Sports Betting Q&A
Frequently asked questions about sports betting

When was sports betting legalized?

Last Updated: Feb 9, 2021
Fact Checked By: Adam Zdroik

Sports betting was allowed to be legalized at a state level in 2018 after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was struck down.

Passed in 1992, PASPA banned sports betting for all but four states. Delaware, Montana and Oregon were allowed to have ongoing sports lotteries, while Nevada had licensed sports pools. The lone state to take advantage of legalized sports betting was Nevada, which has grown into a powerhouse and destination for sports bettors across the country.

Since PASPA was overturned, numerous states have legalized sports betting and many more have legislation in the works.

As of 2021, there are 21 states (and Washington D.C.) that have legalized sports betting, and more are set to pass bills in the coming years.


Sports betting in Arkansas was legalized in 2018 and officially launched 2019, though it can only be done at physical sportsbooks.


Colorado legalized sports betting late 2019 and officially launched May 2020 amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. 


Delaware was the first state to legalize sports betting following the repeal of PASPA in 2018. Of note, wagering is only allowed at physical sportsbooks, though the hope for residents is that online betting is eventually allowed late 2020 or early 2021.


Illinois passed sports betting legislature June 2019 and launched at physical sportsbooks March 2020. Online betting also became legal in June 2020.


Indiana legalized sports betting in 2019 and launched shortly after in October of that year. With sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel leading the way, online betting was immediately available at launch.


Iowa began taking sports bets August 2019 in all capacities and starting 2021, bettors didn't have to register in person in order to make bets.


Michigan passed legislation to allow sports betting in December 2019 and the first physical sportsbooks opened March 2020, while online sports betting launched January 2021.


Sports betting in Mississippi officially launched August 2018, though online wagering can only be done on the premises of casinos.


Montana legalized sports betting in 2019 and it officially launched March 2020 through the state lottery. Betting can be done at licensed bars and restaurants, but mobile betting doesn't work outside of those locations.


Nevada was the lone state that operated sportsbooks throughout PASPA and while that's the case, the process isn't as easy as one would think to bet online. In order to bet using an app, you have to set up an account in person, filling out a players club card in the process.

New Hampshire

Sports betting was legalized in New Hampshire in 2019 and launched online through DraftKings Sportsbook. While physical sports betting has yet to happen, that should change late 2020 or at some point in 2021.

New Jersey

New Jersey was one of the first states to legalize sports betting after helping repeal PASPA in 2018. Since launch, the state has allowed mobile and in-person betting.

New Mexico

There is no bill that passed sports betting in New Mexico, but due to a 2015 gaming compact, wagering can be done at four tribal casinos and not online.

New York

Sports betting officially launched in New York in July 2019 and and while online betting is not yet legal, legislation is in the works and could be ready by 2021.

North Carolina

While North Carolina legalized wagering in 2019, betting had not launched as of spring 2020. That said, two sportsbooks are expected to open by the fall and online betting could be an option by 2021 if bills get passed.


Oregon hasn't passed a sports betting bill, but it was grandfathered in after being exempted from PASPA. Sports betting has been offered by the state lottery since 2018 and regulations are in the works to add more physical sportsbooks. As of 2020, in-person betting was only possible at one casino.


Pennsylvania officially launched full-fledged sports betting in 2019 with mobile wagering included.

Rhode Island

Sports betting opened in Rhode Island in 2018 and has since passed a couple more bills to grow the business, including online methods. Betting is allowed at two casinos and online wagering is offered through the state lottery.


Sports betting was legalized in 2019 and launched in 2020. Since it has no casinos, Tennessee is the only state that has online-only sports betting.


Sports betting laws went into effect July 2020, but residents weren't able to make their first bets until January 2021.


Washington became the 21st state to legalize sports betting March 25, 2020. That being the case, a launch date has yet to be announced amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

Washington D.C.

D.C. passed a bill in 2019, but as of spring 2020, had not yet launched. As a positive, a mobile lottery app is expected to launch ahead of the fall football season.

West Virginia

West Virginia launched sports betting in the fall of 2019 and while the process was long, it's growing by the day. Betting is possible at five physical sportsbooks and numerous online outlets.

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