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How to Choose the Best Betting Site in Your State
Legalized sports betting has become a reality in several American states and it will soon be a reality in several more. This is welcome news for those who were previously shut out of the legal online gambling market. No longer do they need to tippy-toe around draconian gambling laws. Instead, they can now partake in online sports betting knowing they are well protected and treated fairly.
Before you place your first legal bet, you must first find a sports betting site that legally operates in your state. Don’t just sign up at the first one you come across. You want to select a sportsbook that best suits your gambling needs. There are certain things that you should look for in an online sports betting site. Let’s cover some of the most important requirements.
Sports betting might be legal in your state, but that doesn’t mean that every online sportsbook is operating legally. One of the first things you should do when looking for a bookmaker is to make sure that it is licensed and regulated in your state. For instance, if you live in New Jersey, confirm that the site operates under the authority of the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
If you are in Pennsylvania, then make sure the site is authorized by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. By doing so, you ensure that the bookie operates to the highest industry standards and you’ll be afforded maximum player protection.
Do you like to wager on tennis? If so, it only makes sense that you choose a sports betting site that offers odds on tennis. Furthermore, you want a site that offers a lot more than just sides and totals. The best bookmakers for tennis picks offer odds on game spreads, set spreads, and a variety of other propositions. No matter what sports you like to bet on, be certain that the bookmaker you choose serves up the most betting options on those sports.
Making money from sports betting is no easy task. Wagering with a bookmaker that offers bad odds only makes things harder. Why would you risk $100 to win $80 at one sportsbook when you could wager that same $100 at another sports betting site to win $90? That would be like paying $100 for a pair of shoes at one store when the same pair is on sale next door for $80. Getting the best odds means you stand to win more money when you win your bets.
You can’t place any bets until you fund your account. Most bookmakers accept major credit/debit cards. As convenient as these are for making deposits, not all of them can be used for withdrawals. Then there’s the issue of fees. EWallets like PayPal and Skrill facilitate deposits and withdrawal and the fees are generally pretty reasonable.
If you don’t have a bank account or credit card, you’ll need to find a sports betting site that allows wire transfers, pre-paid options, or cash payments at a retail outlet. That way, you can just use the cash in your pocket to bet with. Make sure your bookie supports a payment method that suits you.
Bonuses and Promotions
Almost all sports betting sites offer some kind of a welcome bonus such as free bets or bonus cash. You should choose one that offers you the best value. For instance, you may see a 50% match bonus up to $1,000. That’s great if you plan on depositing $2,000, but it isn’t so wonderful if you are only going to deposit $100. You’d only get a $50 bonus.
You would be much better off finding a 100% match bonus up to $100. That would allow you to get the most value out of it. And don’t just settle for a great welcome bonus. Choose a bookmaker that has bonus and promotions beyond the initial signup offer. You should be able to take advantage of betting bonuses such as reload bonuses and other free bet offers.
Legal Betting Sites
The Supreme Court of the United States’ decision to overturn PASPA was a seminal moment in the legalization of sports betting in the US. Since that day in 2018, several states have introduced legalized sports gambling while others are working on it. Prior to this, anyone who was determined to bet on sports either had to use illegal bookies or take their chances with offshore sites.
Neither of those options provides much player protection. If your local bookie doesn’t want to pay you, then there isn’t much you can do about it. The same could be said of offshore sites. Even though many offshore bookmakers are very reputable, they are really only able to protect players within their own jurisdictions.
Sports betting sites that are licensed and regulated in the United States must operate honestly and openly. They are subject to severe repercussions if they don’t live up to the high standards that regulatory authorities demand of them. Sports bettors who use a legal sports betting site in their state can rest assured that they are well protected and that they will always get promptly paid.
It isn’t too hard to find out if a site is legal. In most cases, you can simply scroll to the bottom of the main page and look for the licensing authority’s logo. As mentioned above, if you are in New Jersey, look for the Division of Gaming Enforcement’s logo.
In Colorado, you would look for the Division of Gaming’s logo. If a sports betting site that you are looking at does not display the appropriate licensing information, you should probably avoid it. You can always refer to the state’s gambling regulator if you are unsure about a bookmaker’s legal status.
Sports Betting Laws
Sports betting laws vary from state to state. For example, some states allow betting on college sports while others don’t. Some allow betting on college sports only if the match is taking place outside of the state. The legal gambling age also varies. Most states require bettors to be at least 21 while others allow bettors as young as 18.
The most common rule that sports bettors will come across is that they are only able to place legal wagers if they are physically in the same state as the bookmaker. If you are in Iowa, you may only place a bet with an Iowa bookmaker. You won’t be able to place a bet with a sportsbook located outside the state.
American bookmakers use geolocation technology to track where bettors are. If the software detects that you are outside the state’s boundaries, you will be blocked from placing bets. If you plan on sports betting, it’s a good idea to learn about your local gambling laws.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in the United States?
As we close out 2020, sports betting is legal in more than two dozen states. A few other states including Virginia and Louisiana have legalized sports betting, but they have yet to launch it. Then there are states such as Georgia and Maine in which legal sports betting may happen in the next couple of years.
North Dakota, Minnesota, and Connecticut are among over a dozen states that have introduced bills, but haven’t yet passed them. Sports bettors in Idaho, Wisconsin, and Utah may never live to see sports betting legalized in their state.
States Where Sports Betting is Legal
NJ Sports Betting
Legalized New Jersey sports betting has been a smashing success so far. In September 2020, New Jersey sportsbooks set a single-month record for any state when they accepted more than $748 million in wagers. That record didn’t stand for long as New Jersey bookmakers topped the $800 million mark the following month. New Jersey sportsbooks are on track to crack the $4 billion plateau in 2020.
Sports betting was officially introduced to the Garden State shortly after the landmark PASPA ruling in 2018. Governor Murphy placed the first legal wager at William Hill’s Monmouth Park sportsbook on June 18 of that year. Since then, the number of legal online sportsbooks has grown to 17. They are:
|DraftKings||William Hill||BetMGM||Bet America|
|FoxBet||Caesars||Golden Nugget||Hard Rock|
Currently, New Jersey does not allow betting on college games played in New Jersey. Nor does it allow bettors to wager on games involving New Jersey college teams. Lawmakers are trying to amend this law. In November 2020, a constitutional amendment was officially introduced which could clear the way for expanded betting on college sports.
Because these online betting sites have partnerships with various New Jersey casinos, most of them have retail outlets. These sportsbooks are state-of-the-art facilities that feature loads of big screen televisions, live odds tickers, and plenty of comfortable seating.
During their operational hours, you can place your wagers in-person with a teller or use an automated betting kiosk. Of course, most people place their bets online using their desktop computers or native apps. All of the above-mentioned sports betting sites have fantastic apps for iOS and Android devices.
Best Sportsbook in New Jersey
Go to BetMGM
Promo code: USBONUS500
PA Sports Betting
Sports bettors in Pennsylvania rejoiced when the state legalized sports betting in late 2018. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racetrack was the first bookie to accept a bet. Sportsbooks at SugarHouse and Rivers opened for business shortly after. With BetMGM’s Pennsylvania launch in December 2020, sports bettors in the Keystone State now have 10 sports betting apps to choose from. They are:
Like New Jersey, Pennsylvania had already approved sports betting prior to the PASPA reversal. Once the Supreme Court rendered its decision, Pennsylvania was ready to go and was one of the first states to enter the market. In addition to the eleven retail sportsbooks and 10 apps, a few other operators are expected to join the fray in 2021.
Barstool sportsbook is one of the latest bookmakers to go live in the state. It took in more than $11 million over its first weekend in business. With a $10 million licensing fee and one of the nation’s highest tax rates for operators, Pennsylvania is one of the most expensive markets for bookmakers to enter. This isn’t exactly welcome news to sports bettors as they have fewer bookmakers to choose from compared with many other states.
Unlike New Jersey and a few other states, sports bettors are allowed to wager on all college events regardless of where they are held. As you may expect, betting on high school sports is strictly forbidden.
Best Sportsbook in Pennsylvania
Go to BetMGM
Promo code: USBONUS500
CO Sports Betting
Legalized Colorado sports betting was made official in November 2019. That made it the 18th state to legalize sports betting in the post-PASPA era. FanDuel and DraftKings, who both lobbied hard to introduce sports betting to Colorado, were the first to launch their online platforms. They also operate retail outlets at several casinos within the state. Colorado bettors have plenty of online options at their disposal including:
|Elite Sportsbook||Fox Bet||SBK Sportsbook||BetWildwood|
|BetFred||Sky Ute Sportsbook||The Score||William Hill|
In addition to these bookmakers, there are eight more set to launch.
- Wynn resorts
- SuperBook USA
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Digital Gaming Corporation
- Internet Sports International
- International Game Technology
PointsBet is also expected to be up and running in the near future after partnering with Double Eagle Casino. PointsBet is famous for offering a very unique betting option and should quickly become popular with Colorado’s sports betting community.
Colorado is now a sports betting paradise. A huge selection of bookmakers means that bettors in the state can cash in on loads of bonuses and promotions. They can also shop around for the best odds and wager on a huge list of betting markets.
College sports are available for wagering no matter where the teams are from or where the event is taking place. As long as you are at least 21 years old and physically with Colorado’s state lines, you can place your bets in-person at a retail outlet or by using your desktop or mobile device. Most of Colorado’s bookmakers have apps for iOS and Android.
Best Sportsbook in Colorado
Go to William Hill
Promo code: USSPORTSRF
IL Sports Betting
The introduction of legalized Illinois sports betting hasn’t gone as smoothly as anticipated. There have been a series of delays and legal issues that caused complications for some of the heavyweight brands to enter the market. For instance, BetRivers lobbied hard to keep bigger national bookmakers out of the market. Efforts eventually failed.
The original plan required all bettors to register in person which many consider to be a bit of a hassle. However, with the events of 2020, this restriction has been temporarily lifted and bettors can register online. Nobody knows how long it will be before in-person registration is once again in effect.
Another thing that bettors might not like is the ban on betting on college teams in the state. That essentially eliminates about 5% of the slate during the college football season and a bit more during college basketball season. To add to this, bookmakers are required to purchase official league data which adds to operational costs which is then passed on to bettors. While more bookmakers are expected to go live in the near future, Illinois sports betting enthusiasts can wager online at:
- William Hill
There are also a few retail sportsbooks located throughout the state including:
- Rivers Casino in Des Plaines
- Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
- Grand Victoria Casino Elgin
- Argosy Casino Alton
- Casino Queen
- Hollywood Casino Joliet
- Hollywood Casino Aurora
- Fairmount Park
- Hawthorne Race Course
The minimum age for sports betting in Illinois is 21. You can place bets in-person at land-based outlets or by using your PC or mobile device as long as you are with the state’s boundaries. This requirement is standard in states with legalized online sports betting.
Best Sportsbook in Illinois
Go to PointsBet
Promo code: USBONUS
IN Sports Betting
Even though all signs pointed to legalized sports betting in Indiana in 2018, the word didn’t officially come down until early May 2019. DraftKings and BetRivers were the first to offer online sports betting. BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and PointsBet followed suit in the spring of 2020. There are now nine sports betting apps available to those in Indiana.
Legal sports betting in Indiana is off to a good start. Sportsbooks in the state generated close to $1 billion in wagers during their first eight months which added about $7 million to the state’s coffers. September 2020 was a particularly good month as bookmakers set a single-month record by taking in a little over $207 million worth of bets. In addition to the aforementioned betting apps, retail sportsbooks are operating in 13 establishments. They are:
- Indiana Grand Casino Shelbyville
- Ameristar Casino East Chicago
- Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg
- Caesars Southern Indiana Hotel & Casino
- Tropicana Evansville Casino
- Winners Circle New Haven
- Winners Circle Downtown Indianapolis
- Winners Circle Clarksville
- Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Anderson
- French Lick Casino
- Bluechip Casino Michigan City
- Belterra Casino in Florence
- Horseshoe Hammond Casino
Indiana sportsbooks offer a great selection of betting markets and options. The only things sportsbooks can’t offer are eSports, college player props, and under-18 amateur sports. Interestingly, live betting is limited to breaks in gameplay such as commercials, timeouts, or the end of quarters, period, or innings.
The Indiana Gaming Commission is also considering a request from the NCAA to prohibit live betting on some college games. It is also worth mentioning that unlike so many other states that have legalized sports betting, Indiana has yet to legalize online casinos and online poker.
Best Sportsbook in Indiana
Go to PointsBet
Promo code: USBONUS
TN Sports Betting
Tennessee is one of the latest states to follow the trend of legalized sports betting. Tennessee sports betting was officially launched on November 1, 2020. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and the locally owned Action 24/7 were the first bookmakers to launch. They remain the only ones currently in operation although other brands such as William Hill, BetAmerica, and WynnBet are just waiting for approval from the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
One of the things that Tennessee has done differently is that sports bettors can only place wagers online. This means Tennessee sports bettors won’t be able to place their wagers and chill out in a retail sportsbook. Another inconvenient thing is the state’s 10% hold. This basically means that bettors will be paying a lot more juice.
For example, instead of wagering on the Titans to cover the spread at -110, you’ll have to bet them at -120. This could create an unlevel playing field. Those who already bet at offshore sites may not be too motivated to switch to Tennessee-based bookie. Furthermore, Tennessee bookmakers may lose some business to neighboring states like Arkansas and Mississippi that don’t charge this egregious fee. North Carolina and Virginia could also cut into Tennessee’s action when they are functional. Fortunately, state officials have the power to change these rules.
There are a couple of other things that Tennessee sports bettors should know. On the positive side, sportsbooks can offer odds for college games that take place inside and outside of the state. On the downside, you won’t be able to place in-play wagers on college sports.
Furthermore, because Tennessee bookies must purchase official league data, the number of live betting options may be limited. Perhaps one of the worst things about sports betting in Tennessee is the cap on payouts for parlays and future bets.
If the odds on the Tennessee Titans to win the Super Bowl were, say, 100-1, the sportsbook could cap you at 50-1. If you placed a two-team parlay with combined odds of 2.5-1, you may be capped at just 2-1. It sucks, but at least you can still enjoy sports betting.
Best Sportsbook in Tennessee
Go to BetMGM
Promo code: USBONUS500
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, often referred to as PASPA, essentially prohibited sports betting on a federal level. While some states such as Nevada were exempt, it pretty much put the kibosh on sports gambling everywhere else.
However, things drastically changed in 2018 when the Supreme Court of the United States deemed the act to be unconstitutional and reversed it. This meant that the legality of sports betting would be left in the hands of individual states. Since then, nearly two dozen states have legalized sports betting and many others are either in the process or considering it.
Generally speaking, bookmakers in states that have legal sports betting offer fair odds. With that said, they might not be quite as good as they are at some offshore sites due to such things as hefty licensing fees, high tax rates, and being required to purchase official league data. As you would expect, these added costs are passed on to the bettor through higher juice.
The following states have legal online sports betting:
– New Hampshire
– New Jersey
– Rhode Island
– West Virginia
– Washington DC
The following states have legalized sports betting, but have not yet given online betting the nod.
– Michigan (Pending)
– New Mexico
– New York
The following states have approved sports betting, but it hasn’t officially launched yet. They are expected to be up and running in 2021.
– North Carolina
– South Dakota
Because legalization is under the authority of individual states, each state has its own regulatory authority.
Technically, the answer is no. However, it isn’t too difficult for bettors who live in states with no legal sports betting to find a trustworthy offshore site that accepts Americans. By no means are we encouraging illegal gambling, we’re merely stating facts. You could also visit a nearby state that offers legal sports betting and wager there.
While your payment options vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, the most popular payment methods include:
– Major Credit/Debit Cards
– Online Bank Transfer
– Play+ Prepaid Cards
– Cash at Casino Cage
– Wire Transfer
Before you choose a payment method, you should consider the transaction fees and whether your selected method facilitates both deposits and withdrawals. Of course, you can simply go to the betting window to place your bets and cash out your winnings if you are at a retail sportsbook.