Legal Gambling in the USA Timeline
To see how far regulated gambling in the USA has come, we have made this timeline to show over 90 years worth of history. From the legalization in Nevada, up to the present day and a look at the states who are still to legalize gambling.
1931 – Introduction of legalized gambling in Nevada.
1949 – First government-sanctioned sportsbook opens in Las Vegas
1975 – First brick-and-mortar sportsbook inside a casino opens in Las Vegas, Nevada.
1961 – Wire Act passed to target racketeering. The act made it expressly illegal to use wire communication (phones, telegrams, and other means) to pass information that assisted in betting on sports.
1984 – Congress reduces tax on sportsbooks from 2% to 0.5%, making them even more economically viable.
1993 (January 1st) – Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) passed, expressly prohibiting states from either allowing or offering any sports betting services related to either professional or amateur sports. The entire state of Nevada is “grandfathered”, meaning Vegas sportsbooks are exempt of the legislation.
1996 – First online bet is placed at Austrian-based Intertops sportsbook.
2006 – Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed, criminalizing the act of accepting money from any person who was a part of an unlawful online gambling operation occurring on US soil. Online books are forced to go “offshore”.
2011 (April 15th) – Criminal case brought against three of the largest online poker companies operating, effectively wiping out the entire industry in the U.S.
2012 (January) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signs legislation allowing sports betting in the state, a move that would ultimately help lead to repeal of PASPA.
2013 – New Jersey online casinos and poker sites begin operating.
March 10th – West Virginia legalizes sports betting, making way for August 2018 launch.
May 14th – U.S. Supreme Court repeals federal law (PASPA) preventing individual states from regulating sports betting. The law had been passed on January 1st 1993.
June 5th – Legal sports betting begins in Delaware at the state’s three casinos. The Delaware Lottery is charged with regulation and oversight of the industry.
June 14th – First retail sportsbooks open in New Jersey.
August 1st – Legal sports betting begins in Mississippi albeit limited to water- and land-based casinos.
August 6th – DraftKings Sportsbook app, created under a partnership with Kambi and casino license of Resorts, becomes first legal online option for New Jersey bettors. playMGM and SugarHouse Sportsbooks launch in the same month.
August 30th – soft launch of retail sports betting in West Virginia at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town, as a result of partnership with Penn Gaming National and DraftKings. Full launch two days later.
September – New Jersey online bettors get five further options: BetStars Sportsbook (later rebranded to FOX Bet Sept. 2019), FanDuel Sportsbook, William Hill Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook.
September 13th – FanDuel opens retail sportsbook at The Casino Club at The Greenbrier (a private club) in West Virginia.
October 16th – sports betting starts at the tribally-owned Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel, New Mexico.
November 17th – William Hill in partnership with Hollywood Casino launch Pennsylvania’s first retail sportsbook.
November 21st – William Hill launches third retail sportsbook in West Virginia in partnership with Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort.
December 11th – PointsBet NJ Sportsbook soft launch (full launch Jan. 2019). The Australian company introduces a new way to bet – ‘PointsBetting’ – to a U.S. audience.
December 15th – SugarHouse Sportsbook and Rivers Sportsbook PA launch out of temporary locations in Pennsylvania.
December 28th – First sports betting app, BetLucky.com, launches in West Virginia.
March 7th – BetLucky.com ceases operations due to legal dispute between owner Delaware North and supplier, Mionmi. Bettors in the Mountaineer State left without mobile options until Aug.26.
March 13th – FanDuel launch retail sportsbook at the Valley Forge Casino.
May 3rd – Legal sports betting in Montana signed into law; launch pending regulations being finalized.
May 8th – Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signs a sports betting bill into law, allowing statewide wagering.
May 28th – Mobile betting begins in Pennsylvania with launch of SugarHouse Sportsbook betting app.
May 13th – Sports betting legalized in Iowa.
June – Parx Sportsbook and BetRivers online/mobile sportsbooks launch in Pennsylvania.
June 28th – Illinois Gov. J.B. Prtitzker signs sports betting bill into law, but industry not expected to launch until 2020.
July 1st – Legal sports betting starts in Arkansas at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. Mobile wagering not allowed in the state currently.
July 1st – Online sports wagering legalized in Tennessee. All betting must be done online or via a mobile device as no casinos in the state. Expected launch in second half of 2020.
July 12th – New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signs sports betting bill into law. Target launch date is July 1, 2020.
July 16th – Almost six years after first becoming legal, New York sports betting becomes reality at the Rivers Casino, Schenectady. Mobile/online betting currently off the table, but that could change in 2020.
July 22nd – FanDuel Sportsbook PA goes live in Keystone State.
July 26th – Sports betting is legalized in North Carolina but only at retail locations initially. Early 2020 launch anticipated.
August 15th – legal sports betting – both retail and mobile – starts in Iowa at eight of the state’s authorized casinos (18 of the 19 casinos given approval). Bettors have to first register in person and through to Jan. 1 2021.
August 26th – FanDuel Sportsbook mobile app goes live in West Virginia.
August 27th – legal sports betting hits the West Coast with launch of retail sportsbook at the tribally-owned Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City.
August 28th – DraftKings Sportsbook mobile app goes live in West Virginia.
September 1st – retail sports betting starts in Indiana, with ceremonial first bets placed at the Caesars Indiana Grand Casino in Shelbyville by Gov. Holcomb.
September 4th – Rhode Island launches mobile sports betting at one casino with legal minimum age set at 18. Bettors have to first create accounts in person.
September 12th – Fox Sports launch FOX-Bet-branded app in Pennsylvania, the first of its kind by a U.S. media company.
September 24th – Kindred Group, in partnership with Mohegan Sun Pocono, launch Unibet-branded retail sportsbook.
October 3rd – Draftkings and BetRivers (Rush Street Interactive) launch mobile apps in Indiana.
October 3rd – Ted Leonsis, the owner of Capital One Arena, Washington D.C., signs deal with William Hill. Construction of sportsbook – the first inside a U.|S. Sports venue – to begin after all required regulatory approvals.
October 11th – The Meadows officially becomes the 10th Pennsylvania casino with a retail sportsbook, following a soft launch two days earlier.
October 16th – Oregon State Lottery launches Scoreboard app, becoming first lottery in the U.S. to offer online sports betting.
October 20th – after a rocky start, the Scoreboard app hits one million dollars in wagers and despite absence of any NCAA games. Bettors must visit the Chinook Winds Casino to place these in person.
October 22nd – FanDuel launch mobile betting product in Indiana through a partnership with Blue Chip Casino and Belterra Casino.
As of 2019, October 24th, there are 13 U.S. states with legal, regulated sports betting industries (either retail, mobile or both), as follows:
Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Arkansas, New York, Iowa, Indiana, Oregon and New Mexico*.
*not strictly legal but offered under existing tribal gaming compact.
Projected to legalize in 2020
11 states in total: Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia.
Projected to legalize in 2021
Seven states in total: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland and Texas.
Legal sports betting nowhere in sight
14 states in total: Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
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