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States in the USA Having Different Gambling Laws

October 26, 2020

USA gambling laws

The United States is a group of 50 states with individual state laws that are also united under the banner of federal laws. As a result, it’s therefore important to review where each state stands on gambling laws. On May 14 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in the case of Murphy v National Collegiate Athletic Association. This decision effectively ended the federal ban on all sports betting outside of Nevada and Atlantic City.

This decision has caused the biggest shift in the gambling focus and resulted in a scramble, as each state issued legislation regarding this issue. We’ll review the sports betting changes in this article, as it has caused the biggest change in both the physical and online gambling world. Additionally, it provided an ever-changing environment in the legal sense.

The shift in gambling from only Nevada and Atlantic City opened up the entire industry to even the unlikeliest gamblers. Although fantasy football leagues were illegal, they were widely accepted and poorly regulated.

Individual State Review

We’ll quickly review all 50 States to understand the laws and current statutory implications. Lawmakers continue to rush to pass effective legislation to regulate the newly legal sports betting industry.

We won’t go into details regarding each of the states and the different excerpts that exist, but merely to identify the legal position of sports betting. The 2018 legislation provided an opportunity for those avid fans to place a wager on their favourite sports teams from their homes. Incentives such as the mybookie promo code were introduced to entice players to wager by giving them a free betting amount upon signing up. Below are each of the states in alphabetical order:

Alabama - Illegal, but a proposed bill was introduced which would enable limited forms of sports betting.
Alaska - Illegal, but the state legislature has agreed to put it under consideration.
Arizona - Legal.
Arkansas - Legal.
California - Illegal. The legislature is considering constitutional amendments as well as new legislation that will see sports betting legal.
Colorado - Legal.
Connecticut - Legal.
Delaware - Legal.
Florida - Although, under Governor Dos Santos, sports betting has been approved during 2021, it has yet to be officially launched due to several reasons, including Covid-19.
Georgia - Illegal. Although numerous bills have been proposed, none has been successfully adopted.
Hawaii - Illegal. The legislature has introduced bills that would create a way for sports betting to be legal and oversight provided.
Idaho - Illegal.
Illinois - Legal.
Indiana - Legal.
Iowa - Legal.
Kansas - Illegal. Numerous legislation has been put to the house by the various gambling lobbyists, but none has been successful, with the last one in 2021.
Kentucky - Illegal. The legislature is currently working on a proposed bill. Louisiana.
Maine - Illegal. A few pieces of legislation made it through the legislature only to be vetoed by the governor, which will be tabled again shortly with most likely different results.
Maryland - Legal.
Massachusetts - Illegal. Massachusetts has several legalised betting that permits the placement of wagers on sports with several limitations. Many pieces of legislation are making their way through the legislature and should be approved.
Michigan - Legal.
Minnesota - Illegal. A bill that was introduced didn’t pass during the last house session.
Mississippi - Legal.
Missouri - Illegal. There are several bills introduced which should be successful and see sports betting fully legal in this State.
Montana - Legal.
Nebraska - Legal.
Nevada - Legal.
New Hampshire - Legal.
New Jersey - Legal.
New Mexico - Legal. There are currently legal sportsbooks registered out of New Mexico. The state laws don’t say anything explicit to prohibit sports betting in any shape. However, no expressed approval has been provided as well.
New York - Legal.
North Carolina - Legal.
North Dakota - Illegal. There isn't a promising future for successful legislation as there was an overwhelming majority to reject the last bill proposed, which would provide an avenue to legalise sports betting.
Ohio - Illegal. A piece of legislation is currently making its way through the legislature with a successful outcome expected.
Oklahoma - Legal.
Oregon - Legal.
Pennsylvania - Legal.
Rhode Island - Legal.
South Carolina - Illegal with a promising piece of legislation proposed.
South Dakota - Legal.
Tennessee - Legal.
Texas - Illegal.
Utah - Illegal.
Vermont - Illegal. There has been a well-received bill that was proposed
Virginia - Legal.
Washington - Legal.
Washington D.C - Legal.
West Virginia - Legal.
Wisconsin - Legal. There are strict limitations to the legal status, but one can place a wager.
Wyoming - Legal.


In the United States, as in most countries, there are a number of other forms of gambling available. They’re highly restricted and can only occur in very designated areas. Casino gambling is easy to review and regulate.

It’s important to note that only the District of Columbia penalises patrons with a felony for forms of simple gambling that they participate in. The rest of the states see fit only for a misdemeanour penalty.

There are several different variations for each of the 50 States with regards to the gambling laws. It’s recommended to verify with a lawyer if you want to participate in other forms of gambling as they may be illegal in the state you’re located in. The specifications are different in terms of the amounts that patrons can gamble as well as how they can place their wager.

There are many forms of brick and mortar gambling that have been in existence for a while. These are usually governed by the simple check of whether it's a game of chance or skills. Even if it's a combination of both, the regulators usually balance the two to see which of the two are dominant. This balancing act loosely forms the criteria they use for determining whether a form of gambling should be permitted and which body should regulate it.

Bear in Mind

It’s clear from the excerpt that I have taken, that the states positions regarding sports betting since the landmark Supreme Court judgement vary. The ease of online sports betting has exploded the industry and brought millions of new players. It’s the trend of the future and will soon dominate all forms of gambling. It’s expected that within the next few years, most of the states, with the exception of Utah, will have some form of legalised online and retail sports betting

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