Placing a wager in the United States is already legal and 13 states – as of March 2024 – have joined Nevada in offering some of the best betting opportunities since PASPA was struck down in 2018. This brings up the question, which are the legal online sports betting options that are worth your while and why?
With a freshly warded off threat from the DOJ’s Wire Act Opinion, American bettors are safer than ever, and the expansion of the industry is going at full force. In August 2019, Iowa and Indiana launched their betting industries for business, and a few months before that, Pennsylvania introduced its own betting product.
Our list of hand-picked sportsbook will help you place a wager legally at a trusted bookmaker, wherever in the USA you are.
Here are our top legal online sports betting sites for players in 2024:
Top Legal Sports Betting Sites
- Very generous bonus payment system
- Bonus codes for every major event
- Mobile compatible and accessible
Finding the Best Legal Online Sports Betting Sites
Establishing what a trusted and legal online sports betting authority is, shouldn’t be too difficult. All such companies have been given an official license – either from a state or a national body, or an international organization that specializes in issuing remote licenses and is recognized in multiple jurisdictions. Therefore, finding the best legal online sports betting sites shouldn’t take long. In some cases, a license is not available, as the website has years of reputation that can be proven and it has established trust with a large base of sports betting enthusiasts and fans.
Depending on where you are in the world, you will usually have access to a variety of sports betting operators – some familiar because of their brand name, others prominent for having teamed up with advanced suppliers, such as Kindred, Genius Sports, Scientific Games and so forth.
List of U.S. States Allowing Sports Betting:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
States Pending Sports Betting Launch:
- North Carolina
- Washington, D. C.
Legislative Changes in U.S. Sports Betting: Bills & Updates
In May 2018, sports betting in the United States became legal, subject to state regulation as opposed to a federal ban before the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was finally overturned.
Since the ban was voted against in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and struck down as a result, 20 states have passed bills to or have outright legalized their industries.
Since 2018, multiple states have launched legal sports betting. Delaware and New Jersey were the first to set up a sports betting shop, followed by Mississippi and West Virginia in August. New Mexico followed suite in October along with Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in November.
This summed up the year in sports betting launches, with new states opening for business in July, 2019, and specifically Arkansas and New York. Iowa launched in August along with Oregon and finally, Indiana set itself up in September, 2019.
Multiple states are pending a release date, with Michigan’s Senate passing a bill in mid-December 2019 approving a sports betting framework.
We have tracked all available sports betting bills which have led to the legalization and enactment of sports betting across different states in the U.S.
|A sports betting bill signed into law by Gov. Jared Polish.
|Gov. Eric Holcomb approved H 1015 and legalized sports betting in Indiana.
|The sports betting bill legalizing the industry in Iowa.
|The amended Senate Bill garnering support for sports betting in Illinois.
|A bill addressing daily fantasy sports to pass and legalize sports betting in Mississippi.
|House Bill 725 led to the legalization of sports betting after Gov. Steve Bullock signed the legislation.
|A bill to create the sports betting act and the necessary requirements thereafter.
|Sports betting bill legalizing the industry in New Jersey.
|A bill to regulate retail and mobile sports betting in New York state.
|Gov. Roy Cooper has signed S 154 into law, allowing sports betting regulation in North Carolina.
|Gov. Tom Wolf signs H 519 into law to regulate sports betting in Pennsylvania.
|A bill supporting RI to conduct sports wagering hosted by Twin River and Tiverton Gaming Facility.
|A bill introducing the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act.
|Washington, D. C.
|The West Virginia bill legalizing sports betting and providing a legal framework for conducting sports wagering.
Legal Online Sports Betting Websites Check List
Before you entrust even a single operator with your private details, you need to make sure that they are legal. In 2019 and beyond, verifying the legality of a sportsbook is no problem at all. First, you need to look for a license.
A license is very easy to spot. All websites will display it in their footer. That’s the fine script for you, and apart from a neat badge that displays the licensing institution logo, you should also look for who the issuer and receiver is.
Most companies’ legal names won’t be their sportsbook brands and vice versa. The best way to verify a license is to copy the displayed ID and run it at the issuer’s website. To put things in perspective, you should check a UK license at the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) online portal and for New Jersey, you will have to refer to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE).
A query will immediately return automatic information about whether a license is active. Some registers would allow you to see if a sportsbook has been fined or/and how recently they have obtained their license. As to the rest of the sportsbooks that do not necessarily have a license, you will need to go based on reputation alone. Those sportsbooks have a very real interest in coming across as upstanding members of the sports betting world, and it’s unlikely that they would commit anything that would endager their reputation.
Security, SSL Encryption, and Payment Options
Consider these the pillars on which each sportsbook. Any online sportsbook should focus on creating an environment that protects the customer’s interest – whether this is any type of identifiable data or banking information, you can rest assured that the established brands won’t seek to harm you in any way.
SSL encryption is the way operators secure your money. This type of security mechanism is widely recognized as the absolute basis of creating a foundation of trust between visitors and a website. On top of everything else, you can recognize a good sportsbook by virtue of their payment methods selection.
Most companies focus on running a number of payment options, including established bank cards, e-wallets, direct bank transfers, and even cryptocurrencies. Although, buyer be warned: cryptocurrencies aren’t necessarily a preferred payment method among legal online sports betting sites, specifically in the United States.
Customer Support & Interface
When it boils down to the user experience, you can certainly expect more from a licensed casino operator. For the most part their customer support is based in the same time zone, which makes it easier to get hold of the agents.
So far as the user experience goes, the interface is usually better and the website itself is intuitive and compatible with a range of devices and operating systems.
Don’t Forget to Check the Juice
Juice or vigorish are terms used interchangeably which signify the small fee that sports betting operators charge from customers. That’s how most companies make profit and it is one of the binding tenets of all legal online sports betting. This rate fluctuates from one betting operator to the next, but often by not so much often at all – an average rate is 2%. Anything up to 2.60% is quite normal.
Yet, depending on the market you are playing in this could be a bit on the low side or a bit on the high side. Judge a sportsbook based on the specifics of your own market.
Reputation: Form Your Own Opinion
One thing that all legal sports betting sites – big or small – strive towards is to make sure that they have an impeccable reputation. It’s important to understand that things aren’t black and white and for the most part – to draw a proper conclusion for yourself – you will need to study other opinions.
The general consensus is that a licensed operator can be trusted, but this rule seems to be more applicable in certain markets. The United States, surprisingly late to the party, has some of the strictest consumer safety practices.
In Europe, they are replicated just in places like Sweden and Denmark, with the United Kingdom now enacting sweeping changes to tighten the corkscrews of better player protection. Reputation therefore is not something that you can take at face value. This is why the best sportsbooks will continue to fight for every good review and seek to make amendments to customers they may have wronged – purposely or inadvertently.
Legal Betting and Land-based Casinos
An important condition for the existence of sportsbooks in the United States is the availability of a land-based property that is affiliated with an online brand. For instance, William Hill can operate in New Jersey thanks to their collaboration with Tropicana for example. To have legal online sports betting, you need a land-based casino to agree and collaborate with your business, plain and simple.
Each company – supplier or betting brand – needs to team up with a racetrack, a casino or a mix of the two, i.e. racino. A cursory look at betting in Pennsylvania, for example, would reveal a very complex network of brands, casinos and racetracks.
It’s not uncommon for a single venue to have different partners, as it caters to a broader range of gamers and offers multiple verticals beyond betting.
Most Legal Sports Betting Sites Have Apps
There are many upsides of playing at a licensed operator – the legal sports betting apps are indeed one of the greatest perks. Highly-customizable and allowing you to set up a betting layout that ultimately helps you enjoy the specific markets you are the most interested in.
An app lets you bet from anywhere at any time and it adds more value to your efforts as a sports fan. By being able to track lines and fixtures as they change, you can stay on top of your game. All betting apps are available for iOS and Android in 2019.
In-play Bets Simpler at Licensed Websites
Why is it easier to place in-play wagers at legal sportsbooks? The answer is simple – reputable data companies, such as Kindred, Genius Sports, and Sportradar are far more likely to want to work with established companies which enjoy the legal backing of their jurisdiction.
Most offshore websites that are worth your while will have to secure partnerships with companies that may charge a little more. Data pirating is also a serious offense that some operators might do – knowingly or otherwise – and we recommend that you keep your distance from such places.
Put simply, in-play is always better with the available recommended legal websites as the data is swift, accurate and can be used to make reliable predictions about the outcome of a game.
Legal Sports Bonuses
Sportsbooks all have some form of complimentary offer – more or less – that has to do with allocating certain funds to new and existing players. The best operators will have offers constantly, but those offers will be well-measured, as per the latest safety standards in the respective jurisdiction. To have a truly legal online sports betting experience, you will mostly see that the total amounts you can claim are slightly lower.
Therefore expecting $2,000 in bonuses right from the get-go could be something that most players find themselves reluctant to commit to. A great bonus offer is usually balanced well enough to allow players to want to play without over-committing too much funds.
The Signing Up Process, Prepare to Comply
All legal sports betting websites have social responsibility. Put simply, they need to guarantee that whoever places the bet is:
- The person they claim to be at registration
- Of the legal age to make a wager
- In full control of his own funds
- Not excluded from betting activities due to addiction
- Not a criminal trying to launder money
All of this makes the registration at any credible sportsbook operator a very detailed and thorough process, which you need to comply with. Here are the obligatory steps to registering your account with a licensed betting processor:
- Enter your full names and address truthfully
- Provide accurate contact information
- Prepare to go through phone verification (usually by SMS)
- Submit the documents required in the identity verification process
This is the moment where you need to decide if you want to stick with the betting operator. Without disclosing the required information, however, you won’t be able to place a single wager. Yet, if you feel this is a violation of your privacy, remind yourself that all operators are bound by law to ensure the safety of all information you share, and are subject to stiff penalties for a failure to do so.
Variety of Sports & Markets
Ultimately, one of the important conditions that determines whether you stick or give certain sportsbooks a pass is how many sports and markets there are available. In the majority of the cases, sportsbooks will do their best to provide you with all conceivable markets out there. Any major competition should be covered. So far as the lines (odds) go, each operator should decide for themselves.
Overall, legal sportsbooks offer slightly better odds, as competition is big among operators and this naturally drives some better rates for users. Of course, you need to remain scrupulous about this as well, as there are no sure-fire guarantees that a licensed operator will always offer you the best odds.
That’s why cross-referencing with other bookmakers and cherry picking the ones you like best is always recommendable.
Legal Online Sports Betting Sites: A Final Word
The betting landscape is changing at a very quick pace. From the United States to Australia and from China to Latin America, sports betting operations are afoot. Worldwide, people enjoy sport, and as it turns out, they also love to risk money on the outcome of sporting contests. With this said, the world needs more trustworthy sportsbooks, and the only way to achieve this is by upholding new entrants to the same stringent criteria.
When necessary, these criteria should also be fortified so as to provide the best playing conditions for sports fans. With this being said, the industry is yet to change a lot, but the best legal betting sites should all stay the same benchmark for safe wagers.
Legal Offshore Betting Questions
Yes, online betting has been legal since May 2018. Today, there are 11 states that have legalized sports betting, including New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and others. 7 states have passed laws, but still haven’t launched officially. 24 states are in various stages of legalizing the industry, and 8 states have taken no action.
The only way to determine if a sportsbook can be trusted is by reading a professional review and using community boards. Places like Reddit and Quora provide first-hand experience of from players, and a professional review will cover all important aspects of a sportsbook, including licensing, reputation, and available banking options.
Offshore sportsbooks are not allowed to operate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Pennsylvania or Illinois. The remainder of the United States has laws that are determined on per-state basis. To find out more, proceed to a legal sports betting tracker to see what the current situation with each state is.