Legal Online Sports Betting in the USA

As the gambling market in the United States has shifted recently (with the US Supreme Court ruling in favor of legalizing American sports betting), it is still a little unclear at times to carve out the differences in Federal and State laws, and how they affect our everyday online sports betting.

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This guide has been created specifically to clear-up that confusion regarding sports betting online and clarify the answer to the question of ‘is online sports betting legal in the U.S’?

We have done extensive research to make sure we provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information that will assist you in determining if U.S.-friendly legal online sports betting is something you want to participate in.

With this ‘sports betting 101’, we have addressed most areas that cause confusion for U.S. sports fans and sports bettors who are trying to access accurate online sports betting information.

We provide all of the following information and much more:

  • Sports Betting for Beginners and to access the best online sports betting tips
  • If they are legally allowed to enjoy online sports betting.
  • Where is sports betting legal in the U.S.
  • States with legal sports betting
  • How sports betting odds work and understanding sports betting lines and;
  • Introductory Sports Betting Strategy and;
  • The Best Sports Betting Guides

We provide information on the best sports betting advice and how-to-access a legally sanctioned, secure sportsbook experience with the best online betting odds that won’t land anyone in trouble with the law.

Is online sports betting legal in the U.S.?

American Gambling Laws

Let’s clarify this immediately; Yes, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of legalizing sports betting. It is legal; however, it depends where you live or how you choose to play.

Given the decision of the Supreme Court in May 2018, the question of whether or not it is legal to bet on sports in the US is not as difficult to answer as it once was.

Sports Betting is no longer a controversial topic in the United States given the legislative protections of the Supreme Court’s decision. Online sports betting is no longer the most restricted form of gambling. The Supreme Court removed the federal prohibition on sports betting, leaving the choice to regulate in the hands of state governments.

The role of the US Supreme Court overturning PASPA in Legal Sports Betting

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was also known as the Bradley Act, named after the law’s main sponsor, former Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey. The goal of his bill was to stop the spread of sports betting in the United States. PASPA passed the US Senate on June 2, 1992. The House of Representatives passed it on October 6, 1992. President George Bush (Senior) signed the bill into law on October 28 1992 and it finally went into effect on January 1 1993

Fast forward to May 2018, and by a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA, the federal ban which had stood since 1992. It’s now officially off the books, and states are free to legalize and regulate the industry at their discretion.

The decision came after a two-decade long battle between New Jersey and the NCAA, NFL, MLB, NHL and the NBA. The sports leagues filed their suit against the Atlantic State when former Governor Chris Christie attempted to legalize sports betting in New Jersey. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Federal Law banning sports betting was unconstitutional and dismissed the law.

For all of us who love betting on our favorite sports team at the best odds, legally, safely and securely, the legal decision has changed the U.S. Sports Betting Industry forever.

Now, it is a pleasure to say it is legal to bet on sports in the United States. There is no ban stopping any of the 50 states from establishing online sports books. That said, a state can still choose NOT to offer sports betting to its citizens if it sees fit.

Sports betting regulations are now made on a state-by-state basis.

Of course, it is still illegal to use illegal bookies or start your own unlicensed sports betting business, no matter where you reside in the U.S. However, if sports betting is legal in your state, happy days in visiting online betting sites without breaking any laws!

Where is sports betting legal in the USA?

What States have legal Sports betting?;

States where Sports Betting is Already Legal;


The Great State of NevadaNo longer the sole state to permit a wide variety of legal sports betting, Nevada is a mature-sports-betting-market that has existed for many decades. Some states looking to regulate may even look to Nevada as an example for the best practices in the regulation of sports betting.


Delaware State SealOn June 5, 2018, Delaware moved to offer single-game betting on a number of different sports at three casinos in the state. Expanded sports betting options may take place at additional locations or online in the coming months.

New Jersey

The Garden State - NJOn June 11, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the sports betting bill that had passed the previous week and made the first legal sports bet himself (a $20 bet on Germany to win the World Cup at short betting odds). Online Sports Books have opened shop and other sportsbooks in Atlantic City will soon offer sports betting too.


Keystone State - PAPennsylvania has recently awarded licensed 4 sportsbook to operate int he state online and they are expected to open in 2019

States with Laws passed allowing sports betting, legislation to follow;

  • Connecticut Sports Betting
  • Iowa Sports Betting
  • Mississippi Sports Betting
  • New York Sports Betting
  • Pennsylvania Sports Betting
  • West Virginia Sports Betting

These states either already have enacted state laws to legalize sports betting or have fast-tracked the legislation, with hearings already having occurred and/or, in some cases, the paperwork has advanced well beyond the committee stage.

States Moving Toward Legalization

  • California
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • Indiana
  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Kentucky
  • Rhode Island
  • Maryland
  • South Carolina
  • Massachusetts

Each of these states has begun introductory legislation proceedings (or publicly announced plans to-do-so), with hearings and votes on the bills moving forward at varying speeds.

Existing Laws Ripe for Expansion in Scope

  • Oregon
  • Montana

Both of these states have laws on the books already that permit some form of sports betting and probably could be widened in scope to include various forms of sports betting, if legislators so wish.

The Oregon Lottery offered a ‘pick the winners’ style game for some years (legislation is still alive and easily re-instituted).

The Montana Lottery currently offers a fantasy-type sports pool for football and auto racing and the legislation is written to be easily expanded.

No legalization activity… this space

Alaska Louisiana Tennessee
Alabama Maine Texas
Arkansas Nebraska Vermont
Arizona New Hampshire Virginia
Colorado New Mexico Florida
North Carolina Washington Georgia
North Dakota Wisconsin Hawaii
Ohio Wyoming Idaho
South Dakota

All of these states have laws that prohibit sports betting. These laws would need to be repealed or amended before sports betting would be allowed. These states do not have any publicly announced bills devoted primary to sports betting legalization.

Unlikely to legalize


Existing Utah state policies are unlikely to change. Decades of opposition to any form of gambling, including lottery tickets, table games and sports betting is still strongly favored in the conservative state and anti-gambling laws are written into the state’s constitution.

Other important factors to consider

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) are legal in many states.

Things can change and change rapidly and constantly – Daily fantasy sports and sports betting are under non-stop review at state and federal levels across multiple states.

Best Online Sports Betting Sites

Having discussed the new-found legality of Sports betting in the United States, let’s examine what to look for in a good online sports book and sports betting for beginners.

Online Sport Betting sites that have their own Sports Betting App are important for Mobile Sports Betting and even more important for the American online sports bettor.

We know that it is important to pay attention to the laws in each state, however, don’t get overly concerned about it, as technological solutions exist to help you with the legalities.

Smartphone Sports Betting apps verify your location within a legal betting state before allowing you to wager. You will be rejected from sports betting if attempting to bet outside the legal borders.

If you really want to get the most out of your sports betting experience, then make sure to download the Smartphone Sports Betting App of your chosen sportsbook. All of our reviewed sportsbooks mention which Sportsbooks have the best sports betting apps as well as which have both Apple and Android apps that can be downloaded to the full range of mobile devices and cellphone devices.

Some online sports betting sites even offer better odds and markets for mobile sports bettors as a permanent promotion.

Range of Betting Markets

Not all online sportsbooks are created equal and they may not offer wagers on the sports that interest you most. It may sound relatively straight-forward; however, it is all quite pointless if there isn’t a good range of odds available on your offer favorite sports.

All of our reviewed sportsbooks are recommended for online players interested in betting carry the full complement of U.S. and worldwide sports odds markets as NHL odds, CFL odds, Kentucky Derby Odds, NFL Odds, MLB Odds, Odds for PGA Golf tournaments, NCAA Odds, MLS Odds, NBA Odds and much, much, more.

Sports Betting Tips

As a service to our valued clientele, we make sure that every sports betting site we review has:

  • Amazing bonuses
  • Smartphone and mobile device options
  • Best odds
  • Live betting
  • A safe and secure environment

With so many websites vying for the attention of American sports bettors with bonus offers, promotions and special odds, finding the best online sportsbooks can be a minefield to navigate. Consequently, we have reviewed all the top online sportsbooks to help you find the one that is best for you.

At BettingTop10 USA we strongly advise punters to bet with larger, reputable sportsbooks. There are several reasons for this, first and foremost is security. If you’re putting your money in an account, of course you want the peace of mind that it’s safe and protected.

From a gambling perspective, the larger and more reputable bookmakers will usually be running the best promotions, giving better odds (betting odds explained in detail in our next section), and BettingTop10 USA cuts through the jungle of offers out there to assist you in claiming the best bonus offers in a crowded market.

Understanding Betting Odds & How to Calculate Betting Odds

If you’re a newcomer to online sports betting, before you start checking out best online sports books, the most important thing to know is how to calculate the betting odds, how they work and how to read sports lines.

If you can’t understand odds, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have sports betting success as you’ll be continually asking questions like “wait, what does + 200 odds mean again?”

Fortunately, as you’ll see below, understanding odds isn’t rocket science.

There are three different ways in which sports betting odds can be displayed:

American Odds(e.g. +200)

Fractional/UK Odds(e.g. 2/1)

Decimal/European Odds(e.g. 3.00)

Here in the U.S., we’re only really concerned with, and use the American system. However, it’s just good to know that the other two exist as you may come across them in your online travels.

Coincidentally, if you’re curious, in the above scenario, it translates to exactly the same chance of winning (33%) and you will win $2 of profit for every $1 bet successfully.

Understanding American Betting Odds

American sports betting odds work differently for favorites and underdogs and are often referred to as ‘Moneyline Odds’.

American odds for betting on a favorite work by showing how much money you would have to risk in order to win $100. Let’s illustrate that concept with football odds.

For Example, this ‘Straight Bet’:

The New England Patriots are -110 to win Monday’s game

Placing a successful $110 bet on them yields $100 winnings

Of course, you also get you original $110 bet back

Total payout = $210. Simple.

Things change when betting on an underdog, in that the positive number shows how much you can win if you risk $100.

Another ‘Straight Bet’ Example below:

The Chicago Bears have odds of +240 this Sunday

Placing a successful $100 bet on the Bears will yield you $240 in winnings

Again, you also get your $100 bet back

Total payout = $340. Again, couldn’t be simpler.

NOTE – If you see the letters ‘PK’ alongside the odds offered on a game, it means that there is no favorite and you should “pick” the winner of the game. No point spread involved.

What is a Parlay Bet?

There are many different types of bets available such as these above ‘straight bet’ examples, and other more complex types of bets that you’ll find about as you continue your journey of discovery in online betting such as teaser, round robins, quinellas, reverse wagers, sides and point spreads.

However, by far the next most popular form of sports bet after the ‘straight bet’ is the ‘Parlay bet’, sometimes also known in the UK, Europe and Australia as ‘accumulator bet’.

What makes parlays popular is the fact that the payoff is greatly increased if all of your accumulated wagers win. The more bets included in your parlay bet, the higher your odds and the more money you can potentially win.

Parlays are without any doubt, the most popular of all the more ‘exotic’ wagers, as they offer the potential for a big payout from a small wager.

Simply stated, a parlay is a collection of two or more sports bets (up to as many ‘combined’ or ‘accumulated’ bets as you like) that you bet on and all of them must win in order for you to win your bet.

If you place a five-bet parlay, going 4-1 is no different than going 0-5.

All of your bets must win, or at least tie, in order for you to collect your winnings.

Bets can be spread over multiple games and multiple sports.

(e.g. Bet on The Vikings to win in the NFL, The Celtics to win in NBA and the New Jersey Devils to win in NHL – if all 3 teams win – you win!)

There are two types of parlays, those bet against the point spread and those wagered using the money line. The payoffs a bettor will receive should they win are quite different in the two. In parlays involving point spreads, the payoff is fixed, while money line parlay payoffs are determined by the odds of each team.

Whichever form of parlay betting you prefer, remember, all legs of your parlay must win for you to win your wager.

The more bets you make in a parlay, the potentially higher the return, but the greater the risk.

Points Spread Parlay Bet Payout Table

See below a typical Points Spread Parlay Bet Payout Table from a leading online sports book.

Parlay Payouts

# of Combined Bets Payout *Estimated $10 Wager Payout
2 Bets +260 $26.00
3 Bets +600 $60.00
4 Bets +1000 $100.00
5 Bets +2500 $250.00
6 Bets +4000 $400.00
7 Bets +7500 $750.00
8 Bets +15000 $1,500.00
9 Bets +30000 $3,000.00
10 Bets +70000 $7,000.00
11 Bets +110000 $11,000.00
12 Bets +180000 $18,000.00

Money Line Parlay Bets

Simply put, money line parlay bets take the amount of your bet and;

Place all of the money on one team and if that team wins,

Recalculates your bet amount on the next team, again placing your entire wager on that team.

For example, say an online sports bettor likes the Miami Dolphins+160 and the New York Jets -130.

Placing a $10 wager, they essentially would have a $10 bet on the Dolphins +160, which will return $26 should the Dolphins win, and then would have that $26 won to wager on the Jets -130.

Should the Jets also win, the bettor has turned a $10 wager into $46.

Compare then, the $36 profit moneyline parlay win, with the $26 profit a sports bettor winning a $10 point spread parlay on two teams would make.

Sports Betting Terms Explained – Glossary of Terms

For many newcomers to online sports betting, there is a brand-new language to learn, a collective form of sports betting vocabulary and vernacular that may appear new and unfamiliar.

To help guide you through the process, please see the below guide to understanding basic sports betting terminology, that should assist in making the new language easier to understand in absolutely no time at all.

  • Action – General term for the total amount in dollar terms of wagers placed on a single sporting event. This multi-purpose phrase can also be used to refer to a baseball wager without pitchers named.
  • ATS (Against-the-Spread) – A term used to describe the betting result of a game that takes the point spread into consideration
  • Book – Short for “sportsbook’. A book is a business entity (online or land-based) that accepts bets on a range of sporting events, horse and greyhound racing and other novelty bets.
  • Bookmaker/Bookie – A group or individual or company (see ‘book’) that accepts wagers on a sports and other events.
  • Cover – Winning by enough to beat the point spread, and you have effectively “covered the spread.”
  • Edge – An advantage (real or perceived) that a sports bettor has before placing a bet.
  • Lines – An alternative term used for odds when outlining a moneyline or points spread.
  • Lock – A potential easy winner or large odds favorite.
  • Moneyline – A simple bet to win ‘straight-up’ without any point spread involved in the wager.
  • OVER– When the total of combined goals, runs or points scored by two sporting teams finishes above the total quoted by a sportsbook.
  • OVER/UNDER – A bet on if the total number of combined goals, runs or points scored by two sporting teams scored by two teams will go OVER or UNDER a particular ’total’ number set by a sportsbook.
  • Parlay – (See explained in detail above). A wager in which multiple sporting events are selected by the sports bettor. Each of the events must occur for the parlay bet to be paid out.
  • Prop Bet – An exotic bet on a game or sporting event other than, and in addition to, the side bet and the total.
  • Spread – Abbreviation for “point spread.”
  • Straight Bet – A single wager on just one team or athlete, usually for the win, most points, most touchdowns etc.
  • Taking the Points – Wagering on the underdog by receiving points Against-the-Spread.
  • UNDER– When the number of combined goals, runs or points scored by two sporting teams finishes below the total quoted by a sportsbook.
  • Underdog – A sporting individual or a sporting team anticipated to lose a sporting event based on the moneyline or points spread.
  • Vigorish – A term for a bookmaker’s commission. Also known colloquially as “juice” or perhaps even referred to as “vig” for short.

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