5 Years of Legal Sports Betting - A Timeline

5 Years of Legal Sports Betting - A Timeline

Published Date · Sept. 26, 2022 · Last Updated · Dec. 14, 2022 ·Read Time · 4 mins

To understand where the U.S. sports betting industry could go in the future, it is best first to understand its past. Until 2018, the Professional and Amateur Protection Act (PASPA) prevented states from legalizing all forms of sports betting. That all changed when the US supreme court deemed that law unconstitutional. Since then, over 30 states have opened sports betting markets. In this guide, we provide an accurate and informative timeline of sports betting in the United States. We start from 2018 right up to the current day.

  • March 2018 (West Virginia): West Virginia creates legislation for the legalization of sports betting. This is done before the Supreme Court makes its decision.
  • May 2018: The Supreme Court strikes down the PASPA law that made sports betting illegal. With that federal law removed, states could now legalize sports betting.
  • June 2018 (Delaware): Delaware becomes the first state to accept wagers on sports. The state became the first outside of Nevada to allow single-game wagering. Punters can place bets on a variety of sports except those performed by in-state college teams.
  • June 2018 (New Jersey): Just a couple of weeks later, New Jersey passed a sport wagering law. Sports fans in the state could now place legal sports wagers online or at retail establishments. Again, laws state that no betting is allowed on games involving in-state college teams and collegiate events.
  • June 2018 (Rhode Island): With the floodgates now open, Rhode Island quickly enacts a sport betting law. Initially, this only allowed for bets placed at land-based casinos. However, in 2019, that law would also allow online sports betting.
  • August 2018 (New Jersey): A player in New Jersey becomes the first to place a legal online sports bet in any state other than Nevada. The online sportsbook, Draftkings had beaten everyone else to market.
  • August 2018 (Mississippi): Like West Virginia, Mississippi had pre-empted the Supreme Court's decision by changing its existing sports betting laws in 2017. The market went live in August 2018 and now offers dozens of sportsbooks.
  • August 2018 (West Virginia): West Virginia also saw its sports betting industry go live in August. This state now has one of the biggest online sports betting industries in the United States.
  • November 2018 (Arkansas): Voters in Arkansas approved the legalization of sports betting. Initially, this was for sports wagering at land-based casinos. However, sportsbooks would arrive in 2019. Arkansas is another state that does not allow betting on in-state college teams.
  • November 2018 (Pennsylvania): Pennsylvania also changed laws before the Supreme Court made the decision. The first sportsbook opened its doors at the Hollywood Casino. PA now has one of the biggest sports betting industries in the country.
  • January 2019 (Washington): After the mayor approved legal betting, Washington became the latest state to announce that sports betting was on its way.
  • May 2019 (Montana): Montana allows online and retail sports betting via its state-run lottery. For the first time, players can place bets using their mobile devices.
  • May 2019 (Indiana): Indiana becomes the second state to allow sports betting in May 2019. Like Montana, the law allows for mobile wagering or placing wagers at authorized gaming facilities.
  • May 2019 (Iowa): Sports wagering becomes legal in Iowa. Players can now place online or offline sports bets on sports, including baseball, basketball, and football. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regulates sports betting in the state.
  • July 2019 (New York): This month witnessed the first sports bets placed in New York. The state allows in-person and mobile sports betting. The only notable prohibition is games involving college teams.
  • August 2019 (Oregon): Another state to jump on the sports betting bandwagon was Oregon. The law allows both mobile and in-person betting.
  • December 2019 (New Hampshire): At the end of 2019, New Hampshire follows suit by legalizing mobile and retail sports betting.
  • March 2020 (Illinois): Illinois becomes yet another US state to legalize online and land-based sports betting. The law does not allow wagering on minor leagues or in-state college teams.
  • March 2020 (Michigan): Michigan legalizes sports betting. Quickly proving popular with residents, Michigan now boasts one of the biggest sports betting industries.
  • May 2020 (Colorado): Colorado passes new legislation that allows in-person and mobile sports betting. This comes after the result of a very close vote taken six months earlier.
  • November 2020 (Tennessee): Near the end of 2020, Tennessee allowed regulated sports wagering. However, this is only for online and not at any land-based establishments.
  • March 2021 (North Carolina): A new law allows sports betting but only at one of two retail locations in the state.
  • April 2021 (Wyoming): In April 2021, Governor Mark Gordon enacted mobile sports betting in the state. The industry went live in September that year.
  • May 2021 (Arizona): Sports wagering and fantasy sports are now legal in Arizona. Mobile sports betting goes live in September 2021.
  • May 2021 (Connecticut): Although late to the party, Connecticut passed new legislation that legalized in-person and retail sports betting. The state is another to prohibit wagering on in-state college teams.

What Next?

As you can see, more than half the states in the U.S have legalized sports betting. More are likely to follow suit in the coming years as well. States that do offer sports betting are reaping the rewards in terms of tax revenues and the additional jobs sports betting creates. The only state that is unlikely to legalize sports betting is Utah. The state massively opposes all forms of gambling and does not even offer a national lottery.

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Phoebe Greenwood

Content Writer