Sports betting is one of the oldest and most popular forms of gambling across the world and has a long history stretching back to early colonialism in the United States of America. It is therefore somewhat confusing that sports betting was only legal in Nevada prior to May 2018.

In that month the Supreme Court voted to lift the Federal ban on sports betting in the country, allowing individual states to decide their own destiny when it comes to the legalization of sports betting.

Since the lifting of the ban, many states have decided to legalize sports betting with just 8 states expected to maintain the ban by the end of 2020. However, the laws surrounding online sports betting remain obscure and hazy.

In this article, you will find an overview of the current laws surrounding online sports betting in the United States along with a guide on what bets can be placed and how you can make the most out of America’s top online betting sites.

Online Sports Betting Laws

As mentioned in the introduction to this article, sports betting will be legal in the vast majority of American states by the end of 2020. However, there are currently no plans by the American government to legalize online gambling across the board.

As such the state of online gambling differs greatly on a state by state basis. At the time of writing New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada are the three states with the broadest legalization of all forms of gambling.

You can get a quick overview on this page of up-to-date laws on a state by state basis when you’re searching for online sports betting sites in the USA. 

Why Is Online Gambling Not Legal Across America?

Gambling has always been an area of contention in the United States, dating back to the arrival of the puritanical Pilgrim Fathers on American shores. These early European settlers took a very dim view toward gambling, alcohol and all other activities that they deemed as immoral.

However, in recent years and decades, the argument against gambling has taken on more of a political and financial front. Of course, those who are against online gambling still cite moral objections as to their main reason for opposition.

Yet one of the most vocal critics of online gambling is Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. The Las Vegas Sands CEO crusade against online gambling apparently comes from a deep-seated fear of its detrimental impact on society.


(Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson is seemingly troubled about the moral implications of online gambling…)

Reading between the lines it is clear that Adelson views online gambling as a threat to the profits of his land-based casino and sports betting interests. Adelson’s substantial financial backing of President Donald Trump seems to have done enough to dissuade the government from continuing the work of Barack Obama towards the Federal legalization of online gambling.

Therefore under the current administration, it is unlikely that online gambling will be legalized on a national basis and will continue to fall under the purview of individual states.

How Do I Maximise Sports Betting?

Away from the nitty-gritty of online gambling legislation and the hidden politics of the White House, you may be wondering how to get the most out of sports betting either in a state where it is legal online or in one where it is only legal in land-based establishments.

In order to boost your chances of making profits, you first need to understand what type of bet best suits your knowledge or interests. Below are the three most common sports bets placed and how you can take advantage of them.


It doesn’t matter if its football, basketball or soccer that’s your thing, by far the most popular sports bet is outright. Most bets of this nature are placed on the final winner of a particular competition and are therefore speculative and open to catastrophe.

In August you may have been confident that the New England Patriots would win yet another Superbowl. However, in a few months’ time there could be injuries or drops in form that render your outright bet all but null and void.

Therefore it’s safer to bet on an outright that isn’t too far ahead in the future. You’re more likely to win a sports bet when you’re equipped with up-to-date knowledge of stats, form, injuries and suspensions, so make sure you restrict your bets to games in the near future.


(Sometimes a speculative outright bet can result in a big win, as it did for a number of people when Leicester City – who were 5,000-1 outsiders – won the Premier League in 2016.)


The problem with betting on upcoming outrights is that your odds will drop significantly as you can effectively be betting on the outcome of a two-horse race. That’s why many punters take the decision to accumulate their bets and bet on multiple outcomes.

With accumulator bets, it is important to not get carried away and flood your selection with too many matches. If for example soccer is your thing and you’re thinking of placing an accumulator on the next round of Premier League fixtures, it may be tempting to bet on all 10 games.

However, your chances of correctly predicting the outcome of all 10 games are incredibly low. Therefore it’s best to pick out three or perhaps four favourites and combine those bets into an accumulator. 

The odds on Manchester City beating Watford may be low, but if you combine them with wins for Liverpool and Arsenal then the odds will jump, allowing you to win a bit more money from a seemingly safe bet.

Event Betting

In-play betting is a huge market now, particularly in Asia where it forms the vast majority of most bets placed. Any good online sports betting site will allow you to bet on a whole host of in-game scenarios from goals/points scored to fouls made and catches taken.

Accumulator bets are your best way to success with in-game betting if you make your choices wisely. Avoid tempting offers on things like first point scorer or total points/goals scored in the game.

Instead, focus on things like the number of fouls awarded and fumbles, always picking low odd outcomes and combining them to boost your overall winnings.