Official betting is one of the fastest-growing segments in sports entertainment. But for the casual fan or even seasoned sports “sharp,” some aspects of the market can be confusing. This guide to legal betting is designed to give sports bettors a clearer understanding of the industry.
The Supreme Court ruled in May 2018 that the federal law banning sports gambling in all but four states is unconstitutional and void. The American Gaming Association, the industry’s trade group, backed the ruling and has supported state-based regulation ever since. The group argues that a black market of illegal betting thrives where sports betting is not regulated and has been shown to increase problem gambling, which can lead to addiction and other serious societal issues.
New Jersey was one of the first states to legalize and launch sports betting after the Supreme Court ruling. Retail sportsbooks opened in November 2018, with online betting following a month later. SugarHouse was the first to offer an NJ sportsbook app, with DraftKings and FanDuel launching their apps shortly after. BetRivers and PointsBet also offer options for bettors in the Garden State.
Voters in Maryland approved sports betting in a 2022 referendum, and the state legislature followed suit by legalizing retail and online wagering in 2021. The state’s new gambling compact with its tribal casinos allows for a maximum of 15 sportsbooks to open, and several operators are already active in the market.