What States Were Grandfathered in Sports Betting?

As Americans, we love our country. The American spirit is one that seeks to strive for excellence and to be the best at whatever it puts its mind to. Unfortunately, sports in America have taken a backseat to the rat race that is modern life. Few people now care about the outcomes of major sporting events so much that they participate in bets regarding them. This is mainly because it is so difficult to find someone who cares about sports results as much as they care about their social media feed or their favorite TV show. However, those who love sports can still find a way to participate in the games they love through the medium of sports betting. This article is going to tell you which states were grandfathered in sports betting and how you can still get in on the action.

Which States Are Grandfathered In Sports Betting?

When it comes to legal sports betting, the United States is a bit of a contradiction. On the one hand, the country has always been a hub for sports betting. Bookmakers have been present in some capacity in the United States for over a century. The American Journal of Medicine published a study in 2018 that revealed that up to 16.4 million Americans regularly participate in sports betting. That’s a lot of people! It would seem that the United States is well-suited for sports betting, however, the legal landscape has changed. In the last year, lawmakers in several states have started to restrict where and how people can place bets. Fortunately, there are still specific states where you can bet on sports with no restrictions. Here’s a list of the states that legalized sports betting in 2018:


The Grand Canyon State became the seventh state in the nation to allow legal betting on sporting events when it enacted Senate Bill 1082 in 2018. The law allows for-profit and nonprofit casinos and race tracks to offer bookmakers and sportsbook operators and permits them to accept wagers from residents who are at least 21 years old. There are currently 17 bookmakers and 13 tracks in Arizona that offer races on tap for legalized sports fans. You will find bookmakers and tracks in both urban and rural areas of the state, making it easily accessible from almost every location.


The majority of the United States is expected to be in favor of legal sports betting in the next Congressional election, which is likely to put pressure on lawmakers to legalize gambling in some shape or form. One state that has already taken the step to allow for legal sports betting is Arkansas. The state enacted legislation in 2017 that ended up passing both chambers of the legislature and was subsequently signed into law by Governor Mike Beebe. Like most other states, Arkansas allows for-profit and nonprofit casinos and race tracks to operate within its borders. In fact, it is one of the first states to have done so in the modern era. That’s because when the state ratified the Constitution in 1836, it was the only state to have a wagering component. It was later repealed when the 14th Amendment was ratified, which granted full citizenship to former slaves. In 2018, voters in Arkansas will be asked to decide whether or not to continue with sports betting in the state. The initiative is expected to be on the ballot again in 2022.


The Land of the Free is also the home of some of the most vibrant and competitive sports in the world. It is well known as the country where the National Football League (NFL) is headquartered. The San Francisco Bay Area is also home to the Oakland A’s, one of the most iconic and historic sports venues in America. It is currently home to the 2019 MLS Cup which means that the Bay Area is a very busy place right now. Legal sports betting in California is permitted at casinos and racetracks. Like most other states, California allows for-profit and nonprofit casinos and race tracks to operate within its borders. Proposition 57, which was passed in 2016, also allows for anyone over 21 years of age to place sports bets at odds that are set by statute. Individuals who are convicted of felony offenses relating to gambling are still not permitted to place bets, but you have to ask yourself, how is someone who has committed a felony offense more likely to obey the law? It’s like putting a gun to their head and asking them to stay quiet! The state of California has a very competitive sports scene and it is home to a number of professional and semi-professional sports teams. It’s a shame that betting on sports is banned in the Golden State.


The Centennial State has also decided to allow for legal sports betting. The process began when lawmakers passed House Bill 1062 in the Colorado House of Representatives and then the Senate approved the bill by a 24-7 margin. It then went to Governor Jared Polis, who signed the bill into law on April 17, 2018. Colorado is home to the Denver Broncos, who are arguably the most popular sports team in the state. They have a large and passionate fan base which follows the team all over the world. The NFL team plays at the brand new Sports Authority Field at Mile High, which opened in 2018.


Sports betting is also legal in Florida. The state operates under a federal “grandfathering” exemption which grants it permission to continue accepting bets from offshore sportsbooks and online casinos. That exemption was put into law following the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). The only caveat is that the sports betting must be confined to casinos and racetracks within the state. It also can’t be offered at the same time as a “traditional” wagering game, such as blackjack or roulette. This is mainly because traditional games of chance are already regulated by the state and must adhere to certain rules. For example, the house edge in blackjack must be less than 10%. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld this law numerous times and has deemed it to be a violation of the federal Constitution to stop people from betting online due to the UIGEA. In 2019, Florida will be adding a twelfth professional sports team when the Florida Panthers move to the state. Just like in most other states, Florida allows for-profit and nonprofit casinos and race tracks to offer sports betting. However, it is one of the few states where you can also bet on semi-professional sports teams, as long as they are not affiliated with a professional sports league. So, even though you may not agree with the rules, at least you know what they are!


Louisiana is also another state where sports betting is legal. The state’s law allowing for legalized gambling and wagering went into effect on October 1, 2018. Like the other states on this list, Louisiana allows for-profit and nonprofit casinos and race tracks to operate within its borders. It is also one of the few states where one can bet on semi-professional sports teams, so long as they are not affiliated with a professional sports league. The state’s biggest team is arguably the New Orleans Saints. With 22,000 students in their fan group, the student section is sometimes referred to as the “Saints Nest.” Louisiana is also the original home of the National Hockey League (NHL). The state is also the headquarters of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). You would have to go back to the 1940s to find a time when sports didn’t play a huge role in the state of Louisiana. The state has a long history with sports, which is why it is one of the few where you can still bet on sports.


Mainers can also bet on sports in Maine. The law legalizing all forms of gambling passed the state legislature on May 25, 2018 and was signed into law by Governor Janet Mills about two weeks later on June 7. It permits both online and land-based gambling operators to offer sports betting in the state. Like the other states on this list, Maine allows for-profit and nonprofit casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting. However, it is worth noting that the law stipulates that the odds of a game must be set at 1.67 to 1, which is the same as in Las Vegas. This is significant because it prevents any sort of advantage when it comes to games that are being officiated or arbitrated by a professional league. For example, if an NBA game is being played at a place where sports betting is legal, the line for that game will have to be set at 1.67 to 1. This prevents any sort of advantage for the house, which in the long run benefits the fan.