How to Get a Sports Betting License in Your State

For years, sports betting has been considered a “Wild West” activity, operating outside of the law and regulated only by individual states’ laws. But, over the past decade, many states have gotten on board with legal sports betting, and today, 48 states and the District of Columbia allow for some form of legal sports betting. In this article, we will discuss the steps you can take to get a sports betting license in your state.

Get Preregistration

To get started, you will need to preregister with the National Association of State Gaming Authorities (“NASGA”). Once you’ve registered, you will receive an email notifying you of any upcoming pre-licensing examinations. You will also need to register with the individual regulatory agencies in your state, including:

  • The Alabama Gaming Commission
  • The Alaska Gaming Commission
  • The Arizona Racing Commission (part 1)
  • The Arizona Racing Commission (part 2)
  • The Arkansas Racing Commission
  • The California Gaming Commission
  • Delaware Online Gaming Commission
  • Maryland Gaming Commission
  • Massachusetts Gaming Commission
  • Nevada Gaming Commission
  • New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
  • Puerto Rico Police Department Gaming Control Board
  • South Dakota Gaming Accountability Commission
  • Texas Racing Commission
  • Virginia Racing Commission
  • Washington State Liquor and Gaming Commission
  • West Virginia Gaming Commission

You will then have to pass a background check and drug test, as well as complete at least 8 hours of classroom training. After passing all of these pre-licensing exams, you can then apply for a state gaming license. Finally, you will need to pay a $5,000 licensing fee and a $10,000 renewal fee.

Apply For A Full License

Once you have a pre-licensing exam pass, you can then apply for a full state gaming license. To be considered for a full license in your state, you must submit the following documents:

  • Copy of your drivers license
  • Proof of residency (such as a utility bill or lease agreement)
  • A credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or Amex)
  • A copy of your passport
  • Three years of tax returns
  • A financial statement (this is often referred to as a “Penny Plan” or a “Dollar Debit”)
  • Three months of bank statements
  • Copy of your ID card (such as a passport or drivers license)
  • A non-refundable fee of $5,000 + $10,000 payment for annual license

You must also pass a background check, complete at least three hours of continuing education, and comply with all state and federal regulations. If you are able to comply with all of these requirements and have all of these documents ready, you should have no problem getting a full license in your state.

License Requirements

Once you have a full state gaming license, you are then able to operate a sports book or wagering account. To operate a sports book or wagering account, you must first purchase a point-of-sale (“POS”) system from a licensed vendor. Next, you must register the system with the state licensing agency. Upon registering, the agency will give you a PIN number and login information. To open a sports book or wagering account, you must then deposit $5,000 (for new accounts) or $10,000 (for reopened accounts) in cash. Finally, you must fund the account with at least $20,000 in cash or a certified check from an outside bank.

Tax Implications

The gross proceeds of a wagering activity (including winnings) are considered “legitimate gambling winnings” and are taxed according to the individual state’s laws (not the federal government). However, the IRS has ruled that deposits made into a sports book or wagering account constitute ordinary income and are taxed at ordinary income tax rates. This means that, if you are a tax payer, you will need to pay tax on all winnings ($5,000 for individual tax filers; $10,000 for married individuals filing jointly).


While most states require casinos to be licensed by the government, only four states (Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have completely prohibited gambling. Because these four states have no legal structure for casino or gambling licenses, this leaves the “wild west” unregulated activity known as “betting” on the books. But that doesn’t mean that self-regulation is bad!

It should be pointed out that many of the states that do not allow for public or casino gambling have established tribal gaming authorities. If you are a member of a Native American tribe, you may be able to get permission to play certain games of chance (not involving bingo or lottery tickets) at your tribal casinos. Unfortunately, even members of Native American tribes are prohibited from operating a gambling or casino business outside of the tribe’s reservation. Therefore, if you are not a member of a Native American tribe and want to operate a non-tribal casino, you will need to look into getting a state gaming license in order to legally do so.


Although many states allow for the legal operation of casinos and other forms of gambling, the industry still faces a lot of challenges. One of the biggest issues is that, in most cases, casinos are limited to a single location. This can create a problem where there is not enough competition, and therefore, the casinos can manipulate the game prices and limit the number of people able to play. Additionally, even in states with multiple casinos, residents are often required to travel long distances to get to a “friendly” place. Where is your state located? How far is your closest casino from your home? These are just some of the questions a person considering wagering might ask themselves.

How To Get A Sports Betting License In Your State

If you want to get a sports betting license in your state, you should start by looking into the requirements for the industry in your particular location. Then, you can determine whether or not you meet the minimum requirements for licensure. If you do not meet the minimum requirements, you may still be able to obtain a license, but it may be harder to do so. Be sure to check with the state licensing agency to see what the requirements are for obtaining a license in your state.