The United States Of Sports Betting
High taxes, organized crime, and various Acts prohibiting the movement of information and materials required for sports betting led to many sportsbooks closing down. However, in the mid-1970s, the government imposed lower taxes on sportsbooks, and for the first time, a sportsbook could operate inside a casino. Horse racing experienced a boom in the latter part of the 19th century. This changed in 1910 when the gambling ban was extended to include lotteries. Although horse racing was still exempt, the stigma attached to gambling and sports betting resulted in many racetracks closing down. Legal sports betting started in New Hampshire at the end of 2019 and is still somewhat limited.
There have been a couple of attempts but the farthest that we have gotten would be allowing people to use mobile-apps on casino property. A bill has been passed and will go to voters in November on whether to legalize sports wagering or not. Currently, the bill would not automatically legalize mobile betting; however, legislation could feasibly be pushed to allow for it. For now, it would legalize physical sportsbooks to casinos and racetracks. Gambling has been restricted in the United States since its founding, but we are in an era of change. The US Supreme Court removed a federally-imposed ban on state-sanctioned wagering in early 2018.
A mere three days later, sports betting began in earnest in NJ, using pre-existing infrastructure from the casinos. Though a bit disappointed that Delaware beat it to the punch, New Jersey still needed to pass its actual legal sports betting law before sports wagering could begin at state-licensed operators. Regulated markets are not homogeneous across the U.S. and regulated sports betting in general is by no means perfect. Once players are 21 years old or older, they can access legal sportsbooks in every state with its own regulated market with land-based sportsbooks.
The only place to bet on sports online in Washington DC is the Capital One Arena. 40 years down the line, West Virginia once again looked to gambling to increase state revenues. The 1994 Racetrack Video Lottery Act and subsequent bills slowly introduced video slots elsewhere. By the 2000s, Wheeling and Mountaineer offered poker and full casino table games.
Casino fans in the state must instead resort to social casinos with play money. The state first legalized horse race betting in the 1920s, covering local tracks. Gambling expanded in the state in 1990, with the Riverboat Gambling Act. You are betting on whether both team’s combined score will be under or over the specified number.
Because all these US and state laws criminalize only unlicensed domestic sportsbook operators, offshore operators are unaffected. And since individuals in the US are not criminalized for placing wagers with real money sportsbooks, nobody is breaking any laws. Pennsylvania passed legal sports betting, including mobile betting on November 16, 2018. They would start to let sportsbooks go live in May of 2019, as they began to test the product. Pennsylvania now operates at full capacity with several physical and online sportsbooks for all your wager needs.
To measure the change in the landscape, we ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of how likely it is for each jurisdiction to offer full-scale legal sports betting. A brief synopsis for the active states is included, with updates to follow. At the same time various state lawmakers are considering sports betting legislation, Congress is too.