Legalization of Sports Betting in the USA

After four years of legal sports betting in the States, where do we stand?

On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court reversed 1992’s Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which made it unlawful for a state or its subdivisions to “sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law or compact a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based on competitive sporting events.”

That’s legal-ese for “They’re going to let us bet on sports!”

But the fun was only getting started. The ruling placed the decision into the hands of each of the 50 states, and as you might imagine, they’ve responded in all fashions.

Four years later, here’s where we stand on legalized sports betting in the United States.

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States That Aren’t Allowing Betting on Sports

As of May 2022, the following 15 states haven’t enacted any law to allow legal sports wagering. Some of these locations are working on legislation that could see action as soon as this year, while others are looking a year or two into the future – or longer.

(Notes next to states that expect or could see action sometime in 2022):

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • California (ballet proposals likely to see action this fall)
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts (bill passed state Senate, currently navigating the House)
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina (Lawmakers have introduced a bill, opposed by Governor, who is up for re-election this fall)
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
states with legal sports betting

States with Legal Sports Betting

Meanwhile, the other 35 states (and Washington, D.C.) used the past four years to approve some form of sports wagering in their jurisdictions. As you might imagine, however, these conditions range from widely available wagering (New Jersey, for example) to states that have legalized wagering via legislation but have yet to enact any way for its residents to actually place a wager.

Here’s a look at these states and the current conditions in each:

DelawareYesNoFirst state outside Nevada to accept a legal bet but has remained an in-person only locale.
FloridaNoNoA federal judge struck down an agreement that gave the Seminole Tribe full control over sports betting in the state, just one month after Hard Rock accepted the state’s first online bets.   Currently, all wagering in Florida is halted, and it appears resumption will take a while.
KansasNoNoWent legal earlier this month. The stated goal is to be up and running in time for the 2022 NFL season – this could be the next state to see major movement.
MaineNoNoJoined the legalized sports betting crowd early in 2022; the bill permits the state’s four native tribes to partner with operators for online sports betting. It’s believed the first wagers will occur in 2023.
MarylandYesNoMaryland has promised the addition of online gambling for almost a year, but the actual start still appears months away.
NebraskaNoNoThe law allows for wagering at in-person sportsbooks only, but it’s believed this could begin as early as this year.
New HampshireYesYesOnly DraftKings is operating in-state. Many believe if Massachusetts launches online wagering, options will expand.
New JerseyYesYes 
New MexicoYesNo 
New YorkYesYes 
North CarolinaYesNoGovernor Roy Cooper supports online betting; state House could vote this fall.
North DakotaYesNo 
OhioNoNoApproved late in 2021, but it appears it will take most of this year to get up and running. The law states betting must be available by January 1, 2023.
OregonYesYesLike New Hampshire, DraftKings is the sole mobile operator.
Rhode IslandYesYesWilliam Hill is the sole in-person and mobile sportsbook in the state.
South DakotaYesNo 
Washington, D.C.YesYesThe trickiest of all locations, mobile betting is allowed but NOT within federal properties. As you can imagine, there are plenty of these in Washington, D.C., leading to a somewhat frustrating experience for users.
West VirginiaYesYes 
New York NFL Sports Betting

Taxes: Who’s Charging the Most, Who’s Made the Most?

Once sports gambling reaches the point of legalization, the talk often turns to tax rates – how much will operators need to pay the respective states? Do they pay taxes based on profit, or on all bets accepted?

Here are states with the highest tax rates on gambling operators, along with notes as to the style of sports wagering in the respective states:

StateTax RateWagering Model
New Hampshire51%Lottery
New York51%Mobile/Retail

Geographically, we see New England/Eastern seaboard states with the highest rates by far. Tennessee, at 20%, is just a smidge higher than many states in the 15%-18% range.

Next, we look at the states who’ve collected the most tax revenue from sports gambling. These numbers are current as of May 2022, and include ALL revenue collected since 2018:

Leading States in Tax Revenue from Sports Wagering

  1. Pennsylvania ($252.9MM)
  2. New Jersey ($229.1MM)
  3. New York ($220.5MM)
  4. Illinois ($130.4MM)
  5. Nevada ($91.1MM)

Clearly, tax rates and robust populations combine to put these states near the top of the list.

Note that New York, with its large population and nation-high 51% tax rate, has driven all this revenue in less than one year’s time. The Empire State figures to become the runaway leader in this area very soon.

U.S. Betting Market by Operator Market Share

Who are the biggest names in U.S. sports wagering? Chances are they’re the ones that are most familiar or with the most recognition, which generally leads to greater availability:

Sports Wagering Provider and Percentage of Market Share (as of winter 2021):

  1. FanDuel 40.5%
  2. DraftKings 25.6%
  3. Caesars 18%
  4. BetMGM 10.8%

That leaves another 5% or so of the market to split among others, including Barstool Sportsbook and Bet365, which some predict will become bigger players in time.

The U.S. sports gambling market is only four years old but using these numbers. we have an early idea of the determining factors in how successful each state’s industry can become. Availability, tax rates, and populations all play a significant role in driving state revenue from the continued popularity of sports wagering.

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