Understanding Sports Betting and the Law

Sports betting is complicated. Laws are complicated. Sports betting laws are really complicated. But we're here to help you navigate the legal
Understanding Sports Betting and the Law

Have you ever thought about placing a bet on your favorite team? Sports betting is a popular pastime that many enthusiasts have enjoyed for years. However, when it comes to sports betting, there are certain things that you need to know about the law. It is not as simple as placing a bet and collecting your winnings. Some states have legalized sports betting and online sportsbooks, whereas others have yet to catch up to the craze.

Fortunately, we’re going to get you up to speed with a brief overview of the laws across the country.

The Legality of Sports Betting

Sports betting is not legal in all states in the US, though it’s gaining traction, and many states have created laws to allow legalized sports betting.

It is important to know the laws governing sports betting in your state before placing a bet.

At the federal level, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) has been in place since 1992. This act banned sports betting in all but four states.

However, in 2018, the Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional, paving the way for each state to legalize sports betting.

Since that time, 33 states have legalized sports betting in some capacity.

State Retail Sportsbooks Online Sports Betting Betting Age
Alabama No No 19
Alaska No No 21
Arizona Yes Yes 21
Arkansas Yes No 21
California No No 21
Colorado Yes Yes 21
Connecticut Yes Yes 21
Delaware Yes No 21
Florida Yes No 21
Georgia No No 21
Hawaii No No 21
Idaho No No 21
Illinois Yes Yes 21
Indiana Yes Yes 21
Iowa Yes Yes 21
Kansas Yes Yes 21
Kentucky Yes Yes 18
Louisiana Yes Yes 21
Maine Yes Yes 21
Maryland Yes No 21
Massachusetts Yes Yes 21
Michigan Yes Yes 21
Minnesota No No 21
Mississippi Yes No 21
Missouri No No 21
Montana Yes No 18
Nebraska Yes No 21
Nevada Yes Yes 21
New Hampshire No Yes 18
New Jersey Yes Yes 21
New Mexico Yes No 18
New York Yes Yes 21
North Carolina Yes No 21
North Dakota Yes No 21
Ohio Yes Yes 21
Oklahoma No No 21
Oregon Yes Yes 21
Pennsylvania Yes Yes 21
Rhode Island Yes Yes 18
South Carolina No No 21
South Dakota Yes No 21
Tennessee Yes Yes 18
Texas No No 21
Utah No No 18
Vermont Yes Yes 18
Virginia Yes Yes 18
Washington Yes No 18
West Virginia Yes Yes 21
Wisconsin Yes No 21
Wyoming No Yes 18

It’s worth noting that even though some states have legalized retail and/or online sportsbooks, it doesn’t mean they’re live just yet. For example, Vermont has legalized sports betting but has yet to implement the necessary regulatory framework to allow sportsbooks to open their doors.

We typically see states legalize sports betting only to open the doors around 3-6 months after it’s legalized.

Age Requirements

The legal age for sports betting varies from state to state. However, the minimum age is generally 21. As noted in the table above, some states go as low as 18 for legal sports gambling.

Of course, there are online sportsbooks that have to abide by the same state laws. So, how do they know the legal age in each state? Through geolocation.

When signing up for an online sportsbook, you must provide a valid ID and proof of address. The sportsbook will then use your location to determine if you are in a state where sports betting is legal and if you meet the minimum age requirement.

Some states even require you to visit a sportsbook in person to validate your identity before you can start placing online bets.

It is important to note that underage gambling is a serious offense and can lead to criminal charges. These fines and charges vary from state to state, but we think it’s best if you just follow the law.

Taxes on Winnings

The IRS requires all gambling winnings to be reported on your income tax returns. This includes sports betting.

There is a misconception that if you don’t win more than $600, then you don’t need to report the winnings. That’s incorrect. You must report all winnings. However, if you win more than $600, then the sportsbook or casino is to provide you with a Form W-2G.

To get the best and most up-to-date advice regarding taxes, you should definitely consult with a tax professional. These laws and regulations change all the time, and they vary from state to state.

Online Betting

With the advent of online sports betting, placing a bet on your favorite team has never been easier. You can place all sorts of bets from the comfort of your home. From moneylines to live betting, if you can do it in a sportsbook, you can do it from your phone.

However, online sports betting is not legal in all states. It’s not even legal in all states that allow retail sports betting, such as Florida.

It is important to know the laws in your state before placing a bet online.

However, if you are using a reputable, licensed, and regulated online sportsbook, they’ll typically keep you in check and prevent you from placing bets if you’re not within the legal boundaries of the state.

We’ve put together a few of the best online sportsbooks with the best bonuses. These aren’t available in every state, but check out our reviews and promo codes for each of these to see if they’re available in your jurisdiction.

Responsible Gaming

If you live in a state where online sports betting is legal, then you’re free to do as you please. However, you need to be aware of the risks associated with sports betting.

Gambling addiction is a serious issue, and it’s important to recognize the signs and seek help if you or someone you know is struggling. As with any form of gambling, it’s important to set limits for yourself and never bet more than you can afford to lose.

Many states offer resources for responsible gaming and gambling addiction, so be sure to educate yourself and seek help if needed.

Is Sports Betting Legal in Your State?

Sports betting is an exciting and entertaining pastime. The industry continues to grow and evolve with new sportsbooks opening all the time and states legalizing sports betting every year.

With the Supreme Court decision in 2018, it’s important to stay informed on the current laws and regulations surrounding sports betting in your state.

It is also important to engage in responsible gaming practices and to keep track of your winnings and losses.

Matt Brown

Head of Sports Betting and DFS

Matt’s love for sports betting and daily fantasy sports, coupled with a deep understanding of football, hockey, and baseball, shapes his innovative thoughts on Hello Rookie. He has a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and a M.S. in Project Management.