The United States is the home to the best football, basketball, baseball and hockey leagues in the world. Combine those big four sports with some of the most prestigious horse races in the world and a population of over 325 million and it should surprise nobody that sports betting is becoming a big part of the culture in the USA.
The sports betting market in the USA has changed significantly in recent years. In 2018 the Super Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting, which has allowed states to legalize and regulate sports betting if they choose. Many states have proceeded with offering legal sports betting, while many states are in the process, and others have not yet moved to regulate the industry in their state.
There are also several established offshore sportsbooks that are licensed and regulated outside of the United States, while accepting US players. Many Americans are still choosing to use these trusted betting sites, even if sports betting has been legalized in their state. The sportsbooks I recommend to US residents here at BetOnIt.org fall into this category.
***I should note that the legal grey area for offshore sportsbooks that are accepting US players is on the operator side. There is no legal grey area for the consumers, who have every right to play at the sites that accept American bettors.
On this page I will provide an overview of the sports betting regulatory climate in the United States, and then provide you with two reputable and popular offshore sportsbooks that accept American residents. At the bottom of the page you’ll then be able to check out the different laws and betting options in individual states and cities within the United States.
Is Sports Betting Legal in the USA?
To answer this question I need to break it down into two parts.
#1. Operating a Sportsbook
It is not legal to operate an unlicensed sportsbook or bookmaking service in the United States. They keyword there is “unlicensed”. There are several states that now allow licensed and regulated sportsbooks to operate.
I estimate about 50% of the US States currently offer legal sports betting with state-regulated sportsbooks.
#2. Placing Bets Online
There is no federal law against online sports betting in the United States.
Gambling online is not illegal and placing bets through online sportsbooks (whether regulated/licensed in the US or outside the US) is an acceptable way to place sports bets for the majority of USA residents.
Best Sports Betting Sites for Americans
The following two online sportsbooks are the most popular betting sites for American residents. Both sites are primarily focused on the American market and Bovada actually only accepted US residents for their first several years.
- Built for American bettors
- Wide variety of competitive betting lines
- Easy to navigate betting platform
- Accepts players worldwide
- Competitive betting lines
- Fast & easy deposits and withdrawals (including Bitcoin)
Bovada.lv is by far the most popular online sportsbook in the United States and our most recommended site for Americans looking for their first online sportsbook. Check out the reviews of both Bovada and BetOnline to learn more the ins and outs of both sites.
Sports Betting in Specific Cities and States
I’ve added dedicated pages outlining the sports betting options for residents in different states and large metropolitan areas of the United States. As I mentioned above, Nevada is the only state in the USA that allows land based sports betting, but betting on horse races in still allowed in most states. In the following pages I outline the top horse race betting locations in each State or City and also provide information on the best online sportsbooks for bettors in each specific location.
Sports Betting By State
Large Cities in the USA