The question of where is sports betting legal in 2021 is a tricky one. Every state has its own laws and regulations surrounding gambling, and sports betting is no exception. In some states, sports betting is legal and regulated; in others, it is illegal.
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In the United States, the legality of sports betting is determined by each individual state. Forty-six states currently allow some form of legalized sports betting, with only Montana and Wyoming being the exceptions.
The landscape changed dramatically in 2018 when the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a federal law that had effectively banned sports betting outside of Nevada. This decision opened the door for states to legalize and regulate sports betting within their own borders.
Since then, several states have taken advantage of this opportunity and now offer legal sports betting to their residents and visitors. Here is a look at where sports betting is legal in 2021:
* Alabama – No active legislation
* Alaska – No active legislation
* Arizona – Active legislation pending
* Arkansas – Legal (Betting not yet live)
* California – No active legislation
* Colorado – Legal
* Connecticut – No active legislation
* Delaware – Legal
* Florida – No active legislation
Federal Sports Betting Laws
In the United States, the professional and amateur sports betting landscape has been significantly shaped by federal law.
The first major federal law governing sports betting was the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). PASPA made it effectively illegal to operate a sportsbook in any jurisdiction in the United States. The only exceptions to this were Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon – all of which had pre-existing sports betting laws on the books.
PASPA was struck down by the US Supreme Court in 2018 in a case styled Murphy v. NCAA. Murphy v. NCAA found that PASPA violated principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution. Since PASPA’s repeal, states have been free to legislate their own sports betting laws – and many have done so.
The second major federal law governing sports betting is the Wire Act of 1961. The Wire Act makes it illegal to place bets on sporting events using interstate wire communications – e.g., telephone, telegraph, or internet. The DOJ issued an opinion in 2018 that interpreted the Wire Act as applying only to bets on sporting events – not other types of gambling such as casino games or poker. This opinion has been challenged in court, and its ultimate fate is uncertain.
Assuming that the DOJ’s opinion is upheld, it would mean that bets on sporting events could be placed freely between states where sports betting is legal – provided that those states have reached an agreement for cross-border gambling. To date, no such agreements have been reached.
State Sports Betting Laws
As of early 2021, sports betting is legal in 25 states and the District of Columbia.
The list of states where sports betting is legal includes:
-New York Oregon
Virginia West Virginia Wisconsin.
Overall, it is still unclear as to where sports betting will be legal in 2021. With so many states still undecided and many others in the process of legislation, it is hard to say for sure. However, it seems likely that more states will legalize sports betting in 2021 than they did in 2020. So far, 20 states have legalized sports betting, with more likely to follow suit in the near future.