How to Bet on Sports in the US

Are you a football fan or a basketball enthusiast? Do you watch sporting events every weekend and want to be more involved? Do you want to learn how to make real money online betting on all your favorite sports teams?

You have come to the right place!

We bring you news and updates on the legal status of online sports betting in each state. We also talk about the legality of using offshore sites that accept US players, so even if sports betting is not legal where you live, there are still options for you! Then the important part: we give you the best offshore sportsbooks that accept US players. Think great coverage, huge bonuses, and safe secure payments.

Put simply, here is a guide to everything you need to know about betting on sports online.

Best Offshore Sportsbook Sites for US Players

betonline.ag

The best sports coverage from US and worldwide events as well as horse race betting and eSports. Plus up to 50% free play!

sportsbetting.ag

Offers a great sports coverage and interesting wagers. They also have a good selection of deposit and withdrawal methods.

bookmaker logo

Offering a sportsbook with exceptional coverage, a separate racebook. Get bonuses when joining and referring friends!

US States With Legal Sports Betting

After the repeal of PASPA in 2018, many US states are starting to legalize land-based and mobile sports betting. Some states have legalized both retail and online sportsbooks, some have legalized one or the other, and others have a pile of failed bills on the desk. On top of that, some states that have made sports betting legal have yet to actually roll out any retail or mobile sportsbooks.

Sounds confusing? Here is a summary of all the states that have legalized intrastate sports betting and the respective launch dates:

StateIs retail sports betting legal?When did retail sportsbooks launch?Is online sports betting legal?When did mobile sportsbooks launch?
ArkansasYesJuly 2019NoN/A
ColoradoYesMay 2020YesMay 2020
DelawareYesJune 2018NoN/A
IllinoisYesJune 2020YesJune 2020
IndianaYesSeptember 2020YesOctober 2019
IowaYesAugust 2019YesAugust 2019
MichiganYesMarch 2020YesTBC
MississippiYesAugust 2018NoN/A
MontanaYesMarch 2020YesMarch 2020
NevadaYes1949Yes2010
New HampshireYesTBCYesDecember 2019
New JerseyYesJune 2018YesAugust 2018
New YorkYesJuly 2019NoN/A
North CarolinaYesTBCNoN/A
OregonYesAugust 2019YesOctober 2019
PennsylvaniaYesNovember 2018YesMay 2019
Rhode IslandYesJune 2018YesSeptember 2019
TennesseeNoN/AYesTBC
VirginiaYesTBCYesTBC
WashingtonYesTBCYesTBC
West VirginiaYesAugust 2018YesDecember 2018

As you can see, there is still a long way to go. Out of the 50 US states, only 21 have legalized sports betting of some kind. Of these 21 states where sports betting is legal, only 15 states have permitted the use of online and mobile sportsbooks. Of these 15 states where mobile sports betting is allowed, only 9 states have one or more live sportsbook apps.

If you live in a state where online sports betting is not legal or live, no problem! In pretty much all state laws, there is no prohibition of using offshore sites to bet on sports.

Sports Betting in Other States

Offshore vs State-Run Online Sportsbooks

When selecting a sportsbook website or app to use, you have two options: using an offshore online sportsbook or a state-run online sportsbook.

  • State-run sportsbooks are websites and apps offering sporting wagers that are operated from and licensed and monitored by the state. You can only use a state-based sportsbook if you are physically located in a state where (1) mobile sports betting is legal and (2) mobile sportsbooks have gone live. Never use a site operating from within the US that is not overseen by the state as these sites are illegal.
  • Offshore sportsbooks are websites and apps offering sporting wagers that are operated from another country. These are not monitored or regulated by the state and so often get a bad reputation as there are scam sites out there. However, all legitimate offshore sportsbook sites are licensed and regulated by the country they operate from and are safe. Many great offshore sites accept US players regardless of which state you live in.

For the purposes of this site, we aim to review and recommend offshore gambling sites so that players from all over the United States can enjoy online sports betting. Our sites are all licensed, safe, reputable, and can be played from inside the US.

Offshore Sportsbook Reviews

For help in choosing an offshore sportsbook, take a look at our sportsbook reviews. The sites we recommend are all licensed in their respective countries and offer great bonuses for new players, outstanding sports coverage, and fair odds. Some also come with live betting options and mobile apps!

betonline.ag

The best sports coverage from US and worldwide events as well as horse race betting and eSports. Plus up to 50% free play!

mybookie

The new kid on the block offering the biggest coverage and video game simulation bets on a clutter-free platform.

Coin Royale Bitcoin Casino

A Bitcoin online casino that offers sports bets. Great for players interested in casino games and sport!

Bet Now

Offering better odds than many top providers and the newspapers with the option to bet on eSports & racing too.

sportsbetting.ag

Offers a great sports coverage and interesting wagers. They also have a good selection of deposit and withdrawal methods.

888sport logo

The sports arm of the 888 brand and is popular due to its history and ties. Plus it covers 35 different markets!

Bovadal ogo

Place bets on all major events around the globe! Offers options such as parlays and round robins.

bookmaker logo

Offering a sportsbook with exceptional coverage, a separate racebook. Get bonuses when joining and referring friends!

bet365

A UK-based company offering live game streaming and exciting in-play betting for in the moment action! Don’t forget the welcome bonus!

America Card Room Logo

Taking wagers of $1 up to $5,000, Americas Cardroom specializes in US sporting events.

How to Select an Offshore Online Sportsbook

As you can see, there are quite a lot of online sportsbooks on offer. Even more online sportsbooks will come up from a quick Google search. So, how do you select which one to use? Here are a few things you should consider when choosing an offshore sportsbook.

Legitimacy and Reputation

The most important thing to consider is if the sports betting site you are using is safe and legitimate. All the sites that we recommend are legal, licensed, and trusted. If not using one of our suggestions, dig deep before creating an account.

Key things to look for when determining whether an online sportsbook is legitimate is proof of regulation. You should also check what payment methods are available and only use sites with encrypted payments and low withdrawal fees. Good customer support is also essential and a good indication of legitimacy. Always opt for live chat and telephone over email support where it could take days for you to get any response!

Design and Functionality of the Site

The website you are planning to join should have a good design and user-friendly interface as it defines your betting experience. You can hardly enjoy your online betting experience if a site crashes frequently and not-easy to navigate! You can quickly check this by visiting the site before joining, and scrolling through it to check out its design. An excellent site clearly features the available sports to bet on.

If you are interested in mobile betting so you can place wagers on the go it is also essential to see whether a mobile app is available. Some sportsbooks might have a great website, but their app might lack substantial features, lag a lot, or appear cluttered. Always check the design of whichever platform you will be using.

Broad Range of Betting Odds & Coverage

Do some research across the websites. Check what sports are offered on the site and how the odds compare against other online sportsbooks.

If you want to bet on just one sport, make sure the site offers odds on that sports. It is also essential to make sure there are betting odds offered on future events. An excellent sportsbook will enable you to make wagers on events months before they take place. Who doesn’t want to bet on who will win the Super Bowl of the World Series?!

Bonuses & Promotions

Good promotions for members, both new and existing, are an effective way to increase your winnings as it swells your betting account. However, do not be drawn in by high figures alone! Some promotions are dodgy as they complicate the withdrawal procedure. So, always read the terms and conditions before deciding to claim a promotion offer.

How to Bet on Sports

Now, you have sussed out the legal status of your state, found a great sportsbook website or mobile app to bet on, but how do you actually bet on sports? And what can you expect to be available to wager on?

Sports Coverage

If you are wondering what sports you can bet on, the simple answer is pretty much everything. You will be able to wager on all major US sports such as football, basketball, and baseball, as well as more niche events like darts and boxing. Here is a quick low down on all the top sports and events to bet on:

Football game

Football

One of the most bet on sports in the entire world is football. You can get incredible action on college football, arena football, the CFL, the AAF, and the XFL. However, the crown jewel of football betting is without argument the Super Bowl. This is the culminating Championship event of the NFL postseason, where the world champion is crowned. It is also a time when sports bettors of all skill levels go crazy betting somewhere north of 5 billion dollars on a single game!

Player on pitch with ball

Soccer Betting

With so many different leagues to choose from all over the world, there are plenty of options for you to get involved in the soccer betting action.

What sporting event has the most money bet on it year after year? Yup, it’s the World Cup. With a lot of different games to bet on with teams from all over the world, the action is not just significant, but it’s global. It is also a time that brings out a lot of amateur bettors. This means the opportunities for you to find some great lines and make some serious money are a lot higher.

Man pitching ball

Baseball

Take me out to the ball game. Let me win lots of cash. Is that not how the song goes? Baseball is an incredible sport to bet on because there are so many games to choose from. Due to the smaller market cap, there are many more value spots to pick up.

One of the most iconic times in sports every single year is the World Series. This is a best of seven series between the two best baseball teams in the world fighting it out for the World Championship. Whether you like to bet totals, game-winners, or get into the crazy props, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun and also make a killing if you’re a sharp bettor.

Man playing basketball

Basketball

Most of the basketball betting action comes in the NBA, but we would be doing you an injustice if we didn’t also talk about college basketball and March Madness. Some of you might even be into betting the Euro leagues or some of the many other more obscure basketball leagues around the world.

Regardless of which league you are betting on, it can be an excellent way to make some serious moolah if you know what you’re doing. Much like all of the other major sports, basketball is just as iconic, just as exciting, and just as great of an opportunity for you to make some money at some of the best gambling sites we have recommended.

Tennis Ball

Niche Sports

If you are looking to bet on more than just the big four, you can certainly do that! Here are some other sports that many online sportsbooks cover:

  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Formula 1
  • MMA / UFC
  • Hockey
  • NASCAR
  • WWE
  • Boxing

video game betting

eSports

Yes folks, the day has arrived where you can bet on people playing video games on a console. Currently, eSports is one of the fastest-growing segments in the sports betting realm. With esports offshore betting, you will have the chance to bet on eSports games such as Dota 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Whether you are a terrific gamer or complete trash, it does not matter. You are not betting on your abilities to perform on the virtual video game scene, you are betting on your ability to pick which professional eSports players are going to come out on top!

Wagering Options

Now you have selected your sport you may be wondering what sort of bets you can make. As sports betting is getting more and more popular, so are the wagering options available. Here are the general types of bets you can expect to see:

  • Moneyline: Bet on a specific team to win a game.
  • Overs/Unders: Sportsbooks predict a statistic for a game, for example, the score final game score and you bet on whether the actual result will be higher or lower.
  • Spreads: Sportsbooks predict the difference between the two teams’ final scores and you bet on either the underdog or the favorite.
  • Props: Bet on the performance of an individual player.
  • Parlays: Bet on multiple events which must all come true for you to win.
  • Teasers: Parlay bets that include spreads.
  • Futures: Bet on the outcome of future events such as the winning team of the Super Bowl, for example.
  • In-play: Bets placed during an ongoing event live as the game unfolds.

Most sportsbooks will offer most betting types, with bets like moneylines, spreads, and overs/under (also known as totals) seen pretty much everywhere.

In-play betting is gaining popularity across the US and the world as it means you can place wagers live as the game unfolds. You can get a feel for the game and watch the start before committing to a winning team or final score. For in-play betting, Bet365 is one of the best offshore sportsbooks accepting US players.

Other “Sports Betting” Options

Alongside the traditional sports betting, there are also a few alternatives, namely daily fantasy sports (DFS) and horse race betting.

Horse Race Betting

One of the most historical forms of online betting that has stood the test of time is horse racing. Who would have ever thought there would come a day when you could bet on the ponies without smelling the lovely aroma of the stables?

Strangely, despite online casino gambling, poker, and sports betting being illegal in the majority of US states, you can play legally through racebook sites based in and operating from inside the US in nearly all jurisdictions.

Online horse betting is legal in every state EXCLUDING: Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, North CarolinaSouth Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

The two most popular online racebooks operating from within the states are TVG and BetAmerica.

There are also offshore horse race betting sites that offer exceptional coverage of both US and worldwide horse racing events. If you are looking for the best online racebooks offering action on horse racing, we have got you covered. In fact, the majority of our offshore sportsbooks also have racebooks or allow you to wager on horse racing at their sites! Check out our offshore gambling site reviews for more information.

Daily Fantasy Sports

Daily fantasy sports are another popular form of online betting. You build a sports team online from a selection of real-world athletes. Your team will then compete against others’ fantasy teams. To enter each contest you pay an entry fee, and then, depending on the type of contest, the top performers receive a payout. The outcomes of real-life sporting events and how the athletes perform in the real world determines how well your team places.

Daily fantasy sports is actually legal in most US states as it is considered a game of skill rather than a game of chance.

DFS is legal in every US state EXCLUDING: Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, and Washington.

The two leading DFS sites accessible from nearly every legal state are DraftKings and FanDuel. Both have completely taken over the fantasy sports world and offer exciting contests, great major tournaments, and allow you to switch up teams regularly! What is more, both also offer sportsbooks. If you are living in a state where intrastate mobile sports betting is legal, they may well have their sportsbook apps live.

Online Sports Betting: FAQs

Is online sports betting legal in the US?

Yes, sometimes. Each US state has its own gambling laws and so online sports betting has been made legal in some states, but not in others. However, even if mobile sports betting is not legal and regulated in the state you live, you can still play at offshore sportsbooks. Offshore sportsbooks operate from outside the US and due to lack of laws prohibiting them, can legally be played from most jurisdictions.

What is the legal age for betting on sports online in the US?

Each state has its own legal minimum age for sports betting. Usually, this is 21 but some states have lowered this to 18. If using an offshore sportsbook, most sites will require any players from the US to be at least 21 years of age.

What is PASPA and why is it important in sports betting?

PASPA stands for the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 which was a federal law meaning no states other than a select few (who had sportsbooks already running at the time) could offer sports betting. This was annulled in 2018 which means states can now write their own laws on sports betting. Off the back of this, many states are changing legislation and have or are in the process of legalizing sports betting.

Which US states have legalized sports betting?

So far, 21 states have legalized sports betting. These are: Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Which US states have legalized mobile sports betting?

So far, 15 states have legalized mobile sports betting. These are: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. However, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington have not launched their mobile betting yet and there are no live apps in these four states.

Can I win real money betting on sports online from the US?

Yes, absoloutely! There are both US-based and offshore sportsbooks that offer bets for real money. Make the most of the bonuses on offer to get the most bang for your buck! Also, only use sites with secure payment options so your financial details stay safe.

Will I go to jail for using an offshore online sportsbook from the US?

No – we have not come across any instances where US residents have gone to jail for gambling at offshore sportsbook websites. The majority of states have nothing in their laws written about the use of offshore sports betting sites, so technically they are legal. States that have rewritten their laws to ban internet gaming are focused on prosecuting operators from illegal sites being run from the US. As a player, you have nothing to worry about.

Can US customers get bonuses from offshore sportsbooks?

Yes – the offshore sports betting sites that we recommend not only accept US players but welcome them! You have access to all the bonuses, perks, and coverage regardless of where you are playing from.

What sports can I bet on using US sportsbooks?

You can bet on pretty much any sport using an online sportsbook from the US! All major US leagues are covered along with more niche sports and international events. Many sportsbooks also now offer horse race betting and eSports betting options.

How can I tell if an offshore sportsbook accepting US players is safe?

By using the offshore sports betting sites we recommend, you are guaranteed to be in safe hands. If using another site, always read multiple online reviews of the site. It is also beneficial to read through the sites policies and check they have secure payment options and good customer support. All legitimate offshore sites will have licensing in the country from which they run.

How do state-based sportsbooks know where I am playing from?

All sports betting sites and mobile apps use geolocation technology to pinpoint your location on the globe. If you are not in a state where the sportsbook you are trying to play is licensed and legal, you will not be able to place wagers online using it. However, fear not! There are many offshore sportsbooks that accept players from the US that you can play on from almost every state.