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    Where Is Sports Betting Illegal? When Will States Like California and Texas Legalize?

    Fourteen states make sports betting illegal. Who are they, and when, if ever, do they plan to legalize sports betting, one of the fastest-growing industries?

    There are 36 states in the United States where sports betting is allowed in one form or another. This means there are still 14 states in the union that do not allow sports betting of any kind. That means millions of people are deprived of the opportunity to place popular sports bets like NFL Super Bowl odds, or other bets as their favorite sports leagues ramp up into action.

    Sports betting is one of the fastest-growing industries globally. More and more, America is beginning to get involved in the industry now that the major sports leagues have all but endorsed the practice, with all now having official partnerships with sportsbooks. Professional sports teams now have sportsbooks located in the stadiums in which they play.

    So, which states are you barred from indulging in the practice of sports betting? Below is a comprehensive list of the 14 holdouts, along with a brief timeline on when or if sports betting will be legal there.

    Where Is Sports Betting Illegal in the USA?


    With neighboring states Massachusetts and New York being legal for sports betting, the pressure has been on Vermont to finally legalize. There is hope, as a new bill has been pushed forward with revenue earmarked for sports betting, and officials are hopeful the legislation gets over the finish line in 2023.


    A bill was put forth in January 2023 that would make all forms of sports betting legal. Sitting Governor Andy Beshear declared a vote will happen this year on the legislation.

    South Carolina

    A bill to legalize sports betting has been put forth with no success in each of the past three years. There doesn’t seem to be much momentum to change the trend this upcoming year.

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    There is no pressure coming from neighboring states, and there has been no indication anything is imminent. If this were to change, it would need to be with a new proposal.


    Georgia, at this time, is a long shot. To legalize sports betting, a constitutional amendment to the state’s constitution is required, and in February 2023, that was voted down. There are loopholes to get around this, but none of those efforts have received any momentum either.


    Bills to legalize sports betting have failed to make it all the way through the state legislature over the previous two years. That bills keep getting put forth is good news, but the state senate has been where these have gone to die with no progress made within that part of the chamber.


    As recently as March 2023, there is optimism that this is the year Missouri could make real headway on the legalization of sports betting. Bill HB556 is expected to be voted on during the next legislative session.


    A bill to legalize sports betting has been introduced in the state legislature, and there is optimism. Previously the opposition has come from the various tribes in Minnesota, but that seems to be softening. Additionally, the political party of the member who put forth the bill now controls the chamber.


    This is one of the big prizes for sportsbooks, should sports betting get legalized. The state is massive in size and population, and there is real momentum for this to get done.

    Multiple bills have been put forth, and Governor Greg Abbott has already signaled his approval for them to get passed. The state legislature next convenes on May 29.


    Sports betting has advanced more than it ever has in this state, with a bill advancing through the state’s house chamber. That said, the sentiment is that the bill will likely die as it gets closer to a March 23 deadline, given the remaining gap between the state’s governor and the existing gaming tribes in the state.


    This state is not just a long shot anytime soon, it’s a long shot to ever legalize sports betting. This is because it is enshrined in the state’s criminal code (Chapter 10, part 11) specifically that not only is it criminally illegal now but in the future should the federal government ever allow the states to legalize sports betting at their discretion. They have already declared, in the criminal code, that it will remain illegal.


    There has been zero movement at any level of the state legislature to legalize sports betting. That may change in the future as four of its five neighbors legalize sports betting in some fashion, and it will continue to lose business across its border.


    This is another of the big prizes for sportsbooks hoping for increased legalized sports betting. However, they may have to wait until 2024 at the earliest to see it come to fruition. Even then, it’s not a slam dunk.

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    California citizens voted down both propositions that were put forth in November 2022, and there remains opposition from the state’s local tribes, and even within the government itself.


    While there have been attempts locally to legalize sports betting, it remains a long shot it happens here anytime soon. Unlike most of the other states on this list, the books themselves are not doing a lot of lobbying because Alaska has such a large land area to cover and a population too small to make the effort worth it.

    Nevertheless, there is a bill in front of the state legislature awaiting a vote.


    This state’s efforts to legalize sports betting are hampered by the fact that it has no betting at all, not even a state lottery. Most legislation gets through by attaching sports betting to its laws on the books regarding the lottery system. Hawai’i cannot even do that.

    One model it could look at is Tennessee, which is online only and wouldn’t require the building of a whole new infrastructure. All of that said, however, and legislation has been put forth early in 2023 to make sports betting a reality.

    When Will Sports Betting Be Legal?

    It looks like the earliest any of these states could see sports betting become legal is mid-2023. States like Texas and Missouri seemed poised to make it a reality. Other states like California may not see any sports betting until 2024 at the earliest. Then there’s Utah, a state that doesn’t seem likely to ever legalize the practice.

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