Legal Online Sports Betting In The U.S.
Is sports betting legal in the United States? Where can I legally bet on sports if I live in the US? These are questions we are asked every single day, and it is our primary objective to help you understand the current legal landscape of sports betting in the United States and be able to make an informed decision about your participation in legal sports betting entertainment.
This includes current news about US sports betting legislation, professional insight that will help you find the most trusted legal online sports betting sites while avoiding scams and predatory gambling operations, and access to legal betting options that give you the most value with competitive betting lines and odds.
We are avid gamblers as well as industry professionals, and we take the process by which we find legal, trustworthy sportsbooks that are operating legitimately within the industry very seriously. If you want to learn more about the legal status of sportsbook gambling in the United States, we deliver this to you in a comprehensive, user-friendly format that breaks the information down into manageable pieces.
We're simply aiming to help our fellow gamblers, specifically American sports bettors, understand their betting options and how to enjoy online sports gambling entertainment within the confines of sports betting laws in the US.
The Legality of Sports Gambling in America - Is Online Sports Betting Actually Legal in the USA?
Yes, it is, and in more ways than one. With the repeal of PASPA, which altered the application of the Federal Wire Act, both domestic and offshore online sportsbooks are now able to provide betting services to USA residents, which is a huge move forward for legal sports betting in the United States. Neither of these laws has ever prohibited offshore sports betting, so those destinations that operate outside of the United States do have a bit of a head start on the US-based bookmakers.
The federal bans imposed through PASPA and the Wire Act only applied to US-based gambling businesses when they were fully in force, but they effectively prevented any type of expansion in the US domestic sports wagering market for over two decades. The recent changes to federal gambling regulations that have taken place have removed the chains from the US betting industry and many US states have embraced their newfound freedom.
To learn more about the legality of sports betting in your area see our legal online sports betting FAQs page or simply explore the federal laws below.
What Sports Can I Legally Bet On In The United States?
As far as domestic sports betting goes, each individual state will dictate which sports and leagues are eligible for wagering within their borders. Most state-regulated bookmakers offer the most popular sports and leagues such as NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and some NCAA sports. However, some states do impose restrictions concerning college sports. It is also unusual to find betting options for politics, entertainment, or much in the way of international leagues at these destinations. The range of eligible betting lines and wagering options will vary significantly from state to state, and even sportsbook to sportsbook.
Offshore sports betting is a different playing field altogether and has effectively dominated legal sports betting for more than 2 decades. These sites typically offer a much larger variety of sports coverage, betting lines, and wagering options, and include both USA sports as well as many international leagues and events. We are in the process of launching individual betting guides for each sports category, and below are the most popular ones that are currently available. As we complete each sports category or league page, we will add it to the main menu above with some of the most popular sports to bet on featured below.
If you are opting for one of the premium legal sportsbooks featured on this page, then you will have a wide range of sports to bet on that include leagues and events from all around the world. Here we have listed just a few of the most popular leagues, however, if you visit our Sports and Alt Sports menus above, you will see a much longer list of options and an even more extensive list on the actual sportsbooks themselves.
What's Happening Now in Sports in September 2023
It has been so awesome to see most of the major leagues and sports events return to the fields, courts, tracks, arenas, and sportsbooks. Below is a preview of some of the most popular sports, events, and contests available to bet on right now at our recommended sports betting sites. Keep in mind that there are always futures bets available on most mainstream sports categories that are not even in season, and lots of niche sports options are available that you may never have considered betting on before now.
What Sports Can I Bet on Right Now in September 2023?
Most Popular Sports To Bet On In 2023
Here we've listed the most popular sports to bet on. Most of the items on this list will not be unexpected. However, you may be surprised and even intrigued by a few of them since several of these categories cannot be found in the local, state-licensed sportsbooks in the US. All of these options, as well as many many other sports categories, can be accessed at the legitimate online sportsbooks you see featured on this page.
Yes, we know this is a no-brainer. Of course, football is the most popular sports category when it comes to sports betting. While NFL tops the charts in this popularity contest, college football is a close second. We've now got new, up-and-coming football leagues to consider as well, including the XFL and USFL.
Even FCF (fan-controlled football) gets some interesting betting lines from time to time. We certainly can't forget our neighbors to the north, with action on the CFL (Canadian football league) also appearing at most legal online sportsbooks. Yes, football is indeed where the action is, and if these newer leagues gain some traction, we might have football action to bet on most of the year now.
On those bleak days that are outside of football season (yes, we all suffer through them), you'll find futures betting options for NFL and College Football without fail. If the XFL and USFL grow in popularity, it is likely futures bets will also be available for those leagues as well. These bets include additional risk, but the reward is bigger too, with larger payouts, making those long-shot odds more attractive.
While both professional and college basketball are very popular sports for fans and spectators, most of the betting action surrounding basketball comes during post season playoffs and tournaments, with the NBA playoffs, championships, and NCAA March Madness seeing the bulk of the action.
Don't get me wrong, you can bet all season long, and many people do as there are certainly plenty of games to keep you busy, but for some reason the majority of bettors are more drawn to the playoffs and championship tournaments than the regular season games.
As far as popularity, baseball is definitely right up there, neck and neck with basketball. I mean, afterall, it is the great American passtime. The MLB enjoys a very dedicated and enthusiastic fan base, which does translate into a significant number of bettors. College baseball is covered by the sportsbooks, but doesn't hold a candle to the MLB's popularity.
LIke basketball, there is more betting action during the playoffs and World Series than during the regular season. Most of the betting lines for college baseball target post season playoffs and the College World Series, which does see some serious betting action some years.
While baseball is referred to as the great American passtime, we're not the only ones enjoying the game. Two international leagues in particular enjoy inclusion in the betting lines at most bookmakers: NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball), which is a professional Japanese baseball league and the KBO, which is the Korean Baseball Organization, also a professional league. Their fan base does extend to the US.
While the NHL is not the only hockey league in the world, it is the most popular and garners the most affection from bettors here in the US. Betting lines for hockey are available all season, throughout the playoffs, and of course, during the Stanley Cup tournament. You will also find NHL futures bets available during the off-season.
While the MLS is actually not one of the more popular soccer leagues to bet on, they are typically covered in the betting lines for soccer, or 'football', depending on where you are from.
The international leagues, such as the Premiere League, are much more popular and followed more closely even by American soccer fans. The European soccer leagues are also covered more comprehensively at the online sportsbooks we've recommended, which speaks to the fact that they enjoy a large robust and dedicated fan base.
All of the sportsbooks on this page cover the Euroepan teams, tournaments, and of course the epitome of soccer events. the World Cup.
Betting on combat sports is as old as the sport itself, and has really gained momentum with the advent of being able to place bets online for boxing, MMA, and even wrestling matches (though betting lines for wrestling do sometimes fall ito 'entertainment betting' rather than combat sports depending on which bookmaker you are visiting).
Along with pro boxing matches, celebrity boxing events also trigger their fair share of betting action. The UFC and Bellator matches are covered faithfully by the sportsbooks on this page as well.
Horse race betting is always going to be popular and has a rich history dating back to when sports betting entertainment in the US was in its infancy. With the online sportsbooks you find on this page, bettors are not limited to domestic races in the US, but have access to prestigious races taking place all around the world.
The popularity of esports tournaments is growing, so it was only natural that this niche caught the attention of bookmakers. It is likely that video games in general became more woven into the fabric of society during the pandemic, catapulting esports to new levels of viewership and fandom.
You are not going to find odds or lines for esports at the majority of state-regulated sportsbooks. The reason for this is that players in the tournaments are often under the age of 18, which adds some controversy regarding the morality of placing bets on children.
Some states are considering legalizing esports with conditions built in to address this, which could even end up changing how esports are conducted in some cases. For those who don't have a problem with placing bets on these tournaments, you'll find lines available at the sportsbooks we've suggested.
Simulated sports contests have been around for a while, but they really gained momentum during the covid pandemic when no live sports were taking place.
Likewise virtual sports also sprung up, and included some creative approaches with events such as virtual soccer games, virtual car racing, virtual camel races, virtual marble games, and a host of other unique options.
Sports Sims to bet on included popular games such as Madden NFL, NBA 2K, MLB the Show, and many others. Virtual sports and sports sims filled the void for us, and seem to be here to stay at most of the online bookmakers we've listed on this page.
Despite the fact that political betting dates back to our earliest elections in the United States, you will not find any political betting lines at the state-licensed sportsbooks operating in the US today.
However, the online sports betting sites we recommend all deliver betting lines for elections in the US and around the world, as well as various prop bets surrounding political events, scandals, and more.
It is perfectly legal to place a bet on any election or political event that is offered in the betting lines for the betting sites on this page because they are all operating legally online.
This is one of my very favorite categories because the possibilities are limitless. Entertainment betting odds cover a wide range of categories, including reality TV shows, award shows, movies, music, celebrity gossip, and so much more.
Despite how popular entertainment betting has become, none of the local, state-licensed sportsbooks offer these kinds of odds as of September 2023. This is not a problem though for our audience because all of the betting sites featured in this guide cover entertainment odds with enthusiasm.
Legal Sports Betting Online - Which Offshore Sportsbooks are Legal for US Bettors?
Though gambling opponents and the state-licensed market attempt to paint offshore sportsbooks as illegal, this is not actually the case. There are no federal laws that prohibit US residents from enjoying online sports betting at sportsbooks operating legally outside of the United States. There is only one state that has made efforts to restrict online gambling across the board, that state being WA, though nothing is done to enforce this restriction.
There have been attempts made to restrict offshore betting, but International Trade Laws have thus far prevented any success in taking this option away from American sports bettors. Here is the legal status of the most popular and trusted international sports betting sites offering their services to US residents.
Best Sports Betting Apps That Are Legal For USA Gamblers
Mobile sports betting is quickly being elevated to the top of the food chain when it comes to sportsbook gambling. More bets are placed from mobile devices than computers or kiosks, and with few exceptions, mobile betting is outpacing in-person sports wagering as well.
If we're being honest, we'd all admit that we consider our smartphones and tablets to basically be an extension of ourselves, and we find it painful to be very far from our beloved mobile devices for any length of time. It is only natural that the sports betting operators worked hard to stay relevant for these technological advancements.
Domestic Mobile Sports Betting Apps
Multiple regions have launched state-regulated mobile betting options. In fact, there are even some states that have only launched mobile options with no retail sportsbooks. Some states only allow on-site mobile betting that requires you to be present within a geofenced property or general location, while others don't geofence, but require you to sign up in person at a retail location. The rules and options vary by state.
International Mobile Betting Apps
All of the sportsbooks we recommend on this website offer their own premium, web-based, mobile-optimized sports betting app. You can access these apps through any browser on your phone, and they are compatible with both Android sports betting and iPhone smartphones and tablets. Since they are web-based, they require no downloads, and your sportsbook account is always synched regardless of what device you are using.
Below are the US-friendly mobile sports betting apps that we ourselves use. Each member of our team actually has an account at all of these bookmakers so that we can shop the lines quickly for live betting. We have an entire section dedicated to legal mobile sports betting that provides more information.
States With Legal Sports Betting in 2023
Many states have already passed legislation that authorizes some form of state-licensed sports betting, including some combination of brick and mortar, mobile, and/or online wagering. Since the Supreme Court ruled PASPA as unconstitutional in May of 2018, the states on the map below are shown in dark red and light red have legalized sports gambling in some form, though not all have launched their sportsbooks yet.
In addition, none of the states in this map with the exception of Washington have any restrictions in place when it comes to sports betting at online sportsbooks operating legally outside of the US. This means that American sports fans in almost every state can enjoy online sports betting at the sportsbooks listed on this page without violating any state or federal gambling laws. If you want to know more about domestic gambling services see our guide to USA state gambling age and sportsbook revenue tracker to learn what options are available and how much money has been wagered to date.
We encourage you to visit our section about states that offer legal sports betting. We cover all 50 states, which laws are in play and which online betting sites can legally accept players from each specific jurisdiction. Keep in mind that each state has its own take on what this industry should look like, so there are states that have legalized sports betting but do not offer online wagering. There is one state, Tennessee, that has only legalized online and mobile betting. Our state pages will provide you with details on what every region is allowing and/or prohibiting.
Tracking 2023 Sports Betting Legislation By State
Since PASPA"s repeal, legislation to legalize domestic sports betting has literally been sweeping across the United States. Many states have already passed sports betting bills while others have pending legislation on the docket.
In order to keep up with this whirlwind of change taking place in the US sports betting market, we've created a State Sports Betting Bill Tracker page to monitor and provide updates in real-time for each state currently involved in the legislative process relevant to sports wagering. To use this page - you simply click on your state in the map and you'll have a view of current and recent legislative activity.
Why Legal Offshore Sportsbooks Are Still So Popular in 2023
Sports betting is definitely experiencing an uptick in popularity, and this means more and more bookmakers are welcoming US-based players to participate in real money wagering on current events such as sports, politics, movies, music, and more. Even though many states have launched legal domestic betting options, in many cases they still can't compete with the more experienced offshore sportsbooks.
Technological advancements have made it possible to experience secure, high-quality sports betting action online using computers and mobile devices. Here are a few reasons international online sportsbooks have been able to maintain tremendous momentum among USA bettors:
Convenience: A Driving Force For Online Sports Betting
Convenience is certainly an important factor in online betting popularity. Multiple states have launched online sports betting options, but in some cases, bettors must be within a specific proximity to a retail sportsbook location in order to participate and are required to create an account in person.
Technology provides the opportunity for sports events to be broadcast on a global scale, ensuring more of the world's population is engaged and certainly makes live-in-play betting even more popular.
Offshore sportsbooks facilitate live betting on your PC, laptop, or mobile device. These advancements have expanded the sports betting market to most corners of the world. In addition, online sportsbooks also offer inviting sports betting bonus offers and promotions that sweeten the deal quite a bit.
What We're Here to Do for U.S. Sports Gamblers
Our primary goal here at sports betting.legal is to offer a comprehensive and up to date guide about betting on sports legally throughout the world. Currently, we have a focus on helping bettors in the United States since it's one of the most confusing markets from a legal perspective.
Sports betting is not a zero-sum game. The more people who bet, the more money there is to be won! So we want you to find the best and most reliable online sportsbooks with which to bet. It works out better for everyone that way.
We're going to direct you to the leading and most trusted online sportsbooks that are operating legally within the industry after we've thoroughly vetted them from head to toe. We look at reputation, credentials, security, sportsbook funding options, who the fastest paying sportsbooks are, betting lines and options, software used, how each book establishes its lines, and so much more.
When we find a quality sportsbook for you, we'll offer our recommendation along with a detailed sportsbook review. We hope that through our efforts you find what you need to make informed decisions that coincide with your needs and preferences when it comes to betting entertainment. It's that simple.
In addition to offering our expert knowledge of online sportsbooks, we have created how-to guides to assist you in making informed sports betting decisions and learning how to enjoy online sports betting. Some of our best guides include how to calculate betting odds, how to shop sportsbook betting odds, and how to buy cryptocurrency with the Atomic wallet to fund an online sportsbook account. We also offer recreational reading guides like our Sports Betting Hall of Fame list of today's top sports bettors and why their bets are important.
Legal Sports Betting By Country
Along with monitoring the status of domestic and offshore sports betting in the United States, we also closely watch the growth of betting markets on a global scale. As we compile our resources for each relevant country, the list below will be updated to show our progress.