Verified by Lee James Gwilliam
Sports betting has exploded in popularity across the US since 2018, with more than 30 states now allowing betting in some capacity. Yet, understanding the US market can be pretty tricky, especially because the state rules and what betting sites are available change between state borders.
Read our complete guide to US sports betting to discover where betting is legal, what bets you can place, and some key betting terms.
There are so many sports betting brands out there, but only a few are considered the cream of the crop. We’ve highlighted some of the best US online sportsbooks you can sign up with today.
DraftKings was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 2012 as a Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) provider. The brand has since grown into one of the biggest sports betting platforms in the US. Players with DraftKings get access to exclusive features like DraftKings Social, which lets you interact with other bettors and see what bets they are placing. You can also enjoy odds boosts and promotions from DraftKings partnerships with all the major leagues and some of the biggest franchises in the country.
Created through a partnership between MGM Resorts International and Entain, BetMGM brings the luxury casino experience to the online sports betting world. Its MGM Rewards program, which is free to join, allows you to earn loyalty and tier points while betting. You can then use these to claim online bonuses, real-life rewards at MGM properties, or fan experiences with sports teams partnered with BetMGM.
Operated by Flutter Entertainment, which is one of the biggest gambling companies globally, FanDuel has established itself as one of the leading US betting sites. Allowing you to play DFS, bet on horse racing, and bet on sports in most states, FanDuel gives fans plenty of ways to have fun. The platform gives you access to sports podcasts like “Subpar” and “Up & Adams” to enhance your betting. You can even live-stream MLB games while you’re betting.
Backed by Rush Street Interactive, the digital arm of casino operator Rush Street Gaming, BetRivers has become a favorite sportsbook of plenty of US bettors. The betting site lets you enjoy Squares, where you can win up to $10,000 on a randomly assigned scoreline. You can also use BetRivers to stream jai alai and get promotions for popular major league events, including parlay boosts and bet and get offers.
Many gamblers are familiar with the Caesars Entertainment name thanks to famous US casinos like Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Caesars Sportsbook is gaining a similar reputation. When you play with Caesars, you can live-stream NFL games on Sunday while you bet. Every bet contributes points to the free Caesars Rewards program, and you use your points to claim real-life rewards like meals and hotel stays.
With backing from one of the biggest gambling companies in Central Europe, Tipico has taken the US market by storm. The betting site will allow you to place “Rapid Bets” on in-play events, including the point winner in tennis, offering reduced or no vig on its odds. You can also read Tipico’s Inside Edge for tips and predictions for upcoming sporting events.
Bettors looking to do in-detail research before betting should check out Betway Sportsbook, founded in 2006 and owned by the publicly traded SGHC LTD. The site has some of the most detailed statistics available in the US for popular and niche sports, allowing you to look at past matchups and player stats to inform your betting. Aside from this, Betway also regularly provides odds boosts known as Betway Boosts.
While PointsBet may have started in Australia, it has become one of the best sportsbooks in the US thanks to its innovative Points Betting feature. With this, you win more money the more correct you are with an over/under bet. However, you can also lose more money for being more incorrect. Aside from this, PointsBet also partners with NBC Sports, providing customers with promotions and exclusives.
Though sports betting is under the gambling umbrella, everything about it is vastly different from playing at online casinos. So if you're a slots lover, this specific type of gaming thrill may not translate to betting. At the most basic level, sports betting is making a prediction about an upcoming event. The difference between sports betting and just making a prediction is that you put money behind your prediction.
A sportsbook will accept your cash, agreeing to payout if you’re correct and keeping your money if you’re wrong. How much money you’ll get from your bet is determined by the odds for that particular prediction your betting site offers.
Sports betting has been available in some parts of the US for decades but was, for the most part, incredibly limited. The popularity of it has exploded since 2018 when the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). This allowed individual US states to create legislation for sports betting, so now it is widely legal across more than half of US states.
Following PASPA, each US state can legalize sports betting with its own rules, meaning you can cross the border between states and then have to follow completely different regulations. For example, some states may legalize both retail and online sports betting but restrict where you can be located for betting, whereas others may let you only bet online, but anywhere in the state you want.
What’s great for bettors is you don’t have to be a resident of a state with legal sports betting. You just need to be in a state’s borders where it’s legal to play while you bet. Considering more than half of US states have legalized some form of betting, you’re more than likely to be near somewhere you can play.
Here are all the states where sports betting is legal in the US, including specifics on what types of betting are legal.
Legalizing gambling can be challenging, as a proposed bill must pass through the House and Senate before getting approval from the Governor. In some states, like California, the illegality of sports betting is written into the state constitution and needs a public vote to be legalized.
That’s why while many states have betting, there are still some jurisdictions where it remains illegal. Some jurisdictions have made progress with some types of gambling, like land-based casino gambling and lotteries, but not others, like sports betting.
The critical thing lawmakers don’t like is watching millions in gambling revenue going into neighbors’ pockets from people crossing the border to gamble. This has encouraged many states to make sports betting legal and enjoy the benefits.
As there are so many sportsbooks out there, many sites provide new and existing customers with bonuses to encourage them to sign up and keep playing. Just like an online casino bonus, these sportsbook bonuses allow you to play for less or for free or may increase your profits. Typical promos include deposit matches, bonus bets, and odds boosts. From our list of operators, Caesars regularly provides the most generous prizes for new players, whereas BetRivers is the most rewarding for existing customers.
In many US states, you can bet anywhere you have a connection, which means you can play on your mobile phone. Many top US sportsbooks provide mobile apps you can download for iOS and Android, tailored to provide fast and straightforward betting on your mobile or tablet.
While all the sportsbooks above have top apps, DraftKings stands above the rest. You can only access DraftKings’ live streaming through its mobile platform, and features like DraftKings Social are also perfectly integrated into the mobile app. Additionally, the app is designed with DraftKings’ signature black and green style, making finding a market as easy as a few taps.
US sportsbooks often have more than 20 different sports for you to bet on, including the most popular events and smaller competitions. No matter what type of sports bettor you are, you’ll find something to interest you. We’ve listed some of the most popular sports to bet on and what types of markets are available.
The NFL is the biggest betting sport in the US, and you’ll find a massive range of bet types available for every game, from preseason to the Super Bowl. Many betting sites are partnered with NFL teams and will provide exclusive bonuses you can claim.
The NHL takes place from October to April, with 1,312 games in the regular season. That provides plenty of chances for bettors to get behind their favorite teams, with many sportsbooks providing odds boosts on popular markets.
The NBA is one of the fastest-paced sports in the world, and you can place your bets pre-game or in-play. A vast range of in-play betting markets will be available with top US sportsbooks, including player props.
With MLB betting, you can bet on moneylines, point spreads, and totals for every game. You’ll find plenty of MLB promotions as the MLB plays in the summer months when other major league sports have stopped.
MMA is one of the most brutal sports in the world, and you can bet on competitions like UFC with top US sportsbooks. You’ll find markets like fighters to win, methods of victory, and more options.
There are soccer competitions worldwide, and the best US sportsbooks will provide markets for the most popular tournaments.
This is the most widespread type of betting in the US, as horse racing operates under different regulations than sports betting. So even in states without legal sports betting, you may be able to place pari-mutuel bets on horse racing. Many horse racing betting sites will let you back races across the world and may offer live streaming of major events.
Alongside general sports betting rules, every US state will have sports betting laws specific to college sports betting. These regulations are in place to protect younger athletes from the dangers and pressures gambling can cause.
One common regulation is not allowing betting on in-state teams or events happening within state lines, employed in states like New Jersey and New York. Other states like Colorado prevent player prop bets. Your US sportsbook will only provide legal betting markets in your state.
US sportsbooks provide a wide range of bet types, so you can make any prediction you want for a sports event. Here are some of the most popular sports betting markets.
A moneyline bet is a simple prediction of which team or player will win an event. For example, you can predict which team will triumph in an NFL game.
With a point spread, your sportsbook will give the underdog an imaginary point advantage and the favorite an imaginary point deficit. If you bet on the favorite, it must win by more than this deficit. If you bet on the underdog, it needs to lose within this points advantage, which can include winning.
Your sportsbook will set a total for statistics, like points scored in an event, and you have to guess whether the final amount will be over or under that total.
When you place a team prop bet, you’re backing a team to achieve a statistic independent of the final result. For example, you can bet on a basketball team to score over 15 three-pointers. It doesn’t matter if that team loses. You’ll win your bet if the three-pointer target is hit.
Like a team prop, a player prop allows you to bet on a specific player to achieve a statistic, regardless of the result. For example, you can bet on a running back to hit more than 100 rushing yards in an NFL game.
A future bet is a prediction of a significant event in the far future, like the winner of an MVP award. The earlier you place your futures, the better odds you’ll receive.
You can combine multiple bets into a single bet with a parlay bet. If one part of your prediction loses, the whole parlay is lost. However, because of this risk, parlays have much better odds than just backing each market individually.
While most parlays allow you to add the same bets from multiple events into one bet, a same-game parlay lets you pick numerous markets from one event. Just like with a regular parlay, every part of your same game parlay has to come through for your bet to win.
For new sports bettors, learning the terminology around betting can be as challenging as deciding what markets to back. Most betting terminology is pretty simple once explained, so we’ve collected some of the most popular terms and described them below.
A phrase you’ve probably heard in day-to-day life, the underdog refers to the team or player less likely to win an event. Depending on the odds, the underdog could be at a huge disadvantage or only slightly unfavored.
On the other hand, the favorite refers to the team or player more likely to win an event. Again, depending on the favorite’s odds, it could be at a major advantage of only somewhat favored.
Sometimes, games don’t have a favorite or underdog, as both sides are evenly matched. This is called a pick’em.
Your stake refers to how much you are spending on a particular bet. Some sportsbooks will break down your returns from your bet into your stake and your profit, so it’s essential to know this isn’t additional money you’re receiving. This is the amount you are betting.
If a bet has even odds, whatever you stake, you’ll get back the same as profit. In American odds, this looks like +100. For example, if you bet $300 on odds of +100 (evens), you’ll get $300 in profit.
Odds are just how sportsbooks display how much you’ll profit when you bet. The most common style of odds in the US is American odds, which is easiest to understand in relation to $100. Odds with a (-) symbol tell you how much you need to bet to make a $100 profit, such as -200. Odds with a (+) symbol show how much you can make when you bet $100, like +400.
The over/under is the number a sportsbook picks for a total bet. For example, an over/under for an NFL game’s combined score could be 45.5.
With total betting, you must predict whether a score will be over or under a particular amount. But what if the score is the exact total set by the sportsbook? Most betting sites will avoid this by using a hook, which is half a point. For example, rather than giving a total of 40 for an NFL game, a sportsbook might set the total at 40.5.
The handle won’t impact many bettors personally, but it is a good term to know if you’re interested in betting. Essentially, a sports betting handle refers to how much money bettors have wagered across a specific period. Most states release monthly betting handle information. The handle does not consider how many bets were won or lost.
Betting against the spread is simply backing the underdog in a point spread bet. You then want the underdog to win or lose within its allowed points total.
A bad beat is something unlucky or wild that turns a bet sure to win into a loss. What counts as a bad beat is hard to define. For example, do you consider the New England Patriots’ 28-3 comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI as a bad beat? Was it bad luck or simply great play from the Patriots and Tom Brady? Many bettors will claim a bad beat in every bet they place, so take someone mentioning this with a grain of salt.
The handicap is another term for the point spread, commonly used throughout Europe. You may see spread betting referred to as handicap betting.
The betting line is another way to refer to the odds on a particular market. For example, with a moneyline bet on the Minnesota Vikings at +200, the betting line is +200.
While most bets are placed before an event starts, live betting refers to any bet you place once an event begins. You will find loads of markets like moneylines, point spreads, totals, and props available, with odds updating to reflect what is happening during an event.
Hedging a bet is a way to reduce your losses on a stake you’ve lost faith in by backing the opposite market. For example, you bet the moneyline on Team 1. However, as the game approaches, you become less sure Team 1 will win, so put a hedge bet on Team 2. For hedge betting to work, you need to calculate how much you need to stake on both sides to ensure you don’t end up with losses.
The vig is effectively the house edge in betting and will slightly alter the available odds. For the most part, this doesn’t impact bettors, but effectively low vig will allow you to make more profit. So look out for low or no vig promotions.
Sports are unpredictable. That’s why fans love them so much. While that’s great for entertainment, don’t forget that there are always upsets in sports – which makes betting incredibly challenging. Betting is mostly based on luck and should be viewed as a way to have fun rather than make money.
However, there are ways you can increase your chances of winning a bet. Researching and looking at past statistics will allow you to spot trends and make better decisions in the future. Does an NBA player always play well against a particular team? Does an NFL franchise tend to perform worse in prime-time games? These pieces of information will give you the best chance of making a profit.
Another great way to increase the potential of winning a bet is to claim sports betting bonuses. Whether it’s a welcome bonus, an existing player promotion, or an odds boost, anything that increases your payouts or allows you to play while risking less money will make it easy to end your playing session in profit.
While sports fans will back sports events from week to week, some casual bettors are just interested in the most significant sports events. These showcase games usually have the most extensive ranges of markets, as well as fun promotions you can use to boost your betting.
One of the biggest betting events of the year is the Super Bowl, which is no surprise considering the NFL is the sport that attracts the most bets in the US. The Super Bowl also has many fun prop bets that attract casual bettors, like the color of the winner’s Gatorade and betting on the halftime show.
Another popular sports event with bettors is March Madness, which sees college basketball teams from across the US compete in a month-long competition. It may be surprising that March Madness is so popular, considering many states have stricter restrictions on college sports betting than professional betting. However, March Madness often allows states that don’t have major league sports franchises to get behind local teams, such as the UConn Huskies in Connecticut. The volume of games in such a short period and the potential for upsets also attract plenty of bettors.
As politics are always a hot topic in the US, many casual bettors have fun predicting the outcome of major political events in the future. These include which candidate will receive a nomination from each party and which party will win the next election. Of course, there are always prediction polls that voters participate in, but some like to take it to the next level with political betting, even among an office pool or group of friends.
However, official betting on politics in the US is not widely available. While there is no law explicitly banning this type of betting, no US state has permitted it with the launch of legal betting. However, the US betting market is always changing, and there are always new opportunities for wagering. So we may see this type of betting available in the future.
Daily Fantasy Sports is another type of gambling available in many US states. Rather than making predictions about specific things to happen in sports events, you are given an imaginary budget to build a team of athletes from your favorite sports.
You then score points based on how players perform in real-life games. You’ll receive a cash prize if you have the most points in your pool for a game day. You need to pay to enter some DFS pools.
DFS has been available in many US states long before sports betting because of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). This act determined that online games of chance were banned, but games of skill were permitted. Many US states declared DFS a game of skill, which is why these are available even in states where they haven’t been explicitly legalized.
For your own safety, you must provide a lot of information when you sign up with a US betting site. However, sportsbooks make entering this information easy, so you can get signed up in minutes.
When sports betting is legalized, it usually comes after months of legislative battles between lawmakers in the House and Senate. However, the waiting isn’t over when a Governor signs a sports betting bill. While betting becomes legal, states won’t allow online or retail sportsbooks to launch until the market has been established safely.
A state’s sports betting regulator must create the licensing process for sportsbooks to ensure each site is safe. Following this, operators will actually have to apply for licenses, which may involve signing partnerships with local land-based casinos or sports venues. There will only be a limited number of licenses available, so the regulator will need to determine which operators it wants to launch.
Sportsbooks must also test platforms to iron out any issues before an official launch. All of this can take months or even up to a year. So some states have a surprisingly lengthy amount of time between a bill signing off and the first operator launching.
Currently, states which have legalized sports betting but are yet to launch include Kentucky, Vermont, and North Carolina. Kentucky is the furthest along in this process, already declaring its launch dates for retail and online sports betting in September 2023. Until these dates pass, sports betting remains legal but unavailable.
It’s hard to predict which states will legalize sports betting next, but we can look at the states that have been close or shown interest in legalization in the past to guess what may happen in 2024.
Minnesota has been close to legalizing sports betting on several occasions, but once again, a bill failed to pass in 2023 due to conflicts with local Native American tribes. Lawmakers argued over whether sports betting should only be available through tribes or also through horse racing tracks and this disagreement ultimately killed the bill. However, after several years of debate, 2024 may finally be the year MN lawmakers find a solution.
Another state that has been close to legalizing sports betting for years and once again failed in 2023 is Missouri. Senate lawmakers filibustered the bill due to conflicts over including Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs). However, considering the bill passed in the House, MO has a clear appetite for sports betting.
All online sports betting platforms have to follow strict regulations on player safety measures to get a license. This means every licensed betting site will have security like SSL encryption and firewalls to protect your data. The best sportsbooks will also work with trusted payment providers to ensure your financial information is safe.
Much time and staff effort goes into player protection at licensed US sportsbooks. While offshore betting sites may appear to have the same level of commitment to safety, many don’t sink the same resources into these issues. So, you’re always better off playing with a licensed operator.
When online sports betting first rose to prominence in the US, most states could still not create online sports betting regulations. This is why offshore betting sites became so popular. These operators were licensed in jurisdictions overseas like Curacao and accepted players from the US.
While these sites often operate legally in jurisdictions worldwide, any site not licensed by your state regulator is illegal to use in the US. Therefore, offshore betting sites are illegal in the US. Besides, considering there are so many states with online sports betting and top sportsbooks are widely available, there is little benefit to using an offshore betting site anyway.
The history of sports betting starts with pari-mutuel horse racing betting, which started in the US at the turn of the 20th century. With this type of betting, bets are shared in a pool, and a bettor’s winnings are drawn from this pool rather than from a betting company. Pari-mutuel horse racing betting is regarded as different from sports betting to this day and is regulated differently.
Sports betting was very popular across the US from the early 20th century, especially with the gambling capital of Las Vegas opening sports betting facilities starting in 1949. Criminal involvement in sports betting overshadowed the early years, with the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 preventing sports betting from taking place across state lines. This is why sports betting laws are still passed state-by-state rather than federally.
Except for Nevada, most US states didn’t legalize sports betting, allowing Nevada to develop a reputation as the home of sports betting. A move by Congress to lower the tax that bookmakers had to pay in 1970 led to more interest in sports betting from states, with Delaware launching a sports betting lottery in 1976. In 1986, the Montana Lottery created limited sports betting pools through the lottery, and in 1989 Oregon launched its Oregon Sports Action parlay betting game.
Concerns about problem gambling grew as more and more states expressed an interest in sports betting, which triggered federal lawmakers to introduce PASPA. Also known as the Bradley Act, named after influential New Jersey lawmaker and former NBA star Bill Bradley, this prevented US states from creating any new sports betting legislation.
Of course, this allowed states with betting legislation to continue operating. So while Montana, Oregon, and Delaware continued with limited betting offerings, Nevada earned a monopoly over sports betting.
Ironically, a few decades later, lawmakers in New Jersey were the strongest opponents of the Bradley Act. With significant efforts from Senator Raymond Lesniak and Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey got its lawsuit against PASPA, declaring the bill unconstitutional.
Following years of legal cases, the US Supreme Court agreed to strike down the PASPA in 2018, ending Nevada’s effective monopoly on sports betting. New Jersey became the first state outside of Nevada to launch online sportsbooks in August 2018. Dozens of other US states have rushed to legalize online sports betting to benefit from its lucrative revenues, which has led to the booming market we have today.
Emma Trotter is a Senior Editor at Casinos.com. Emma has worked as a staff writer and editor for nearly two decades, extensively covering celebrity news and the Las Vegas entertainment, casino and tourism scenes. She spent several years in in-house roles at Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Las Vegas before stepping into iGaming affiliate site content.
There are more than 30 US states where sports betting is legal. Depending on where you are playing, you may have access to online or retail sports betting. Be sure to check your local regulations before playing.
Sports betting has been legal in Ohio since Governor Mike DeWine signed HB 29. Online and retail sports betting launched on January 1, 2023. When the market is mature, there is potential for up to 25 online betting sites and 40 retail sportsbooks.
Yes, Florida sports betting is legal, but no sportsbooks have launched. Hard Rock Sportsbook initially launched in November 2021 but withdrew in December 2021 following a lawsuit against Florida sports betting. That lawsuit has been removed, but no betting sites have gone live.
The best sports betting site for you is a matter of personal preference, but we’ve highlighted some of the top US operators further up this page. These sites provide competitive odds on a wide range of sports and betting features like live streaming to improve your experience.
Over a dozen online sportsbooks are available in Nevada, licensed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. These include some of the biggest operators in the US, like BetMGM and Caesars, alongside local brands like STN Sports.
No, you can’t officially bet on elections or political events in the US. However, sports betting laws are constantly changing and allowing more events to be available for US bettors, so this may be an option in the future.
DraftKings online sportsbook is legal in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.