Recent reports have shown that March Madness this 2021 is bringing in the most online bets ever in history. This has been in the works for a long time, with a variety of legislators and companies that have fought for the legalization of sports betting around the country. In the United States, it is currently legal to place bets on sports in more than two dozen states, although only half of those allow online betting. Due to the recent uptick in individuals choosing to place bets online, you can expect that list to get longer. There are also at least five states with bills currently on the table to allow online betting. Here’s a breakdown of where you can legally place sports bets online. 

After the federal ban on internet gambling was lifted in 2018, many states have fought to allow regulated sportsbooks. Every year, more states have bills on their legislative agenda regarding gambling – which is a good sign! The current legal situation allows 10 states to offer legal online sports betting. Many states have also been affected by the economic downturn due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, and have resigned to pass gambling bills as a way to make up for lost tax income. Most recently, a bill to legalize online sports betting passed its final read in Wyoming, and should it be approved it would add Wyoming to the below list of the states currently allowing sports bets online:

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

One thing to remember is that each state has its own laws regarding gambling. Some states have approved a multitude of online casinos while others have only allowed a few brands to operate in that area. Tax laws on income from sports bets are also based on locality and should be considered.

As each state is so different, there are significant differences in each bill. With the current legal situation, you can expect different groups, territories, and regulations in each state. Here are the states that are likely to legalize this 2021-2022 year. 

  • Arizona – Officials have touched on proposals before but are looking for the best way to allow tribes and tribal lands to legalize online gambling before finalizing the bill.
  • Connecticut – Have had several proposals since 2018 but have not accepted any, however local politicians have recently pushed the issue, and it looks like there will be a vote this year.
  • Florida – Gambling may end up on a ballot as a referendum issue, as lawmakers have come out in support of the idea but have been held back by a constitutional amendment that prohibits lawmakers from passing gaming legislation without a voter referendum. The state is also working to strike a deal with the Seminole tribe, who are the state’s largest casino proprietors and any gambling law would have to work out the logistics of taking this local casino online. Predictions show that gambling may be legalized, but online gambling may take longer to pass. 
  • Georgia – Last year there was a bill that failed to pass, but there is a new bill under consideration. However, the state’s conservative governor Brian Kemp has threatened to veto any gambling bills.
  • Kansas – Was supposed to pass last year but was held up due to the pandemic. 
  • Kentucky – Has a bill under consideration but the state’s conservative leadership have stalled the vote. 
  • Maine – A past bill “fell short” but the governor is working with legislators on a new bill this season. 
  • Missouri – Sports betting was on the table last year but stalled by the pandemic. This state currently has three bills on the floor and legalization is likely imminent. 

There are many other states that have brought up the idea of legalizing gambling but have yet to take serious action. Legalization is complicated in the United States not just because states set their own laws, but because prior to the popularization of internet gambling, only tribal grounds across states were able to operate casinos. Most states’ largest casinos belong to indigenous groups and deals must be struck between the state and indigenous leaders. College sports is another huge market in the country and state leaders must decide whether to include these teams or allow only professional leagues into the betting market (Massachusetts and Ohio are both stalled on this issue). 

As the United States figures out its legal issues when it comes to sports betting, you can expect that more states will vote to legalize in the next few years.