Sports Betting and Online Casinos: Where Are They Legal?

The gambling industry in the United States accounts for a contribution to the US economy of around 137.5 billion dollars each year. Over 700,000 people are now employed by this industry, but despite this, many forms of gambling are still found illegal in the US.

When it comes to the contributing sectors of gambling in the US, two of the most popular ways for Americans to gamble are through online casinos and sports betting. While both sectors are now popular in many states, both are still not legal nationwide.

There are only a few states that embrace the local operations of online casinos and sports betting sites. The truth is that laws surrounding these two gambling sectors are still confusing, but here’s a quick guide as to where you can play on-shore based online casinos and local sports betting sites where you can place your bets.


Currently, there are now 13 states that allow sports betting within their borders. This means that the locals can place bets on sports bookies that are based on their own state. Meanwhile, online casinos or web-based casinos are only legal in three states.

Only two states do not allow or have a complete or total ban on gambling. These states are Hawaii and Utah. This means that any form of gambling is prohibited within the borders of these states. However, people of Hawaii and Utah can still play on online casinos that are based outside their territories.

Indeed, operations of online casinos are only legal in three states, however, the locals within these borders can still play on casinos outside their states. This basically means that only the operation of online casinos locally is still found illegal by the majority of the US.

While the majority of the US still seems to shy away from embracing locally operated online casinos, it is worth noticing that more and more states are moving to legalize the operations of local online bookies for sports betting.

This is simply a clear sign that more local governments are understanding how the gambling industry, in general, can help each state a lot. It’s possible that most states are still shying away from locally operated online casinos due to the fact that many Americans are already facing gambling problems.

Where Sports Betting is Now Legal

The 13 states that now allow sports betting within their borders are the following:

  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • Mississippi
  • West Virginia
  • New Mexico
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Arkansas
  • New York
  • Iowa
  • Indiana

Delaware is the first state to allow this type of gambling within its borders after the Supreme Court of the US overturned PASPA or the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. This act is what made sports betting illegal in the US for a long time until May 2018.

Ever since the Supreme Court’s ruling, many states already scheduled to make a decision on how they would go about regulation sports betting in their borders or not. Almost all states are already lined up to decide on this.

Only a few states remain unmoved regarding this matter. Currently, the states of Utah, Wyoming, New Delhi, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Florida, and Nebraska are still not talking about sports betting. The rest of the US states are already making a move towards it.

The most recent states that legalized sports betting within their borders are New Jersey and New York and these are the places where you can find the best Sportsbooks. Colorado is next to decide on this. A public vote regarding sports betting is already scheduled to happen sometime in November, and it’s likely that Colorado will have this legalized in their state.

Where Online Casinos Can Legally Operate

The three states where local online casinos can operate are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. It may be a surprise that Nevada isn’t on this list, but this state only allows online poker. Technically, online casinos are still illegal to operate in this state.

Nevada has many land-based casinos and you may find that a lot of them are already mobile. There is a loophole that these casinos have used to be able to operate online. Customers or players will have to register within the actual casino first before they can access their accounts online. This made the use of mobile apps or websites of these Nevada casinos not legal.

As of today, it is New Jersey that leads the online gambling industry in the US. This is understandable as this state has passed its online gambling laws in 2013. This state is already advanced when it comes to regulating online casinos.


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