The first wager on sports likely occurred seconds after the first organized sporting event was held, and throughout most of human history, and the history of the United States, the activity has taken place in the shadows. That’s no longer the case.

The first appearance of legal sports betting in the USA dates back to 1949 when Nevada legalized the activity. Very little changed over the next 70 years. The rest of the world was legalizing and regulating the industry, the US was The US fought to maintain the status quo. But now, following the repeal of PASPA (The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act), the US is in the midst of a sports betting boom.

Below you’ll find a timeline of legal US sports betting, from federal laws to court cases to states legalizing and launching.

1949

Nevada Legalizes Sports Betting

18 years after it legalized casino gambling, Nevada is the first state to legalize sports betting. The state’s monopoly on single-game sports betting lasts until the repeal of PASPA in 2018.

1949
1951

The Federal Government Imposes A 10% Tax

On the heels of Nevada legalizing sports betting, Congress imposes a 10% tax on the new industry.

1951
1964

Sports Bribery Act

In an effort to further crackdown on illegal gambling, Congress passes the Sports Bribery Act.

1964
1973

Montana Sports Pool Act

The Montana Legislature passes the Card Game, Bingo, Raffles and Sports Pool Act, authorizing sports pools, fantasy sports leagues, and sports pull-off tabs. The law is amended several times over the years, increasing limits and payouts.

1973
1974

Sports Betting Tax Lowered to 2%

Congress reduces the sports betting tax from 10% to 2%.

1974
1976

Delaware Parlay Betting

Delaware introduces NFL Parlay cards to its lottery offerings. The parlay cards are pulled shortly after launch but will resurface some 15 years later.

1976
1983

Sports Betting Tax Cut to .25%

The federal government further reduces the sports betting tax to .25%.

1983
1989

Oregon Parlay Betting

The Oregon Lottery introduces Sports Action, offering football and basketball parlay cards.

1989
2011

New Jersey Joins the Fray

New Jersey voters thumb their nose at PASPA and legalize sports betting. The law kicks off a multi-year legal battle that will ultimately bring about the repeal of PASPA.

2011
February 2013

District Court Squashes NJ Sports Betting

The US District Court for New Jersey sides with the NCAA and leagues, dealing the state its first, but far from its last loss. The state will go on to appeal the decision.

February 2013
September 2013

Third Circuit Upholds Lower Court Decision

On appeal, the Third Circuit upholds the District Court’s ruling. The state appeals, but the United States Supreme Court will later decline to hear the case.

September 2013
November 2013

New York Preauthorizes Sports Betting

Voters approve a referendum that will bring commercial casinos to the state of New York and that also includes language preauthorizing sports betting at the facilities should federal law be changed to allow sports wagering.

November 2013
September 2014

New Jersey Goes Back to the Drawing Board

New Jersey lost in the courts, but the Third Circuit ruling provided a glimmer of hope, and NJ goes back to the drawing board to craft a new sports betting law that aligns with the court’s arguments. Instead of legalizing and regulating, the new law merely decriminalizes sports betting.

September 2014
October 2014

The NCAA and Leagues Sue NJ Again

The new law doesn’t win over the NCAA and professional sports leagues, and New Jersey finds itself back in court defending its sports betting law .

October 2014
November 2014

District Court Sides with the Leagues Again

The same judge who heard the first case in 2013 once again sides with the NCAA and sports leagues. New Jersey appeals the decision.

November 2014
November 2015

Third Circuit Upholds District Court Opinion, Again

As was the case the first time around, the Third Circuit sides with the NCAA and leagues. New Jersey requests an en banc hearing (the en banc panel rules against NJ in August 2016).

November 2015
October 2016

New Jersey Appeals to the SCOTUS

Following it’s en banc defeat, and hoping for a different result, New Jersey petitions the highest court in the land to hear the case.

October 2016
March 2017

Mississippi Legalizes Sports Betting

As was the case with New York, Mississippi attaches sports betting legalization to another bill (daily fantasy sports), setting the stage for the state to offer sports betting if New Jersey prevails in its case.

March 2017
June 2017

SCOTUS Takes the Case

New Jersey’s prospects for sports betting improve dramatically when the Supreme Court decides to hear its appeal.

June 2017
October 2017

Pennsylvania Joins the Preauthorization Party

With New Jersey’s chances improving, Pennsylvania includes the preauthorization of sports betting in a comprehensive gaming reform package passed by the legislature.

October 2017
December 2017

SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments

Oral arguments are presented to the Supreme Court and the general consensus is that New Jersey is now a favorite to win its case, putting PASPA on life support.

December 2017
March 2018

West Virginia Legalizes Sports Betting

With the writing on the wall, West Virginia passes a bill legalizing sports betting.

March 2018
May 2018

New Jersey Wins: PASPA Repealed

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court strikes down PASPA, opening the door for New Jersey and every other state to legalize sports betting. The proverbial floodgates are open.

May 2018
June 2018

Delaware Sportsbooks Go Live

With a law on the books since 2009, Delaware quickly expands its sports betting offerings, adding single-game and other wagers to its existing NFL parlay betting system.

June 2018
June 2018

New Jersey Legalizes and Launches Sports Betting

Following its SCOTUS victory, the New Jersey legislature quickly passes a sports betting bill and the state’s regulators and operators are ready to go, launching just days later.

June 2018
June 2018

Rhode Island Legalizes Sports Betting

18 years after it legalized casino gambling, Nevada became the first state to legalize sports betting.

June 2018
August 2018

West Virginia Sportsbooks Launch

With a law already in place, West Virginia becomes one of the first states to launch legal sportsbooks following the repeal of PASPA.

August 2018
August 2018

Mississippi Sportsbooks Go Live

Mississippi was another state that preauthorized sports betting, and as was the case in West Virginia, Mississippi is able to get its sportsbooks up and running before the 2018 NFL season.

August 2018
October 2018

Sportsbooks at New Mexico Tribal Casinos

Taking advantage of a perfect storm of state law and compact language, New Mexico’s tribal casino operators are able to offer sports betting without new legislation or renegotiating their tribal compacts.

October 2018
November 2018

Pennsylvania Sportsbooks Go Live

More than a year after the state legalized sports betting, The Hollywood Casino Sportsbook becomes the first legal sportsbook in Pennsylvania. More retail sportsbooks open in the ensuing weeks and months, but online sports betting will have to wait another six months until PlaySugarHouse launches its mobile betting app.

November 2018
November 2018

Rhode Island Adds Sports Betting

Retail betting launches at Rhode Island’s two casinos operated by Twin River. Online betting sites launch nearly a year later, in September 2019.

November 2018
November 2018

Arkansas Legalizes Sports Betting

Arkansas is the last state to legalize sports betting in 2018, setting the stage for a fast-paced 2019 in other statehouses.

November 2018
March 2019

Sports Betting Legalized In The Nation’s Capital

Washington DC throws its hat into the sports betting ring when it passes one of the most contentious and controversial sports betting bills to date.

March 2019
March 2019

Montana Legalizes Sports Betting

Montana passes legislation authorizing sports betting.

March 2019
May 2019

Iowa Legalizes Sports Wagering

Iowa becomes the second state to legalize sports betting in 2019. Seven more states will follow suit before the end of the year.

May 2019
June 2019

Tennessee Passes A Mobile-Only Sports Betting Law

Tennessee takes a unique approach to sports betting as the retail-gambling-starved state crafts and passes a mobile-only sports betting bill.

June 2019
June 2019

Illinois Passes A Sports Betting Bill

After a lot of back and forth in the legislature (and from lobbyists) Illinois, one of the US’s top gambling prizes passes legislation legalizing sports betting.

June 2019
July 2019

North Carolina Approves Tribal Sports Betting

North Carolina passes a sports betting law that authorizes sports betting at the state’s tribal casinos.

July 2019
July 2019

Retail Sportsbooks Go Live in New York

New York’s commercial casinos start rolling out retail sportsbooks thanks to the constitutional amendment the state passed in 2013. The state’s tribal operators launch retail sportsbooks of their own in the coming weeks.

July 2019
July 2019

Arkansas Sports Betting Launch

After legalizing sports betting in late-2018, sports betting in Arkansas becomes a reality with the ribbon-cutting at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.

July 2019
July 2019

New Hampshire Legalizes Sports Betting

New Hampshire passes a sports betting law that will bring retail and online sports betting to the Granite State.

July 2019
August 2019

Indiana Legalizes Sports Betting

Indiana passes one of the most industry-friendly sports betting bills to date, making the state one of the most anticipated markets in the country.

August 2019
August 2019

Iowa Launches Retail and Online Betting

Iowa’s sportsbooks go live, but mobile betting gets off to a slow start due to an in-person registration requirement.

August 2019
September 2019

Indiana Launches With A Lot Of Fanfare

The ink is barely dry on the state’s sports betting law when Indiana retail and online sportsbooks begin going live. As expected, the state gets off to a fast start and quickly becomes one of the top markets in the burgeoning US betting industry.

September 2019
October 2019

Oregon Lottery’s Sports Betting Site Goes Live

The Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard betting app goes live.

October 2019
November 2019

Colorado Passes Sports Betting Referendum

An oddly worded question on the November ballot makes the sports betting vote closer than it needs to be, but at the end of the day, Coloradans vote in favor of bringing sports betting to the state.

November 2019
December 2019

DraftKings Goes Live In New Hampshire

DraftKings launches New Hampshire’s first and only online sportsbook. Retail betting is expected to launch in 2021.

December 2019
December 2019

Michigan Passes Sports Betting Legislation

After falling short in 2018, Michigan is able to pass a comprehensive gaming reform and expansion package that includes retail and mobile sports betting.

December 2019
March 2020

Montana Sports Betting Goes Live

The Montana Lottery launches its sports betting terminals at over 100 locations.

March 2020
April 2020

Washington State Legalizes Sports Betting

Tribal gaming operators in Washington get the go-ahead to offer retail sports betting, but the legislation is challenged by commercial gaming operators.

April 2020