Official Betting on Sports in the US

After decades of prohibition, the United States is now awash in official betting on sports. The Supreme Court’s repeal of PASPA opened the door for legal sportsbooks to operate at the state level. State regulators oversee the industry and enforce rigorous licensing regimes to protect consumers and ensure game integrity. Bettors must be over the age of 21 and must reside within a state’s borders to place wagers.

Nevada is well-known as a hub for in-person sports betting, with retail options at casinos throughout the state and online betting sites from books like BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook. However, Nevada’s days as the only US option for legal sports betting may be over: Michigan and Ohio both launched sportsbooks in 2022, and new legislation could bring Pennsylvania into the fold in early 2024.

Connecticut is also in the midst of its debut, with the first retail and online sportsbooks opening this fall. Its online sportsbooks have a robust range of betting markets, with more than 300 lines available on a single NHL game and hundreds more on major soccer matches. Its mobile apps feature a simple, user-friendly interface with plenty of banking options and limits to suit all players.

Michigan’s sports betting launch was a quick one, with retail options open in November 2020 and online options going live a month later. The state has around a dozen online sportsbooks and could allow as many as 30 in total once it’s fully mature. Meanwhile, Virginia approved sports betting in April 2020 and has a handful of licensed sites. The state is also expected to offer daily fantasy sports later this year.

The Official Lottery Commission

As a form of gambling, the lottery is defined by law as “an arrangement in which one or more prizes are allocated to persons by a process that relies wholly on chance.” The arrangement’s objective is to give to all those who wish to participate in it a fair chance of winning a prize.

Cohen, in his book, offers a very clear and readable account of the history of state lotteries. He argues that in the nineteen-sixties, growing awareness of all the money to be made in the lottery business collided with a crisis in state funding. With a growing population and skyrocketing inflation, balancing budgets became increasingly difficult for states. The only way to make ends meet was either to raise taxes or cut services—both options were extremely unpopular with voters.

State lotteries began to appear as a solution to the problem. The first proponents argued that since people were going to gamble anyway, the state might as well get in on the action. It was an argument that disregarded the moral objections to gambling, but it did help lottery advocates avoid a barrage of ethical complaints.

Moreover, lottery commissions have every incentive to tell players and voters about all the good that they’re doing for the state – notwithstanding the fact that most of what they raise is spent on the games themselves, or on administrative expenses. The commissions are not above relying on the psychology of addiction, and they’re certainly not above leveraging their position as a business to keep the gravy train rolling.