If you wanted to place a bet on an NFL game or a college football contest as recently as just a year or two ago, there were really only two ways for you to do it.
You could jump on a plane and take a trip to Las Vegas, where sports betting has been legal for almost 70 years now. Or you could go the illegal route and make bets through an offshore sports betting site. There were really no other options in between.
But thanks to a Supreme Court ruling passed down in May 2018, finding out how to bet on sports has never been easier than it is today. The ruling gave individual states the power to legalize sports betting, which has made it a lot more accessible to those wishing to plop down bets on sporting events.
Here is how to bet on sports legally.
Find a State Where Sports Betting Is Legal
While the Supreme Court seemingly opened the floodgates back in May by allowing states to determine whether or not to legalize sports betting, wagering on sports is still illegal in most parts of the country.
So before you start betting on sports, you’ll need to check to see which states have legalized sports betting. The states that have started to allow people to bet on sports include:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
- New Mexico
Nevada still offers legalized sports betting, too, both in Las Vegas and in various other parts of the state.
As of right now, these states are the only places in the U.S. where you can place legal sports bets. That could change soon as more states start to allow sports betting (more on that later!), but those six states are serving as the guinea pigs for sports betting at the moment.
Visit a Sportsbook in That State
If you live in one of the six states that we just mentioned or if you live within driving distance of one of them, you’re free to visit them for sports betting purposes.
Before you do, you’ll want to do some research to find out where the sportsbooks in the state are located. Sportsbooks are the places where you can place bets and collect winnings if the team you bet on is victorious.
There are some states that currently offer more sportsbook options than others. New Jersey, for example, has been preparing for legalized sports betting for months now. So as soon as sports betting became legal over the summer, sportsbooks started opening up in different places throughout the state.
Other states, like New Mexico, don’t have quite as many options at this time. But the thought is that sportsbooks will become more and more prevalent in the states in which sports betting has been legalized. So you shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking one down.
Sign Up for an Online Sportsbook Account in That State
If you enjoy sports betting, you should 100 percent make it a point to visit a sportsbook in a state in which gambling on sports has been legalized. It’s an experience that is unlike any other for sports fans.
But if you’re going to gamble on games on a pretty regular basis, running back and forth to the sportsbook might not be an option for you. It also might not be an option if your home isn’t situated near a sportsbook.
Fortunately, just about all of the sportsbooks that have opened up throughout the country so far also offer online sportsbook options. You can sign up for a sportsbook account in a state where sports betting is legal and start placing bets online right away.
It’s worth noting that you will need to be in a state where sports betting is legal to take advantage of online sportsbooks. You won’t be able to sign into them if you live in a state where betting on sports is still illegal.
But as long as you’re inside the borders of a state where sports betting is legal, you can benefit from using an online sportsbook.
Keep Tabs on Other States Legalizing Sports Betting
Although sports betting is only legal in six states as of today, there are several states that have passed bills that will likely result in sports betting being legalized in them soon. Those states include New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
There are also many states with legalized sports betting bills on the table right now. They could conceivably pass those bills in the months to come. Those states include:
- South Carolina
- And even Washington, D.C.
If you live in or near any of these states, you should monitor news about sports betting closely. It might only be a matter of time before these states get on board with the idea of legalized sports betting, and when they do, it’ll make it simple for you to place bets on sports.
There are also, unfortunately, more than 25 states that are still yet to pass sports gambling bills. But that doesn’t mean they won’t get with the program at some point. Check back on the progress that’s being made in those states early and often to see if any of them decide to make a push to legalize sports betting.
Learn More About How to Bet on Sports Today
Despite the fact that more than half of the U.S. states are still holding out when it comes to legalizing sports betting, there is hope for sports bettors. It sure seems like more and more Americans are starting to accept sports betting as part of the culture.
That means you won’t have to resort to flying out to Vegas or signing up for an account on a shady sportsbook site anymore when you’re wondering how to bet on sports. You can visit reputable sportsbooks right in your state and place bets without having to worry about any legal consequences.
Do you want to increase your chances of winning big money the next time you step into a sportsbook? Utilize some of these gaming strategies to increase your chances of walking out a winner.