Welcome to BettingUSA.com – your informative guide to legal betting sites and the regulated online gambling market in the United States.
Our editors would like to stress this site is dedicated ONLY to wagering activities that are licensed, regulated, and taxed on a state by state basis.
Many websites promote “offshore” or outright illegal options, and our team feels it’s important to point out the difference.
All betting sites listed on BettingUSA.com operate in compliance with state and federal laws.
The following legal US betting sites have the most widespread availability and offer special signup promotions to our readers. We trust and recommend that you start with these sites if you’re interested in testing your skills today.
US Betting News and Updates
Up to date legal developments, news and promotions.
State Specific Betting Sites
Online gambling is a complicated and politicized issue in America. Each state in the union has a different approach to dealing with the market, and what’s accessible in one state may not be the same in another.
Tribes, land-based operators, horse racing tracks, and lotteries all have their own interests, which don’t always align.
Check our state specific guides for current information on what you can play where you reside.
Which US States Have Legal Online Betting?
Our individual state pages below list recommendations specifically tailored to residents of each state, and which forms of in-person and online betting, categorized by market, are legal and accessible in each US state.
In addition to all 50 states, find our legal guides to Washington D.C and Puerto Rico.
Legal US Betting Site Reviews
BettingUSA reviews all major US betting sites and mobile apps.
As legal online betting initiatives gain ground across the USA and new betting sites launch, BettingUSA.com maintains a running list of detailed reviews here.
Licensed betting operators in the United States are required to segregate player funds for safekeeping and abide by strict regulations pertaining to payout times, betting odds, randomness, transparency and responsible gambling.
One of the many advantages offered by legal betting sites is that they operate on US soil and are therefore subject to US law, both criminal and civil. This is in sharp contrast to the unregulated offshore industry in which operators come and go and often make up the rules as they go.
Licensed betting sites in every state are obligated by law to provide a certain basic level of quality and safety for customers, but not all betting sites are a perfect fit for all customers.
Therefore, the goal of every betting site review is to provide readers with an unbiased look at what each sportsbook has to offer in terms of gambling options, payment processing and overall quality/reputation.
Legal Sports Betting in the United States
Sports betting is legal in states that have passed legislation regulating the activity.
Nevada has had legal sports betting for decades, but federal betting laws in the USA prevented other states from joining the party until the past few years.
In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a longstanding law that prohibited state legislatures from authorizing or regulating sports betting. The law in question was called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (a.k.a. PASPA or the Bradley Act).
PASPA was designed to prevent the spread of sports betting due to concerns related to problem gambling and sports integrity. The law included exemptions for state laws that were already in place at the time it took effect. Nevada was the only state at the time that had normal, single-game sports betting and thus received an exemption from PASPA. This is why Nevada stood as the only state with true sports betting for so long.
Delaware, Montana and Oregon also had limited forms of sports betting managed by their state lotteries. These “sports lotteries” allowed customers to place limited types of parlay-style wagers on specific leagues and were limited in scope.
New Jersey challenged PASPA in court and framed its argument as a states’ rights issue. Multiple appeals courts ruled against New Jersey’s attempts to decriminalize sports betting, but New Jersey appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey and declared PASPA unconstitutional as written.
The Supreme Court decision found PASPA to be a clear case of violating the anticommandeering doctrine of the 10th Amendment. Now NJ betting sites are operating in a well regulated market that is generating sizable revenue for the state.
The Supreme Court’s decision has wide-ranging implications that go well beyond the borders of New Jersey. With PASPA now dead in the water, every state in the USA is now free to legalize and regulate legal online sports betting.
Many states have since taken advantage of the opportunity to regulate sports betting within their borders.
Some states have gone full steam ahead with legislation authorizing retail sportsbooks and statewide mobile betting under a free-market model.
Other states have enacted laws that authorize a single operator to run a limited number of retail sportsbooks. Yet others are still in the exploratory process and are now in the early stages of considering legislation to legalize sports betting.
Readers in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia can visit our state pages for updates on the legal situation as well as recommendations of legal betting sites.
Horse Racing Betting is Legal In Most States
Online horse racing betting is legal in most US states due to exemptions written into federal law that give states the authority to regulate the industry within their borders.
Legal horse and greyhound racing betting sites partner with hundreds of tracks to deliver live video simulcasting, wagering and data to fans across the country.
All wagers placed with licensed betting sites are pooled with bets taken at the track, thereby supporting the local racing industry and ensuring customers are paid at full track odds.
The best horse racing betting sites are run by operators with decades’ worth of industry experience, many of whom operate racetracks.
All licensed operators are subject to federal and state laws that ensure security, quick payouts to winners and much more.
BettingUSA has long covered the regulated US horse racing industry. Here, readers will find honest horse racing reviews, how-to guides for placing wagers, coverage of major racing events and important industry updates.
What About Pari-mutuel Betting?
Parimutuel betting is the preferred wagering format for horse racing, greyhound racing and jai alai.
What makes parimutuel different than traditional sports betting is that all bets of each type are pooled together, the house takes a cut, and then payouts are divvied out to the winners.
Thus, it is the betting public that determines the odds for each wager and not the bookmaker.
Greyhound and horse racing are the only two forms of parimutuel wagering that you’ll find online in the United States.
The sport of jai alai was once a major parimutuel betting activity, but that sport is on its last legs and isn’t available for online wagering.
Online Casinos in the USA
Individual states gained the ability to legalize and regulate online gambling courtesy of a 2011 Department of Justice memo that opined online gambling does not violate the Wire Act if it is conducted entirely within state borders.
The 2011 opinion paved the way for states to legalize online casinos for the first time in US history. Since then, five states have passed legislation to regulate online gambling:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
Many more states are likely to legalize online casinos, but legislation takes time and is often a complex issue that involves navigating the competing interests of stakeholders, lawmakers and the public at large.
For readers in states where it is not yet legal to play online, the best bet for now is to remain patient and avoid unregulated offshore gambling sites.
Not only is it illegal to gamble online in some states, but there is a real financial risk in doing business with unregulated online casino sites operating in the USA.
As we wait for additional states to pass legislation, we can look at states that have already legalized online gambling as an indication of what’s to come.
In all such states, online gaming has proven profitable and able to be effectively regulated. Successful regulation includes ensuring fair games, preventing underage gambling and limiting access exclusively to customers located within state lines.
Online Poker in the USA – 5 States and Counting
Nevada was the first state to legalize online poker in the USA, followed by Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Pennsylvania became the fourth state after legalizing online poker along with other forms of gaming in 2017. Michigan joined the party with the passage of a wide-ranging online gaming bill in 2019 allowing casinos to launch online poker sites.
States that have fully passed online poker legislation:
- New Jersey
Legislation is pending in numerous other states, although progress has been a bit slower than originally hoped after the first three states legalized online poker.
However, momentum appears to be picking up again as the states that have legalized online poker demonstrate regulation is a winning play that provides safe options for players and tax revenue for states.
The biggest challenge facing the industry today is overcoming the quintessential catch-22 of poker: traffic and liquidity.
Busy poker sites attract new players. Slow poker sites do not. Bridging that divide is made particularly challenging by the Federal Wire Act, which prohibits poker sites from accepting customers across state lines and therefore limits the potential player pool of every poker site to a single state.
That challenge is slowly being overcome with the creative use of interstate compacts that allow poker sites in regulated states to share liquidity. Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, for example, signed a player sharing agreement in 2017 allowing operators with a presence in two more states to sit players from different states at the same tables.
As additional states sign similar player sharing agreements, the potential pool of players will expand significantly and increase liquidity for operators in all states. This in turn will spur higher traffic numbers, more cash game tables and bigger tournaments.
Online Lotteries in the USA
A growing number of state lotteries are turning to online sales to bolster sales and better cater to changing customer demographics.
In some states, players may now buy lottery tickets and play instant win games online or through mobile apps developed or endorsed by the official state lottery.
Additional states are likely to embrace online lottery sales over coming years as competition for entertainment dollars heats up and consumers become increasingly accustomed to convenience.
Furthermore, giving players the ability to buy lottery tickets online has so far proven to be a sure-fire way to increase lottery revenue – and states that have not yet authorized online lotteries are taking note.
Opposition to legal online lotteries is fierce among anti-gambling groups and some convenience store associations.
Anti-gambling groups contend the lottery preys upon the poor and taking it online only exacerbates the problems. Meanwhile, convenience store owners fear the loss of walk-in traffic generated by lottery ticket sales.
Even so, momentum is clearly on the side of online lottery proponents as the legalization trend advances across the nation. The number of states that offer online lottery sales or that are considering it grows every year.
BettingUSA tracks developments in the lottery industry, including updates on legalization efforts and online lottery reviews.
Lottery fans can visit the BettingUSA lottery guide for full details on which states offer which games online, minimum age restrictions, and payout information.
Is Regulated Online Gambling In The USA a Positive Thing?
We believe so, yes. People are going to gamble online no matter what the law says; that much is evident. Players should have access to a secure, fair environment and governments should have the opportunity to benefit from the tax revenue.
Besides, shouldn’t you have the right to spend your money how you choose in the privacy of your own home? We definitely think so. The government doesn’t need to legislate morality.
Americans are more than capable of deciding for themselves what is right.
In any case, we look forward to watching the continued growth and maturity of the developing industry through 2020 and beyond.
What About The Negatives?
The obvious downside is the fact that those with addictive personalities now have unprecedented access, and that could lead to more negatives within society.
Our editorial opinion is that it will happen anyways thanks to offshore operations. We can either face the problem head-on or continue to act like it isn’t there.
Problem gambling is a concern but as we all know, people can already bet online as it is. Legalization would make it easier for problem gamblers to get help and would divert funds to gambling addiction treatment.
For example, New Jersey has a statewide gambling exclusion list that anyone can join online to be banned from all online betting sites.