A lot of people are wondering if sports gambling is legal in their state. We’ve got the scoop on which states currently allow sports gambling and which ones might be next.
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With the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to strike down the federal ban on sports gambling, states are now free to legalize and regulate sports betting as they see fit. ESPN’s David Purdum and Doug Kezirian take a look at where sports gambling is currently legal and where it could be headed in the future.
Currently, sports betting is legal in Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, as well as limited locations in New Mexico. Most of these states have either recently legalized sports gambling or are in the process of doing so. Several other states, including Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio and Oklahoma, are considering legalizing sports gambling in the near future.
ESPN’s legal experts believe that by the end of 2019 there could be as many as 15 states with legal sports betting. And by 2022 that number could grow to 30 or more states.
The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports each year. With more states legalizingsports gambling, that number is expected to decrease significantly.
Federal Gambling Laws
Gambling is legal in most states in the United States. There are a few states that have not legalized gambling, but the laws are not enforced. The federal government has not passed any laws that make gambling illegal. The only federal law that pertains to gambling is the Wire Act of 1961.
The Federal Wire Act
The Federal Wire Act of 1961 is a United States federal law that prohibits the use of wire communications in interstate or foreign commerce for the placing of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest. This law primarily targets online sports betting, however, it also applies to other forms of gambling that cross state lines.
The Federal Wire Act was originally written to target illegal bookies and those who use wire communications to place bets on sporting events. In 2011, the Department of Justice clarified that the law also applies to online gambling, including online poker and casino games. This clarification caused many online poker and casino sites to pull out of the US market.
While the Federal Wire Act applies to all forms of gambling that cross state lines, it does not preempt state laws. This means that states are free to pass their own laws regarding gambling, and many have done so. As a result, there is a patchwork of state laws across the country. Some states have legalized all forms of gambling, while others have banned all forms except for a few specific types (such as horse racing).
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed as part of the Safe Port Act. This law made it illegal for businesses to knowingly accept payments from gambling sites. However, it did not make gambling itself illegal. In fact, the law specifically says that it does not apply to individual gamblers.
The act was designed to target businesses that were facilitating online gambling. It did not make it illegal for people to gamble online. The law was challenged in court and was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court in 2011.
Now that the law has been struck down, there is nothing stopping individual states from legalizing and regulating online gambling within their borders. So far, three states have taken advantage of this opportunity and have legalized online gambling: Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.
State Gambling Laws
A lot of people have a lot of questions when it comes to gambling and the law. “Is sports gambling legal in my state? What about online gambling? Are there any laws against gambling?” Gambling is a tricky subject because it is regulated at the state level, not the federal level. This means that each state has its own laws and regulations when it comes to gambling.
In Nevada, casinos are allowed to offer sports betting as well as other forms of gambling. There is no limit on the number of sports books that casinos can have, and they are allowed to offer bets on any sport. However, they are not allowed to offer bets on Nevada college teams or any other sporting event that takes place in the state.
In 2012, the voters of New Jersey passed a referendum that authorized the state to issue licenses for sports betting at casinos and racetracks. The first sports bets were made in June 2018, and the state has generated more than $3 billion in wagering since then.
New Jersey is one of a handful of states that offer online and mobile sports betting. You must be 21 or older to bet on sports in New Jersey.
The state has a 10% tax on gross revenues from sports betting.
In Pennsylvania, both casino gambling and lotteries are popular forms of gambling. There are many casinos located throughout the state, with the largest concentration in the eastern part of the state. The Pennsylvania Lottery is operated by the state government and offers a wide variety of games, including scratch-off tickets and draw games.
In 2006, the state of Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to offer legal sports betting. The state lottery office began offering single-game and championship betting on professional football. In 2009, the state added betting on professional baseball. In 2010, they added betting on college football and basketball. Today, Delaware also offers betting on golf, auto racing, and hockey.
Since 1991, Rhode Island has had a state lottery and betting on horse racing. In November 2018, voters approved a ballot measure to legalize sports betting in the state. The first sportsbook launched in June 2019.
In May of 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which had prevented states from authorizing sports betting.
Following the decision, West Virginia became one of a handful of states to enact legislation legalizing sports betting. The law authorizes betting on both professional and collegiate sporting events, including online and mobile bets. The state lottery commission is responsible for overseeing the industry.
The following states have legalized sports gambling: Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and West Virginia. The District of Columbia has also legalized sports gambling.