Sports Betting Law Breakdown

Now that most of the state lawmakers are done for the year, let's take a look back at where we're at:

  • 1 year since the first legal sports bet outside of Nevada was placed In New Jersey
  • 8 states where legal sports betting is available now
  • 9 states + DC passed bills and are working on going live
  • 1 in 5 people in the US  will be able to place legal sports bets in their home state in the near future
  • 9 billion dollars in legal sports bets made in 2019 through April

Consistency is key. It's one thing that's missing as state laws bubble out. It's easy to get lost or confused. Don't worry, BETMAPS has your back. Introducing the BETMAPS legal breakdown. A categoric, systematic way of tracking these laws. Let's jump right in.

Casino Sportsbooks, Online Sportsbooks, and Retail Sportsbooks
For our first breakdown, let's take a look at the different sportsbooks allowed in different states. Casino Sportsbook states allow sports betting in casinos and/or racetracks and off-track-betting venues. New Jersey and New York are examples of this. Online Sportsbook states allow betting online through mobile apps. Tennessee is an extreme example of an online sportsbook state; the only form of betting will be online. Many states allow a combo of online and casino sports betting. The third, and in our opinion the most exciting, is states/districts that allow betting at Retail Sportsbooks such as sports bars, stadiums, ballparks, taverns, restaurants, and even convenience stores and gas stations. See DC for this.

Online Sportsbooks: Onsite Registration vs Online Registration
When it comes to online sports betting, some states don't allow it at all, eg, Mississippi and New York. Some only allow online sports betting, see Tennessee. The rest fall somewhere in the middle.

Several states make online betting sites affiliate with a licensed, physical location. They require Onsite Registration before you can begin using an online service. New Jersey is again an example of this. Illinois is as well, at least for the next 18 months.

Other states like New Hampshire appear to allow Online Registration at sites without the physical location signup. Note that bills in these states haven't been signed into law yet, and don't have rules drafted. Things could change.

A final tier, which only loosely counts as online betting, includes places that allow mobile betting only when inside a physical, licensed location. DC will be an example of this.

Full-Retail Sportsbooks and Parlay-Only Retail
One of the most exciting things on the sports betting landscape is the chance to bet at your favorite sports bar, or even at stadiums and ballparks. There are two types of retail sportsbook laws we have seen so far.

Full-Retail Sportsbook states allow all sorts of bets at sports bars and other locations. These can be done through kiosks, tellers, or mobile applications affiliated with the venue. Montana, DC, and Oregon will be examples of this.

Parlay-Only Retail are more restrictive, allowing only parlay bets on football games or potentially other sports. Delaware has been allowing parlay bets on football since 2009, so nothing new there. It looks like Illinois will also be following this model initially, although it's not clear what sports they will allow parlay bets on.

NCAA Madness
Good questions to ask when sports betting rolls out in your state are "what NCAA games can you bet on" and "what bets can you make". It appears that, so far, states are allowing some form of betting on NCAA games. However, the NCAA hasn't been exactly welcoming to sports betting. They only recently withdrew a rule that banned championship games in states with legal sports betting. It's logical that they are nervous after examples of cheating in the past. For example, a point-shaving scandal at a certain school (and BETMAPS founders' alma mater) rocked the NCAA about 25 years ago.

Regardless, some states will allow Full NCAA betting. Others only allow betting on Out-of-State NCAA teams and/or NCAA games. Finally, NCAA Prop Bets Not Allowed states won't allow prop and mid-game betting on NCAA games.

Lottery or Not
Whether the state lottery is involved and to what extent is another place where state laws vary. For example, in some states such as Oregon, sports betting will be Lottery Run through a single lottery vendor. Other states allow Private/Tribal Run sports betting, with either oversight by the state lottery or by a separate gaming commission. This seems to be a factor in what states allow retail betting, because many retail locations are already selling lottery tickets. But not always. Look at DC or even Nevada for that matter. Both allow private enterprise to run sportsbooks at retail sites, with oversight by the state.

What's Next?
Check the BETMAPS Legal Tracker to see what's up with sports betting in your state. We would love to see more states pass laws this year and next. Inclusion of bars and other retail, in addition to casinos and online sportsbooks, will keep things fun and exciting. We look forward to what the future brings.

At BETMAPS we believe that—to enhance the sporting experience—sports betting should be a fun and social activity that generally occurs in public. It should be regulated, but not impossible to do. Unnecessary government limitations on free enterprise only stifle that experience. Government focus should be on preventing cheating and unlawful gambling while also helping to curb addiction.

Continue to check back with BETMAPS for the latest on sports betting laws. Watch for our app, a social sportsbook directory, this September! If you enjoyed this post, follow us on social media and sign up for our launch updates below.

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