Legal Sports Betting Continues Growth Across The U.S.

The widespread view of sports wagering as a questionable or illegal activity that corrupts the integrity of sporting events has changed considerably in the last year and a half.

The Supreme Court of the United States repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in May 2018, paving the way for individual states to decide whether to allow betting on pro and college sports.

Hanging on the high court’s decision, public opinion did a complete turn-around. Surveys now show up to 80 percent of U.S. citizens support legalizing sports betting.

History of PASPA

PASPA banned U.S. states from legalizing any type of sports wagering, with the exception of four states – Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana – where sports betting legislation had already been passed.

Except for Nevada, the other states bowed to the pressure and stopped offering sports betting. 

Oregon Lottery offered a parlay-style sports betting ticket until 2007, but discontinued the game after the NCAA threatened to blackball the state from hosting future March Madness basketball tournaments.

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) recently said that he originally wrote PASPA legislation to “insulate athletic organizations from the corrupting influences of sports gambling.”

The State of New Jersey began challenging anti-sports betting legislation eight years before its efforts finally resulted in the SCOTUS decision to overturn PASPA legislation.

Garden State residents first voted to amend the state’s constitution to allow sports betting, then appointed a regulatory group. At one point, the state was so close to opening sportsbooks, the NFL and NCAA, among other leagues, filed a lawsuit to block the state’s plans. 

New Jersey kept at it, submitting draft after draft, challenging PASPA one loophole at a time, until it finally reached the Supreme Court, which ruled that restricting sports betting to one state – Nevada – was unconstitutional.

What States Allow Sports Wagering?

As of November 1, 2019, 13 states have licensed operators to offer legal sports betting in some form. Despite New Jersey’s legislation in advance of PASPA repeal, Delaware was the first state to offer sports betting outside of Nevada. Garden State sportsbooks began to open shortly afterwards.

Indiana is the latest state to launch regulated sports wagering, opening retail sportsbooks in September. The other states where bettors can wager on sports include Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Arkansas, New York, Iowa and Oregon.

If you want to know more info, head on over to for a complete list of legal Sportsbooks operating across the states.

Legal Sports Betting Advantages for U.S. States

The most cited advantage for states with a regulated sports betting market is tax revenue and licensing fees.

What those numbers mean to each state is different. States tax sports gambling revenue at different rates, from 6.75 percent in Nevada to 51 percent in Rhode Island.

States also collect money for operator licensing fees at varying rates, ranging from $2,000 a year in Nevada and Mississippi to $100,000 every five years in West Virginia. In Pennsylvania, sports betting operators pay a one-time license fee of $10 million. 

Benefits of Not Using Offshore Books

An estimated $150 billion is wagered annually in a gray market controlled by bookies and legal offshore sportsbooks, according to the American Gaming Association.

Since PASPA and UIGEA pushed U.S. bettors outside of Nevada to offshore sportsbooks, that handle represents lost revenue for U.S. states.

Offshore books use funding sources that are not FDIC insured. The offshore market is unregulated in the U.S. and is subject to the laws of other nations. 

Some offshore sportsbooks are reputable, but many are not, leaving many a U.S. bettor with no recourse when things go wrong.