and online platforms.
More on NJ sports betting.
Pennsylvania features a number of sportsbooks in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with more opening proximately. SugarHouse became the first online sports betting app to launch in the state as of May 2019.
More on PA sports betting.
Colorado voters approved legal sports betting in CO in 2019. Expect most major sportsbook operators including FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, BetMGM, BetRivers, and many more to jump into the Colorado market.
More on CO sports betting.
The state legalized sports betting apps and retail sportsbooks in 2019.
More on Indiana sports betting.
Nevada sports gambling is the grandfather of them all. Casinos around Las Vegas and Nevada already take bets at physical sportsbooks. And most casinos also feature a mobile app that lets you wager anywhere in the state.
If you want to bet on sports while enjoying everything else Las Vegas has to offer, the Strip is the place for you. Huge and often raucous sportsbooks can be found all around the city during major sporting events.
More on Nevada sports betting.
The state legalized wagering and started both retail and mobile sports betting in August 2019.
West Virginia is an early adopter of legal sports betting, approving wagering at the state’s five casinos. The state also legalized online and mobile sports wagering, with FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook live as of the summer of 2019.
More on WV sports betting.
The state legalized wagering in 2019 and launched with DraftKings Sportsbook late in 2019. More on NH sports betting.
Mississippi legalized single-game sports betting as part of a daily fantasy sports bill in 2017. That portion of the law became active with the SCOTUS ruling in May 2018, and the state-regulated industry went live a few months later.
More on Mississippi sports betting.
The state legalized sports wagering at two Twin River casinos in the summer of 2018. That wagering started in November 2018. Launch of mobile sports betting arrived in fall 2019.
More on Rhode Island sports betting.
Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to take legal wagers in early June 2018, when the state’s three racinos opened up via the state lottery. DE already booked legal parlay wagers prior to the Supreme Court ruling.
More on Delaware sports betting.
Arkansas is the newest state to authorize sports betting, doing so via referendum in November 2018. casino-led effort garnered enough signatures to put their proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot, and 54 percent of voters said yes.
The state’s first sportsbook launched in July 2019, with a second possible set for later in the year.
The state has not yet legalized sports betting apps, but the first retail sportsbooks have opened in the state in 2019 after state regulators approved rules for them. More sportsbooks are on the way from tribal and commercial casinos in the state.
More on NY sports betting.
Oregon’s lottery moved ahead with online sports betting in October 2019. One tribal casino also is offering retail sports betting.
More on Oregon sports betting.
The first Michigan sportsbook opened in March 2020. The state eventually will have a large online market but will not offer mobile betting until 2021.
The state legalized sports betting apps and retail sportsbooks in 2019. Many details remain to be sorted out prior to the launch of online wagering but the first retail sportsbooks are open.
More on Illinois sports betting.
The state legislature legalized wagering via the lottery. The state’s market launched in March 2020, with mobile limited to on the premises of a licensee.
The state legalized wagering with an unknown timeline for launch.
Two tribal casinos in remote areas of the state will be allowed to operate sportsbooks.
Virginia could become one of the more competitive markets in the country when it launches late in the year.
The Washington, D.C. council passed a new sports betting law in December 2018. It approved legislation allowing its lottery to administer legal sports betting within the boundaries of the federal jurisdiction.
A few steps remain before DC sports betting can launch. Don’t expect DC sports betting until early 2020.
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On May 14, 2018, the US Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Murphy vs. NCAA, which centered on states’ rights to regulate sports betting.
By a 6-3 vote, the court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the federal ban which stood since 1992. It’s officially off the books, and states are free to legalize and regulate the industry at their discretion.
Sports betting is one of the oldest pastimes in the world. Betting on fights, sports matches and races has occurred for hundreds of years throughout the world. Some bets were made among friends, while others were made through professional services. Bookmaking moved from an underground business to betting shops in Europe in the 20th century.
Sports betting moved to the Internet in the 1990’s. It all started on Jan. 17, 1996 when Intertops accepted the first online sports wager. It has since exploded into a business worth well into the billions of dollars every year.
The Internet gave access to parts of the world that never had easy availability to sports betting. That changed the industry forever.
Sports betting has become more mainstream and with that comes deals like the IOC and Genius Sports who have agreed to track betting on the summer Olympics.
There are many ways to bet on a sporting event. The most common option is to pick an outright winner. Handicapping with a point spread is another way to make a wager. There are different methods of combining this action.
A moneyline is a way of taking an outright winner in a contest. This can be in a team sporting event, fight, tennis match or any other game where there is just one winner.
This type of wager is made with a moneyline. Moneylines can apply to a straight winner or act as a handicap on a point spread, run line or puck line.
There are two ways that money lines are published:
Most online sportsbooks will publish odds in the American format. This is where one side has a plus and the other side a minus that is based on $100 increments. For example, one side will be -200 and the other side +170.
The minus side, which is the favorite in this example, would need to lay $200 for every $100 the player would like to win. The plus side would bet $100 for every $170 that the player wants to win. The difference is the vigorish (vig) the house wins for accepting the wager.
Odds in European sportsbooks are published differently that US books. These odds show as decimals that pertain to a $100 bet. The total decimal number displays what a player would receive by betting $100. This number includes the $100 in the original wager. The decimal odds cannot ever be below 1.0.
In the -200 example, the decimal would show as 1.5. That means a player that bets $100 would receive $50 on the win for a total of $150. The +170 would equate to 2.7. That is the $170 won plus the $100 original wager.
A point spread is a handicap for an American football or basketball game. Some alternative lines in baseball and hockey use this. In baseball, it is called a run line. In hockey, it is called a puck line.
American Football and basketball games often use point spreads alongside money lines. This gives two ways to make a bet.
The point spread shows how many points a team must win by or lose less than by for the ticket to get paid. For example, a favorite that has a -3.5 point spread must win by four points for that side to cover the spread. An underdog that is +3.5 gets paid if that team loses by fewer than four points.
Point spreads may be whole numbers or half points. A whole number can tie. When that happens, all tickets push the same way that a player and dealer 20 would in blackjack. Half points eliminate the push possibility.
Most point spreads require a -110 lay using American odds. This means that a player must bet $110 for every $100 he hopes to win. That same line is published as 1.91 using decimal odds.
American football spreads around 3 and 7 may vary from this number. For example, it is common to see a -3 favorite also require a -115 or -120 lay. This is done because moving a number on or off of three is a major difference in American football.
Alternative run line and puck lines will most often be plus or minus 1.5. This means that the favorite must win by two runs or goals.
There is also a money or decimal line tied to the alternative line. If the underdog only loses by one, then that side wins these alternative lines. It is likely that the side receiving the +1.5 will be the money line favorite. The side laying 1.5 runs or goals will be plus money. That is because winning by two in baseball and hockey is extremely difficult. A very strong team would have to play a very weak one for the 1.5 favorite to also lay money.
Totals are also referred to as over/unders. A total is the number of points scored in a match. In boxing, it means the total number of rounds a match goes.
The points from both sides count in a total. There are alternative lines where the points of just one side count towards the number. Totals may push if they are on a whole number.
A look at sports’ over/unders:
A parlay is when a bettor buys a ticket that wins based on two or more outcomes. This can be money lines, point spreads, totals, alternative lines or a combination of all.
Plays that are correlated may not be placed on the same parlay card. For example, a money line bet on one team and taking the point spread on the same game is not permitted. A total with one of those is typically permitted.
The house edge on parlays is well above 10 percent. The more teams that are involved in a parlay, the higher the payout. Higher payouts also equal a higher house edge. Parlays are typically thought to be sucker bets because of the high juice charged by the sportsbook.
All portions of a parlay ticket must win. A tie will drop the card’s payout by one team. Some parlay cards disclose that ties lose.
Teasers are available in American football and basketball. A teaser includes two or more outcomes. The bettor receives points in his favor. Football teasers can be 6, 6.5, 7, 10 and 14, depending on what the sportsbook offers. Basketball teasers are typically 4, 4.5 and 5 points.
A bettor picks at least two outcomes on a teaser and adds the number of points in the wager to his team’s point spread. A player that takes two three-point underdogs in a six-point teaser would move the line to nine for those teams. If the bettor took the favorite, it would move the favorite from -3 to +3.
All parts of a teaser must win. A tie typically drops the number of plays on a card down by one. Some teaser cards force ties to lose. This will be disclosed on the card.
Pleasers are reverse teasers. This is where a player gives the house seven points in American football or five points in basketball. Two or more teams must be taken.
For example, a team that is a seven-point favorite in American football would move to a fourteen-point favorite on a pleaser. This puts the player at a massive disadvantage but also gives the player huge payouts if the long shots hit.
The house edge is often 40 percent or higher on pleaser cards. Ties typically lose.
Futures bets are when a player picks an eventual winner in a field. This may be the winner of a division, league, championship, golf event or tennis tournament.
There is typically just one winner in a futures bet. The house edge on these bets is typically about 15 percent.
An in-play wager is when a player bets on an event that is already in progress. A bettor can enter the action during breaks in play, typically television timeouts. Bettors use this to get into action when late to a match or to hedge a bet.
A propositional bet, often called a prop for short, may be a wager on an individual player’s statistics. It may be a play between two athlete’s performances. It can also be the number of points scored by a team.
For major events like the Super Bowl, it can be as odd as the coin toss, halftime show performance, amount of money bet on the game, or statements made by the announcers.
The house edge of propositional bets is often double or triple that of a straight bet. This is due to the lower volume of action.
Elections and entertainment bets are exotic wagers that are similar to futures bets. This is where a bettor picks a winner in a major election or popular reality television show.
Virtual sports betting is a computer generated event with the winner decided by an algorithm.
The old school way to make a sports bet is to go into a sportsbook.
The bettor looking to make a straight bet on single events can see the prices for games on the board or on sheets provided by the sports desk. A bettor should find the three- or four-digit number by the bet and tell that to the ticket writer along with the amount he would like to wager. This process is the same for in-play and futures bets.
Parlays, teasers, pleasers and other exotic bets have a different procedure. There are often cards throughout the sportsbook.
These have the list of all the events available to put in a multiple-outcome ticket. These will be attached to a bubble form. A player uses a pencil to mark the sides he wants to choose for the ticket. The ticket writer simply puts this card into a machine that writes the card.
Whatever method of placing a bet your local shop uses, there is one very important part of the transaction. Always make sure that the ticket is correct before leaving the betting window. An incorrectly written ticket can only be fixed immediately after the transaction is made.
Sports betting is easily accessible to players in most countries. The procedure for opening an account at an internet sportsbook varies by region. Most European countries’ sportsbooks ask a player his name, age, and address. Software verifies the player’s identity and then permits a deposit to be made.
The minimum age in most countries is 18. Some countries, especially where sports betting is not regulated, require no such verification process. European players and those in many other countries outside the US can deposit funds without ever setting foot inside a betting shop.
Nevada players have a different procedure. A Nevada online and mobile sports bettor must make an account in a sportsbook. This requires a player to be at least 21 years of age. A valid photo ID is required. Anybody of age can create a Nevada sports account. A Nevada residency is not mandated.
Once an account is created and funded, the process of making an online or mobile sports bet is simple. A player logs into his sports account with a username and password.
The next step is to choose a type of bet. The options online typically include straight, parlay, teaser, in-play or future. Some exotic bets like elections or entertainment may also be options, depending on the country where the wager originates.
The next step is to choose sides within a sport. This is as simple as clicking the corresponding box within the app or website. A player then chooses how much to wager on this. A secondary window will confirm the wager. The app or website then ensures that a player is within the proper jurisdiction to make the wager. Once that process is complete, the bet is booked.
One convenience of online sportsbooks is the ability to make a deposit remotely. This eliminates the nuisance of having to visit a betting shop.
Many online sportsbooks offer a wide variety of deposit methods. The options available depend on the country of the player. Sportsbooks outside of the US offer Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, Paypal, Skrill and debit cards common in the local jurisdiction. Some also permit bank transfers. The deposit minimum is often just $5 or $10.
Nevada sportsbooks often require a player to walk into the local shop to make a deposit. The deposit minimum in Nevada is at least $50, but it is common to find books that demand $100, at least when opening an account.
William Hill offers two ways for players in Nevada to deposit without having to visit a sportsbook. There are more than 50 taverns with deposit kiosks. These operate in the same bars where Golden Gaming owns the slot route. The minimum deposit at a kiosk is $5.
William Hill also accepts PayNearMe. This is a cash transfer service similar to Western Union and MoneyGram. A player gets William Hill’s merchant information and goes to a kiosk at any of the 217 7-Eleven convenience stores. The minimum deposit is $20. The maximum is $500.
Station Casinos has a prepaid debit card. This is a carryover from its failed online Ultimate Poker venture. Players may deposit by Visa, MasterCard, Discover or an electronic funds transfer, often referred to in the online gaming world as an eCheck. Credit card deposits will incur a cash advance fee.
Players outside the US may withdraw through any method available for deposits. This includes Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, Skrill, bank transfer and local debit cards.
Nevada players must go to a sportsbook to pick up winnings. The only exception to this is the Station Casinos prepaid debit cards, which can be used at ATMs.
The fees associated with the Station Casinos prepaid debit card equal about $5 per transaction. This may make it worthwhile for these players to go to a sportsbook to pick up the cash, especially since a trip to a cash machine may be required.
A straight bet is where a player picks one side. It wins if that team either covers the point spread or wins outright, depending on whether a money line or point spread wager was made by the player.
A money line is where a bettor picks a team or player to win a match outright. A bettor either chooses the favorite and lays money or takes the underdog and receives more money than was wagered.
A point spread is a handicap applied to a favorite. The team most likely to win lays points, while an underdog gains points. The point spread hopes to find the most likely number that a favorite is predicted to win by in a team sport. Point spreads are often found in American football and basketball. Alternative lines in hockey and baseball use point spreads on 1.5.
A parlay is a bet that includes two or more outcomes. The more teams picked, the higher the payout. All teams in a parlay must win. Ties will lower the payout by one team unless otherwise disclosed by the betting shop.
A teaser is similar to a parlay. Its payouts are lower because a bettor receives extra points to apply to each leg of the teaser. American Football teasers are typically 6, 6.5 or 7 points. Basketball teasers are normally 4, 4.5 or 5 points. A six-point football teaser on a +3 team and +7 team would become +9 and +16, respectively.
Teasers must be at least two teams. Teaser bets are accepted with as many as 10 teams, depending on the shop.
A pleaser is a reverse teaser. This involves a player giving points away from the published line. That number is typically seven. Pleaser cards are often even where ties lose so books will try to place the lines on important numbers. Pleasers are normally available only in American football. Sportsbooks will try to place teaser lines on important numbers like 3, 7, 10 and 14. Ties lose in a pleaser.
A futures bet is where a player makes a wager on a winner of a division, tournament or league.
Many online sportsbooks accept bets on games that are in progress. This is called in-play. Most in-play bets are only accepted when a game is on commercial break. Bettors making these wagers should note that television feeds often run behind the actual event, often called latency.
Vigorish, often referred to simply as vig or juice, is the price a sportsbook charges for accepting a bet.
The vig on a straight bet of -110 is 4.5 percent.
If the sport exists, you can probably find a sportsbook that will take action on it. In Nevada, it may be difficult to find lines on sports outside of the US that are relatively niche.
Online sportsbooks outside of the US will often take bets on nearly any sports.
European sports bettors must be at least 18 years of age. This is a common minimum age in many other countries. Nevada requires players to be at least 21 years of age. Some states have a lower age of 18.
Sports betting is available on Android apps in most countries outside the US and in the state of Nevada.
Yes. Most online sportsbooks offer iPhone apps. For those that do not, there often are workaround solutions to allow browser-based wagering?
Yes. Many US states allow wagering via online sports betting sites. Some only allow wagers through mobile apps, however.
Yes. More than half of states that have legalized sports betting have added an online component. Sports betting websites that accept action from other jurisdictions are illegal and unlicensed.
European sportsbooks like Bet365 accept a variety of credit and debit cards. eWallets, which include Neteller, Skrill, Ukash, and Instadebit, are also available as deposit options.
Nevada sportsbooks require bettors to deposit cash in sportsbooks with narrow exceptions. William Hill offers kiosks in more than 50 taverns in Nevada. Cash may also be deposited through PayNearMe at 217 convenience stores under the 7-Eleven flag. Station Casinos offers the Sports Connection prepaid card that accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and electronic checks.
Yes. Every major operator in Nevada offers some form of online wagering. The quality can vary greatly from book to book.
Nevada sportsbooks use geolocation technology to locate players. William Hill and NV Sportsbooks (operated by South Point) permits players to use wifi connections. This method maps nearby wifi routers and pinpoints the user through Google technology. All other sportsbooks require three cell phone towers that use ping speed to determine a bettor’s location.
Station Casinos, William Hill, CG Technology, Aliante Casino, Treasure Island, Boyd Gaming, MGM, Wynn and South Point all offer mobile apps to players located in Nevada.
No. Nevada does not permit wagering on elections.
No. Nevada does not permit wagering on reality television.
Yes, in many other states in fact. In addition to Nevada, you can legally make single-game sports wagers in 16 other US states as of April 2020.
Several other states have also introduced sports betting bills that hinged on the result of Murphy vs. NCAA.
About a dozen others were considering bills prior to the ruling, and that number is expected to grow quickly now that the federal hurdles are gone.