Is It Possible to Legally Bet on Sports Online in the US?

Is It Possible to Legally Bet on Sports Online in the US?
  • Is it possible to legally bet on sports online in the US?.
  • See which US State allow legal sports betting online. 
  • We list the best online sportsbooks that allow online betting for US players.

US Players Welcome, Sportsbooks

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The legality of online sports betting has been a hot topic for decades now.

Taking into account underage gambling and the dangers of gambling in general have forced many countries to take a harsh stance on the topic and introduce laws that prohibit it.

Some are open to the idea and enjoy all the benefits of the booming industry, but those are just rare examples.

In most countries including the USA online sports you can place a bet online via offshore betting sites, but not on a sports betting site located in the USA.

This makes sports betting legal in the USA, but it’s not that simple. It is illegal to bet online but you shouldn’t fear repercussions if you wager online on your favorite sports.

However, it’s a huge business so the legal landscape on online sports betting is ever-changing.

Legal challenges are never-ending on this topic in the USA but considering the billions of annual revenue sports betting sites make, more and more states are open to the idea of legalizing it.

Is Sports Betting in the USA Legal or Illegal?

On a federal level, there’s no law against betting online.

However, you can’t legally bet on sports on a site based in the USA.

There’s almost a 0% chance of legal reprimand if you bet on foreign sports betting sites.

The only case recorded where someone got into trouble for the same was in 2003 when a North Dakota man paid a meager $500 fine on winnings of over $100,000.

For such a win, $500 is a tiny sum to pay in fines.

You can bet completely legally on sports betting sites located outside of the USA. As a bettor, you only need to be aware of the risks of not playing on US soil, but you most likely won’t ever get in trouble.

Operating a betting site in the USA is even more complex. Online gambling sites are not allowed to offer sports betting in the USA – only poker and casino wagers are accepted.

Bets over the phone are also prohibited just like online gambling ads.

Even major companies such as Google and Microsoft have been fined in the past for accepting online gambling ads, although there were no criminal charges in the case.

As you can see, the legality of online betting is much more complex for operators than it is for bettors.

In 1992, the US legal system introduced PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) that effectively banned sports betting across the nation.

There were only 3 states exempt from it – Oregon, Montana, and Delaware.

In these three states, sports betting was legal but in a limited form.

For example, Delaware allowed only NFL parlays and nothing else.

Well-known gambling destinations such as New Jersey were given a one-year exemption in order to introduce new gambling laws in all Atlantic City casinos.

However, legal challenges caused a serious mess and problems with PASPA.

After a long legal battle, the act was voted unconstitutional in 2017, leaving the door open to new NJ online sports betting laws.

At the moment, the federal law makes it clear that taking bets or wagers is illegal, but there’s no prohibition against gambling online.

All US states are free to introduce laws on their own and set their own rules to legally bet on sports.

Where is Online Betting Legal in the USA?

See which States you can legally bet on sports below.

New Jersey

New Jersey is a major gambling destination in the USA. It’s the second biggest gambling market after Nevada (Las Vegas) and the first state to legalize sports betting a month after PASPA fell.

DraftKings went online in August 2018 and was followed by several other NJ online sports betting sites.

The number of sports betting apps coming from New Jersey is constantly on the rise and it doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon.

Americans love to bet on sports online and if you ask us, New Jersey sports betting sites are among the best.


After a lengthy legal battle, online sports betting is finally legal in Pennsylvania.

Thanks to this, you can now place without leaving your home. Over a dozen sports betting apps are live in Pennsylvania allowing you to bet on NBA, MLS, NFL, and NHL matches among many other sports.

The Pennsylvania law only allows bettors over the age of 21 and physically located in PA to bet on sports online.

Licensed to offer sports betting in PA cost just over $10 million, which is the steepest fee in the USA. Also, the effective tax revenue rate is at 36%, so it’s not exactly ideal for operators.

However, with the interest in online sports betting on the rise, we’re sure Pennsylvania’s operators will do fine.


The world capital of gambling already had sports betting laws in place way before PASPA fell.

To bet online in the state of Nevada, you must first be a member of a land-based casino.

You must also fund your account with at least $50 and verify your account to be able to place bets online.

Once the site verifies your location as Nevada, you’re free to bet on anything you like.


Iowa is one of the 8 states to legalize online sports betting. It did so quite later than the rest – the first sportsbooks online went live in mid-2019.

Alongside Illinois, the state requires you to sign-up with a casino first for the first 1.5 years.

More and more options to legally bet on sports are expected to hit the market soon, allowing Iowa bettors to enjoy sports betting to the max.


One of the latest states to legalize online sports betting, there are already more than a dozen Indiana casinos that offer also offer betting on all the major American sports.

Sports betting in this state went online in October this year and already experienced over a 60% rise in November.

West Virginia

Online sports betting went live in West Virginia before the start of the 2019 NFL season.

There are only a few operators live at the moment where you can legally bet on sports with another one available at a private resort.

Although mobile betting in the state is available since late 2018, the only mobile betting app is down because of a dispute between technology providers.

Which Other States Have Legalized Online Sports Betting?

Sports betting in the USA is legal in Rhode Island, Oregon, New Hampshire, Illinois, and Tennessee, where only sports betting is available in the state.

Other states are also interested in legislation that will legalize online betting since interest has gone sky high.

New York and Michigan are expected to join the list soon as is Arkansas where sports betting was approved via a referendum.

Andy nelson owner of

Andy Nelson

Andy has been writing and posting about offshore sportsbooks for over 15 years. He's also an active sportsbook bonus seeker and seasoned online gambler on US sports.

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