Betting on sports is big business around the world. Due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which made betting on sports illegal in the United States up until it was struck down, sports betting in this country isn’t as well understood or as developed as an industry. It was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court opened the door for individual states to begin the process of legalization.

Today, most states have chosen to allow some form of sports betting, either in person (also known as retail), online or both. Some only allow a small handful of sportsbooks to operate within their borders, while others have taken a ‘the more, the merrier’ approach.

When New York ruled to legalize online sports betting right before the 2022 Super Bowl, they put themselves at the heart of the sports betting scene in the United States. Even though online sports betting had been legal in some states for several years prior to this, the scale of New York betting is staggering.

Since sports betting in this country is only a few years old, it’s safe to say that many of us are very new to it. This article will provide you with a brief guide to sports betting in the US so that you can get started with confidence.

Understanding sports betting

Sports betting is a great way to feel more involved with the sports you watch. Winning big is always a rare thing, but the potential to win is where the real excitement comes from. There are many different types of bets. The most common bets are single-event bets, which involves betting on which team will win or lose a single game.

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In American odds notation, the likelihood that a team will win is denoted with a plus or minus. The lower the number, the higher the odds that a team will win. So, for example, a team with -500 is far more likely to win than a team with +500. British and European odds are written differently, but all sportsbooks should allow you to toggle between notations to the one that you find easiest to understand.

One of the big things to remember is that while you can place bets on basically every sport, it’s sensible to only bet seriously on sports that you understand well and follow closely. It’s still fun to place small bets on big sporting events even when you don’t typically follow them though.

Once you’ve figured out what sport to bet on, the type of bet you want to place and how the odds work, the actual betting is very simple. Select a sportsbook, make a deposit and place your bet. If you’re betting online, you’ll need to make an account, but even then, it’s incredibly easy to get going.

Sports bet ting laws by state

One thing to keep in mind is that each state that allows sports betting has its own rules and regulations. Some are far stricter than others so it’s good to be aware of what they are prior to placing any bets. The main factors that you need to be aware of are whether the legal sports betting is online, retail or both.

Some states have laws that are a bit more complicated than that. Washington, for example, allows retail betting at Native American tribal casinos and online betting is only legal if you place your bets while on the casino property.

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Paying attention to quirks in the law like that while also knowing what sportsbooks are allowed to operate in the state is the best way to bet with confidence and security.

How many states allow online sports betting?

Online sports be tting is big business and rapidly overtaking retail betting because it is so much more convenient and accessible. Online sports be tting is currently legal — without added restrictions — in 22 states. These include: New Hampshire, New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Delaware, Rhode Island, Oregon, New York, Michigan, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Connecticut, Tennessee, Wyoming and Nevada.

In which states is sports betting illegal?

Very few states are adamantly against legalizing sports bet ting. Some of the states where it is currently illegal just haven’t legalized it yet and will in the next few years. The states where you cannot currently bet on sports are Alaska, Texas, Utah, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Minnesota, Kentucky, Missouri, Idaho, Oklahoma and Hawaii.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, sports betting is a fun pastime that is here to stay. Take the time to learn how to place smart bets and get ready to add a bit more excitement to game days!

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