Sports Gambling Laws and What It Took to Get Here

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Sports gambling has been around for ages. Whether approved by the courts or not, sports fans have always bet on their beloved teams. Done so with items, money or just a verbal bet, it’s all part of the competitiveness that comes with the world of sporting events.

Over time, gambling has taken many new forms. Since the birth of the internet, many have tried to turn their business over to the web. Online gambling has taken this into consideration and after many trials and errors, online gambling is finally comfortable enough to live on the web and continues to grow over the years.

Career in sports

If you take part in online gambling and are thinking specifically about sports gambling, then you should know a few things that went into getting gambling to be what it is today.

The Beginning of Sports Gambling

There are many laws that have passed and even some that are still in place today that are absolutely ridiculous. For example, when the 18th Amendment took effect back in 1920, so did the ban of alcohol. This only caused people to make their own home-made alcohol, which in turn, caused severe health problems for American citizens due to all the botched recipes.

This is similar to what happened with sports gambling laws.

In 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was enacted into federal law. This law made bookmaking illegal in all states, except a handful. Those lucky states were Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon, which all had pre-existing sports lotteries and small betting, so they were grandfathered in.

As for the rest, it was strictly forbidden.

This lasted for 26 years, which is double the years in which the alcohol ban withstood. It wasn’t until just last year, in May of 2018, that things drastically changed.

We have the state of New Jersey to thank for that because they were the ones to bring this to the attention of the Supreme Court. When they first attempted to bring the fact that only allowing sports wagering in the state of Nevada was insane, the Supreme Court fully ignored it.

The legislation was re-written by the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie and resubmitted to the Supreme Court, where eventually it was heard out.

In between that was much more of course. There were lawsuits brought against Christie, referring to his bill as a “violation of federal laws”. Bringing this lawsuit into light were all the major sports leagues – NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB.


But finally, on May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports betting and admitted that this national ban was unconstitutional. Removing this ban means that states are now free to allow sports betting under their own regulations.

This is considered a win for states and bettors alike. Sports gamblers are now able to bet freely, and states will surely benefit from the revenue that these bets will bring in.

Online Sports Betting Remains a Constant Battle

Now, although getting the attention of the Supreme Court after 26 long years is great, that doesn’t stop people with outside opinions to chime in. Also, another thing to remember is that individual states are still able to come up with their own regulations if they feel that it is needed.

Here is a breakdown of where each US state currently stands in terms of sports gambling laws:

States With Legal & Operating Sports Betting


States With Bill Passed for Legal Sports Betting


States With Sports Betting Bill Introduced


States Without a Sports Bill Introduced


Colorado just recently passed Proposition DD, which was welcomed by most residents of the state. Part of this was due to deciding that the tax revenue coming in from sports betting will go towards water conservation projects.

Taking the state of Colorado as an example, more states are leaning towards the possibility of allowing their residents to wager on sports if it comes with an incentive that could benefit the entire state. This is a smart move, this way, both parties are happy and only good can come out of it.

What About Online Gambling?

More and more, the trend of online gambling in the US seems to be growing. Gamblers are beginning to see the convenience of online gambling as opposed to driving down to the casino.

This is understandable, as online gambling is the most convenient option for players. With the same games, bonuses, and loyalty programs available through online gambling as you would see in a regular casino, this growing trend does not surprise me.

Sometimes, when you opt in for online gambling, you’re offered specialty games that are hard to find in a physical casino. This also applies to online gambling for sports.

For example, “prop betting” has become more popular in the online gambling world. With these bets, you can wager on fun things like “what color of Gatorade will they pour on the winning coach this year?”, “will the coin land on heads or tails?”, these are just some examples that you’d see online.

What does online gambling have to do with online sports betting?

Many online gambling sites also offer sports wagering, which makes things tricky. As states have begun passing sports gambling laws within their state, they will also need to think about what this means for online sports gambling, too. Given all the context of what it took to get here, we can only hope that the laws that are getting written in place for each state can only be good for players that enjoy online gambling.

Whether it’s betting through a casino bookie or an online sportsbook, we want this to work out for every bettor.

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