As online gambling is becoming lawful in many different states across the U.S., more and more punters are placing sports bets. In the lead up to the 2021 Super Bowl, for instance, Forbes reported that a record 7.6 million people said they would bet online, which was up 65% on the previous year.
In 2020, the sports betting market generated more than $1 billion in revenue, which is expected to grow sixfold in the next 2-3 years. Should gambling be legalized in all 50 states, projections estimate that revenues will reach nearly $20 billion a year.
So, with gambling revenues sky-high and widely projected to increase in the years to come, what’s the state of play with sports betting in the U.S. in 2021? How does legislation vary from state to state, and what can we expect to see from the future of sports betting across the country?
Here’s an overview of the state of legal sports betting across the U.S. in 2021.
How many states have already legalized sports betting?
2021 will prove to be an extremely important year for popular sports betting sites. No fewer than 19 states will decide whether to legalize sports betting this year through either state legislature statute or voter referendum.
More sites than ever are available for consumers to join, but if you want to try sports betting, read full reviews of sites like Bovada.lv first so that you know what to expect.
As of April 2021, mobile sports betting is currently legal in twenty-two U.S. states, either in person or online. Below is a summary of the states where sports betting is legal, as well as the type of betting permitted (in-person or mobile), and any notable prohibitions or points of clarification:
Arkansas (in-person only): Betting isn’t permitted on in-state college teams.
Colorado (in-person & mobile)
Delaware (in-person only): Betting isn’t permitted on in-state college teams.
Illinois (in-person & mobile): Betting on minor leagues and Illinois college teams are prohibited.
Indiana: (in-person & mobile): Prop betting on in-state college athletics is prohibited.
Iowa (in-person & mobile): Prop betting on in-state college athletics is prohibited.
Michigan (in-person & mobile)
Mississippi (in-person only): Legal since 2018 with few restrictions, the state has vowed to look at mobile, online betting in the near future.
Montana (in-person only)
Nevada (in-person & mobile): As the home of Las Vegas, it’s little surprise that Nevada is one of the best places in the U.S. to place your sports bets.
New Hampshire (mobile only): One of few states to only permit mobile-only betting. The law will be amended in the near future to permit sports betting in-person on various sports, but betting on in-state college matches will remain prohibited.
New Jersey (in-person & mobile): Betting isn’t permitted on in-state college teams or collegiate events held in-state.
New Mexico (in-person only): Betting isn’t permitted on in-state college teams.
New York (in-person only): A dormant law was revived in the Supreme Court in 2018 permitting gambling across the state. Online sports betting is due to be permitted in the near future.
North Carolina (in-person only): The most recent state to legalize sports betting (as of April 2021).
Oregon (in-person & mobile): The sportsbook operated by the Oregon lottery doesn’t permit betting on games involving in-state colleges.
Pennsylvania (in-person & mobile)
Rhode Island (in-person & mobile): After legalizing sports betting in-person in 2018, the law was tweaked the following year to permit mobile betting, too.
Tennessee (mobile only)
Virginia (in-person & mobile): Betting on Virginia-based college sports and youth teams are not permitted.
Washington D.C. (in-person & mobile): Betting on games involving colleges located in D.C. is prohibited.
West Virginia (in-person & mobile)
What does the future hold for sports betting in other states?
According to ESPN, every state other than Idaho, Wisconsin, and Utah has tabled some form of legislation to consider legalizing sports betting. Of those being considered currently by the courts, the process in Washington, Maryland, South Dakota, Louisiana, and Wyoming could see laws passed in 2021.
Frankly, it would be little surprise to see some form of legalized sports betting in every state in the U.S. in the coming few years, perhaps with the exception of Utah. This is because the state has always been against any form of lottery or betting, and it’s even written in the constitution that betting should not be permitted. As such, sports betting in the U.S., including horse racing betting, will see a continuation in its recent rise in popularity, and it will be possible for fans to place bets on their favourite teams either in-person or online right across the country.