In short, sports betting involves putting money on an outcome you believe will occur in a sporting event. The outcome can be a team win, a team loss, or something in between. When multiple outcomes are combined into one wager, it’s called a parlay. Bettors can also place bets on specific player performances, known as props. Choosing which bets to place depends on individual preferences, risk tolerance, and knowledge of the sport.

Official betting is not available in all states. In New Jersey, for example, a ballot measure that would have authorized sports betting at the state’s casinos and racetracks failed in November 2023. That was largely due to opposition from local lawmakers and sports leagues, including the NFL, which is concerned that the influx of dollars could lead to irresponsible gambling among college-age students.

The NFL also prohibits its players, coaches, and staff from placing bets on games that they’re involved in. The rule is a result of the league’s concern that the presence of legal sports gambling might encourage young people to gamble, and it has taken steps to limit access to gambling-related information and marketing.

Arizona’s sports betting law went into effect in April 2021, and the state’s retail and online sportsbooks launched soon after that. DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetRivers were among the first sportsbooks to go live. In Colorado, the first retail and online sportsbooks opened in March 2022 with a number of brands, including Caesars, William Hill, and DraftKings. The state’s lottery commission has regulatory and oversight authority over sports betting.