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Legal Sports Betting Usa

After New Jersey's Supreme Court victory in May 2018, any state that wishes can legalize sports betting.

Sports betting is legal in states that have passed legislation regulating the activity. In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a longstanding sports betting law, the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibiting state legislatures from authorizing or regulating sports betting. Bovada is legal for all USA players, and it always has been since its creation. The reason why Bovada is legal to use as a gambling outlet in the United States is that Bovada is located offshore. Offshore sport betting sites do not have to follow any laws in the United States. Code for Maximum Deposit Bonus.

  1. Under the current laws in the United States, online sports betting is not actually illegal. Sports gambling operations are prohibited from being established in the USA. This does not mean.
  2. Legal Age to Place Bets On Bovada Accounts? The minimum age to create an account with Bovada is 18 years old. There are some states in the US that require the minimum betting age to be 21. Anyone placing a bet.
  3. Legal Online Sports Betting in the U.S. The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of legalizing sports betting. It is legal on a federal level, but each state will still have to decide if they want to legalize online sports betting sites in their state and how it will be governed and regulated.

At the same time various state lawmakers are considering sports betting legislation, Congress is too. Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and now-retired Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, co-introduced comprehensive sports betting legislation at the end of 2018. On Sept. 27, 2018 the House Judiciary Committee held a formal hearing on the topic.

The dual track of proposals -- state and federal -- have increased in frequency since the start of 2017.

To measure the change in the landscape, we ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of how likely it is for each jurisdiction to offer full-scale legal sports betting. A brief synopsis for the active states is included, with updates to follow.

Last updated on November 3, 2020.

Already there

1. Nevada

No longer the only state to permit a wide variety of legal sports betting, Nevada is a mature market that has existed for decades. Given its long history in successfully offering regulated sports wagering, many states might look to Nevada for best practices.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: None
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 223
Population: 3,034,392 (2,246,259 21+)

2. Delaware

On June 5, 2018, Delaware moved to offer single-game betting on a number of different sports at three casinos in the state. Expanded sports wagering options could take place at additional locations or online. Delaware's authorization of what Gov. John Carney described as 'a full-scale sports gaming operation' happened less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal law restricting single-game betting to Nevada was unconstitutional.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person
Notable prohibitions: No betting on games involving in-state college teams
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 3
Population: 967,171 (726,161 21+)

3. New Jersey

On June 11, 2018, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the sports betting bill that had passed the previous week. A William Hill sportsbook at Monmouth Park took the first bets on Thursday, June 14 at 10:30 a.m. ET. Gov. Murphy was the first customer in line. The Borgata in Atlantic City booked sports bets 30 minutes later. Other sportsbooks in New Jersey opened soon thereafter. For example, FanDuel's first sportsbook at the Meadowlands opened its doors on July 14.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: No betting on games involving in-state college teams and collegiate events held within the state
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 9
Population: 8,908,520 (6,634,683 21+)

4. Mississippi

Two casinos owned by MGM Resorts booked their first sports bets in Mississippi on Aug. 1, 2018. Mississippi enacted a new law in 2017 that allowed for sports betting pending a favorable decision by the Supreme Court. In June 2018, the Mississippi Gaming Commission adopted implementing regulations that require all betting to take place in person, with mobile wagering to be considered later.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person
Notable prohibitions: None
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 29
Population: 2,986,530 (2,153,795 21+)

5. West Virginia

On Aug. 30, 2018, West Virginia became the fifth state to offer legal and regulated sports betting when the Hollywood Casino -- a sportsbook owned by Penn National -- opened its doors. The move came six months after the West Virginia legislature passed a new bill with the West Virginia Lottery Commission serving as the chief regulator.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: None
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 5
Population: 1,805,832 (1,375,788 21+)

6. New Mexico

On Oct. 16, 2018, the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel booked its first sports bet in partnership with Nevada-based USBookmaking. Although New Mexico has not passed any new sports betting legislation since the Supreme Court's decision, the move by the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel was made via a gaming compact with the state. According to Nedra Darling, spokeswoman at the Department of the Interior's Office of Indian Affairs -- the federal agency in Washington, DC that oversees tribal gaming compacts -- the New Mexico compacts permit 'any or all forms of Class III Gaming,' a category in the federal regulations that specifically includes '[a]ny sports betting and pari-mutuel wagering.'

Type of wagering permitted: In-person
Notable prohibitions: No betting on games involving in-state college teams
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 32
Population: 2,095,428 (1,529,540 21+)

7. Pennsylvania

The Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course booked the first legal sports bets in Pennsylvania in mid-November 2018. The move came just over a year after Gov. Tom Wolf signed a new sports betting bill as part of a broad legislation push that included online poker and DFS. The October 2017 bill became effective after the Supreme Court's May 2018 ruling upending the federal ban on single-game betting outside of Nevada.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: None
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 12
Population: 12,807,060 (9,645,705 21+)

8. Rhode Island

The Twin River Casino in Lincoln opened its doors for legal sports betting on Nov. 26, 2018. The move came five months after Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the state budget, which included language allowing sports betting. Only two locations would be allowed to offer sports betting under the law, with the state's lottery providing regulatory oversight. In early 2019, the law was tweaked to provide for mobile betting.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: No betting on games involving in-state college teams
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 2
Population: 1,057,315 (800,838 21+)

9. Arkansas

On July 1, 2019, the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort booked the first legal sports bets in Arkansas. Two other retail locations opened sportsbooks in the subsequent months. Sports betting is regulated by the Arkansas Racing Commission.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person
Notable prohibitions: No betting on games involving in-state college teams
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 3
Population: 3,013,825 (2,191,256 21+)

10. New York

On July 16, 2019, the first legal sports bets were placed in New York. J. Gary Pretlow -- a New York lawmaker and chair of the state's racing and wagering committee -- was among the first to place a wager at the Rivers Casino in Schenectady. The opening of a legal sportsbook came six years after New York passed a law to allow sports betting at four on-site locations, all in upstate New York. After lying dormant for years, the law was revived after the Supreme Court ruling in 2018 and the issuance of regulations earlier this year. The current law does not allow for mobile wagering.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person
Notable prohibitions: No betting on games involving in-state college teams
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 28
Population: 19,542,209 (14,724,807 21+)

11. Iowa

Legal sports betting arrived in Iowa on Aug. 15, with multiple operators all opening their doors to customers on the first day. The move came three months after Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into a law a comprehensive bill to legalize sports betting in the Hawkeye State. Operators must pay a $45,000 licensing fee and there is a 6.75 percent tax on revenue. The new law permits mobile wagering. Betting on college sports is permitted, but certain kinds of in-game prop bets involving college games are banned. The new law bestows the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission with authority to regulate sports betting.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: No prop betting on in-state college athletics
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 23
Population: 3,156,145 (2,286,374 21+)

12. Oregon

Legal sports betting returned to Oregon on Aug. 27 after a long hiatus, with the first bets booked on-site at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City. Oregon is one of a small number of states that already had a law on the books permitting some forms of sports betting, so the resumption of wagering did not require the legislature to pass any new law or have the governor amend an existing tribal-state compact. In mid-October, mobile sports betting arrived in Oregon too, with the state-run lottery overseeing the launch of a new website and app.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: None at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort, but sportsbook operated by the Oregon Lottery does not permit betting on games involving in-state colleges
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 10
Population: 4,190,713 (3,167,912 21+)

13. Indiana

Legal sports betting opened up at a number of locations in Indiana on Sept. 1. The Indiana Gaming Commission oversees all sports betting regulations and has issued licenses to operators across the state. Wagering on both college and pro sports is permitted, but betting on esports and high school sports is banned. Indiana's new law allows for both mobile and in-person wagering. Regulations permit sports leagues or colleges to request 'to utilize a geofence to prohibit wagers at the location of a particular sporting event.'

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: No prop betting on in-state college athletics
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 14
Population: 6,691,878 (4,842,337 21+)

14. New Hampshire

Governor Chris Sununo placed the ceremonial first legal sports wager -- on the New England Patriots -- in New Hampshire on Dec. 30, 2019. The state's lottery is in charge of regulatory of regulatory oversight. Both retail and mobile sports betting will be permitted on a wide variety of sports, although no betting on New Hampshire's in-state colleges is allowed.

Type of wagering permitted: Mobile
Notable prohibitions: No betting on in-state colleges
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 0
Population: 1,356,458 (1,042,882 21+)

15. Illinois

Legal sports betting arrived in Illinois on March 9, 2020. The move came less than a year after the Illinois legislature passed a broad gaming bill that allowed for both online and in-person sports betting. With Governor J.B. Pritzker's signature, the new law also provided for betting on-location at venues such as Wrigley Field. Operators and certain data providers are required to obtain a license under the new law.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: No wagering on minor leagues or Illinois college teams
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 10
Population: 12,741,080 (9,391,158 21+)

16. Michigan

Legal sports betting in Michigan commenced on March 11, 2020, with two Detroit-area casinos launching on the same day. The move came less than three months after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the 'Lawful Sports Betting Act' into law. The new law provides for wagering on a wide variety of sports, including college contests.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: None
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 27
Population: 9.995,915 (7,428,72721+)

17. Montana

Legal sports betting arrived in Montana in March 2020. The move came after Governor Steve Bullock formally signed into law a 28-page bill that brought sports wagering to Big Sky country via the state's lottery. Governor Bullock cited the Montana Lottery's 'proven track record of responsibility and integrity' when signing the bill.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person
Notable prohibitions: None
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 13
Population: 1,062,305 (793,151 21+)

18. Colorado

May 1, 2020 marked the launch of legal sports betting in Colorado, with multiple operators allowing residents to open accounts online and place wagers. The move came less than six months after Colorado voters -- by a narrow margin -- approved a ballot measure that would provide 'for the regulation of sports betting through licensed casinos.' Both mobile and retail sports betting are permitted. Tax revenue from sports betting will help fund various state water projects.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions: None
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019): 35
Population: 5,695,564 (4,210,663.00 21+)

19. Washington, D.C.

In June 2020, the D.C. Lottery launched its 'GameBetDC' platform allowing consumers 'to wager while in the District on major sports worldwide' via computer or mobile device. Sports betting in nation's capital followed the passage of the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 and a Congressional review period during which time Congress did not formally object. The Office of Lottery and Gaming provides regulatory oversight of all sports wagering in D.C.

Type of wagering permitted: In-person and mobile
Notable prohibitions:No betting on games involving colleges located in D.C.
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019):None
Population: 705,749

20. Tennessee

Regulated sports wagering -- all online -- launched on November 1, 2020 in Tennessee with four licensed operators offering a wide variety of options. The 'Tennessee Sports Gaming Act' permits statewide mobile sports betting without any brick-and-mortar anchor. As such, there are no in-person retail sports betting locations in the state. Subject to an exception, Tennessee's new law requires all licensed operators to 'exclusively use official league data for purposes of live betting.'

Type of wagering permitted: Mobile only
Notable prohibitions:None
Number of casinos (as of Dec. 31, 2019):None
Population: 6,829,174

On-deck circle

21. North Carolina

On July 26, 2019, Governor Roy Cooper signed into a law a bill to 'allow sports and horse race wagering on tribal lands,' with such betting designated as a 'Class III' gaming activity under the state compact. The new law permits betting on both college and professional sports, but all bettors must place their wagers in-person at one of two retail locations.

22. Washington

Governor Jay Inslee signed Washington's sports betting bill into law on March 25, 2020. The new law permits sports wagering at Class III tribal casinos in the state. Mobile sports wagering is not allowed statewide, but is permitted when on-site at a licensed tribal casino. Betting on an 'esports competition or event' is allowed, but the new law bans wagering on games involving in-state colleges or minor league professional events. The new bill delegates regulatory oversight to the Washington State Gambling Commission.

23. Virginia

After some back-and-forth between Governor Ralph Northam and the legislature, legalized sports wagering was approved in the Commonwealth of Virginia in April 2020. Online betting is allowed, but wagering is not permitted on Virginia-based college sports or certain youth sports.

24. Maryland

In November 2020, Maryland voters approved 'sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education' by about a 2-1 margin. A regulatory framework must be created by Maryland lawmakers before any sports wagering takes place. The Maryland referendum would potentially allow for both in-person and mobile sports betting throughout the state.

25. South Dakota

On November 3, 2020, voters in South Dakota approved a ballot measure permitting 'sports wagering in Deadwood.' Other tribal locations in South Dakota could see the arrival of regulated sports betting too. State lawmakers must now establish a regulatory apparatus and tax rate for legalized sports wagering.

26. Louisiana

In November 2020, voters in the vast majority of Louisiana's 64 parishes approved a ballot measure permitting 'sports wagering activities and operations.' As a result, regulated sports wagering could come to New Orleans and certain other cities as early as 2021. Lawmakers will be tasked with setting up a regulatory scheme during an upcoming state legislative session.

Moving toward legalization

All of these states have seen some degree of legislative activity towards the legalization of sports betting the past few years.

27. Oklahoma

In April 2020, two federally-recognized tribes reached agreement with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt on new gaming compacts that include sports betting. On June 8, 2020, Governor Stitt announced that the Department of the Interior had approved the compacts, paving the way for sports betting to start in Oklahoma as soon as the 'compacts are published in the Federal Register.' A bipartisan group of state lawmakers, along with Oklahoma's attorney general, have expressed opposition to the expansion of sports betting in Oklahoma and the prospect of legalized sports wagering remains uncertain.

28. Maine

On the last day of the state's 2019 legislative session -- June 19 -- Maine lawmakers passed 'An Act to Ensure Proper Oversight of Sports Betting in the State.' Shortly thereafter, the governor vetoed the bill. The legislature could re-introduce the bill later.

29. Nebraska

On November 3, 2020, Nebraska voters approved certain amendments to its state constitution legalizing 'all games of chance.' If the new constitutional amendments are construed to include wagering on sporting events, legalized sports betting could arrive in Nebraska upon the establishment of certain regulations.

30. Connecticut

31. Kentucky

32. Massachusetts

33. Minnesota

34. Missouri

35. Kansas

36. South Carolina

37. California

39. Ohio

40. Arizona

41. Hawaii

42. Texas

43. Georgia

44. Vermont

45. Alabama

46. Florida

47. Alaska

48. Wyoming

No legalization activity .. yet

Online sports betting in usa

49-50. Idaho and Wisconsin

These states have not had any publicly-announced bills devoted to sports betting legalization.


51. Utah

Utah's anti-gambling stance is written into the state's constitution. Any change to existing state policy toward gambling would be a massive departure from decades of opposition to any form of gambling, including lottery tickets, table games and sports betting.

One of the major misconceptions in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling that struck down the 1992 federal law banning sports wagering back in May is that the elimination of the law could spell the end for sportsbooks based outside of the United States -- many of which are located in the Caribbean.

Congress set out to halt an expansion of sports betting in the United States in 1992 with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), but accomplished the opposite. It helped foster a billion-dollar sportsbook black market of sorts, as scores of offshore bookmakers cropped up in the ensuing two decades -- happy and willing to accept U.S. patrons wanting to place a sports wager. For sports bettors, when there's a desire, there's always a way -- and there's been an appetite for sports betting in the United States since at least the 19th century.

Americans wager $150 billion annually in the black market, as estimated by the American Gaming Association, and it will largely remain in the dark for the foreseeable future. Beyond offshore books, that black market also includes 'local bookies' violating state laws and, in some cases, federal laws like the Wire Act.

The offshore market is large and deeply ingrained -- so much so that offshore lines are routinely referenced in mainstream publications and on television, drawn in by either the familiarity of the name or the deceiving '.lv' domain name attached to the website. When U.S. sports bettors search Google for 'best online sportsbooks,' they find a menu of options to wager offshore -- and wager they do. Some bettors make trips to Las Vegas for March Madness or before the football season to place bets, while others send funds to friends or associates based in Vegas (which itself falls into a legally gray area) to 'get down' in a more accessible way.

Those offshore books have been the only options for U.S. bettors over the past quarter century; engaging with them has become habit. It seems as though times are changing, as these offshore books are now faced with competition from well-financed companies running new and legal sports-betting operations in the United States, along with other legal sportsbooks on the way as more states pass legislation.

The offshore and local bookies aren't going to fold and go quietly into the night, though. Some of their company executives believe that business from U.S.-based patrons will actually increase. But that doesn't change the fact that times are certainly changing. Quickly.

The door is now open for states to legalize and regulate sports wagering. Since May, casinos in Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Rhode Island have joined Nevada in offering full-fledged sports wagering menus; as the calendar turns to 2019, the number of states offering legal sports wagering will continue to grow. New Mexico also joined the fray in 2018, albeit at a single location operated under tribal compact just outside of Albuquerque

While the pace of new states legalizing and considering legislation has reached two dozen and progresses more rapidly than the legal marijuana movement, legislation takes time.

'As sports betting has become less and less taboo, offshore sportsbooks have seen their player bases steadily grow over the last decade,' said one executive at a major offshore sportsbook who wished to remain anonymous. 'The repeal of PASPA will drive more curiosity towards sports wagering, and even if new players start out betting sports at the local horse track, we expect to eventually find them betting online and offshore.'

Online Sports Betting In Usa

Scott Cooley, a spokesperson for the offshore sportsbook BetDSI, echoed that prediction with similar sentiments.

'We expect [an] influx of new customers based on an eagerness to begin betting right away,' he said. 'The government has basically said it is legal to gamble on sports now, and if your state isn't equipped to take wagers yet, a respected and long-tenured sportsbook such as ours will [be] available anywhere you are. In the next year, we project to gain 15 to 20 percent of our current clientele base.'

The legality of offshore sportsbooks

Most of the popular offshore sportsbooks are legal in the parts of the world where they're based. There are U.S. laws aimed at stopping bettors located in the States from depositing and withdrawing from these sportsbooks, which require U.S. banks to flag transactions between patrons and operators.

One such law, known as the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) does not, however, expressly prohibit Americans from depositing and engaging in sports wagering. Congress could have crafted such a prohibition, but did not do so. UIGEA has made life more difficult for bettors and offshore sportsbooks alike, but the offshore sportsbooks still have some key advantages -- pricing, mobile/web-based platforms and more expansive betting options chief among them.

The pricing advantage is connected to taxation. The pie-slicing of revenue generated by legal sports betting begins with state taxes. As states construct legislation to generate as much tax revenue as possible, a big question looms: Where's the sweet spot for giving the state a meaningful cut, while allowing sportsbook operators the ability to make a profit, attract new customers and retain them?

New Jersey levies a reasonable 8.5 percent tax on in-person wagers and 13 percent for online wagers. West Virginia applies a 10 percent tax across the board. Rhode Island is set to keep a whopping 51 percent of net revenue for the state in a profit-sharing arrangement. Other states are considering anywhere from 7.66 percent in Iowa to 36 percent in Pennsylvania. For context, Nevada operators pay 6.75 percent to the state and 0.25 percent off the top to the federal government (a federal excise tax, which every state implementing legal sports betting frameworks will also have to send Uncle Sam).

'It's not going to be a great advantage to go into a market where you're going to be potentially taxed out of it,' Jennifer Roberts, associate director of the International Center for Gaming Regulation, a gaming lawyer and adjunct professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, told ESPN. 'What you might see is less-experienced operators trying to come in that are willing to take that risk. I think that having high tax rates and high license fees can disincentivize reputable, solid operators from coming into the market.'

State-licensed operators will also face licensure fees. In Pennsylvania, sports-betting operators have to pay $10 million just to obtain a sports-wagering license. After initial resistance, six of a possible 13 licensees have applied for a license, and five have been approved.

And then there's the 'integrity fee' or 'royalty' that Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the PGA Tour have sought, and continue to seek, in every state and may seek at the federal level in 2019. Those leagues began by asking for a 1 percent off-the-top cut of all wagers, which would amount to roughly 20 percent of a typical sportsbook operator revenue, but the leagues appear to have lowered the bar to 0.25 percent. Still, no state has granted such a fee or a royalty, although New York came close, and a key lawmaker in Michigan has indicated he's receptive to the idea.

Meanwhile, NBA executive Dan Spillane has said that the league will operate on 'parallel tracks' come 2019 -- on one track engaging with state lawmakers to help shape policy the leagues prefer, the other 'a commercial track where we're engaging with the gaming industry,' Spillane told industry trade publication Gambling Compliance.

Some fruits of the commercial track have already arrived. In July, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced a reported 3-year, $25 million deal with MGM Resorts International, designating the hospitality and gaming giant as an official gaming partner. The NHL followed suit and went a step further in October, announcing a deal making MGM the league's official sports-betting partner. In late November, MLB announced their own agreement with MGM along similar lines.

All three deals afford MGM the ability to use the respective leagues' 'official data' and trademarks in connection with their sports-betting products.

In addition, individual NHL teams such as the New Jersey Devils have forged deals bringing the league even closer to sports betting; the Devils' arena, the Prudential Center, is now home to the 'William Hill Sports Lounge.'

New echeck casinos. But the other track, as Spillane put it, has proven rockier. State lawmakers have strongly resisted an 'integrity fee,' and offshore sportsbooks view such a fee as another disadvantage a state-licensed sportsbook may have to overcome.

'Any idea of an 'integrity fee' has to be a non-starter for any sportsbook that will have to deal with the above-mentioned taxes and still try and compete with offshore sportsbooks,' the offshore executive explained.

Taken as a whole, there are a lot of taxes and fees (with potential for more fees to come) for legal operators to face before paying a single employee or the electric bill.

In the offshore world, sportsbooks face no such state or federal taxes, and certainly not fees from the sports leagues. U.S. casinos and gaming stakeholders have exhorted lawmakers throughout dozens of state-level hearings to refrain from levying onerous tax rates.

'Imposing any taxes or fees will detract from their product, so doing so will certainly handicap their level of competitiveness,' Cooley said.

'If you're looking at an integrity fee on handle, that cuts into a significant amount of your margin. I've done analysis on even just the Super Bowl,' Roberts said. 'The last Super Bowl, if you look at Nevada, if there was a 1 percent integrity fee on handle, they would have already lost money even before paying other taxes and revenues and rent and salaries.'

The trickle-down result is that legal sportsbooks may be forced to pass along the costs of taxation, licensure and compliance to customers in the form of inferior pricing. For example, it could lead to a moneyline of -115 on Team A to win at a local sportsbook versus an available -108 line with an offshore sportsbook. Savvy sports bettors attuned to margins may not be willing to part with superior prices.

In June, even the NFL joined the chorus opposing prohibitive tax rates, becoming an unlikely, albeit qualified, ally for the gaming industry.

In a letter to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Jocelyn Moore, NFL senior vice president of public policy and government affairs, explained the danger of levying $10 million and a 34 percent state tax rate, plus a 2 percent local tax on gaming revenue. Moore writes that that these costs in Pennsylvania may 'render legal market participants unable to effectively compete with the illegal market' and suggests the state 'reconsider laws and regulations that could have unintended consequences of advancing illegal sports betting.'

Other offshore advantages

There's also the matter of mobile sports wagering and the breadth of sports-betting menus. Handle has steadily increased in Nevada through mobile and online wagering. Some state lawmakers have expressed that such functionality is essential to compete with offshore operations.

In addition to ease of access with offshore books, there are also far fewer limitations for what sportsbooks can offer, for Super Bowl props or otherwise. While Las Vegas sportsbooks can post odds on Bryce Harper's landing spot via free agency, other novelties such as Academy Awards odds remain off-limits, according to Nevada regulations.

For the first time in 2017, Nevada regulators allowed sportsbooks to offer prop bets on the NFL draft, such as, 'Will Josh Allen or Saquon Barkley get drafted first?' Regulators have viewed certain props with skepticism because such wagers theoretically could be ripe for abuse by individuals with inside information. With the offshore books, the ability to offer such wagers are not subject to scrutiny or regulation.

Establishing accounts is another matter. New Jersey's young market currently has eight sportsbooks offering mobile and web-based options. Laws in each of these states allow patrons to sign up for accounts remotely using verifications through digital platforms and wager as long as they are located within a state's boundaries. As currently constructed, Pennsylvania and West Virginia regulations will allow similar functionality.

But some states may require customers to register in person for sports-wagering accounts, or limit online wagering so that it can only happen on licensee properties. This has long been the process in Nevada, and it's also the case now in Mississippi and the newly launched Rhode Island books -- all patrons must be on casino premises to make a wager.

No such limitations exists for offshore operators, and like most options that tend to win out in life, it's a simple matter of convenience. Deposits, registrations, verifications and withdrawal requests all occur online. While lawmakers have the understandable goal of wanting to drive more foot traffic into brick-and-mortar locations, there is a reason why brick-and-mortar stores like Borders and many Barnes & Noble locations have gone out of business with a similar mentality.

In New Jersey, for example, betting handle online has surpassed brick-and-mortar betting, and the divide is widening. We live in a digital age.

Meanwhile, some pieces of legislation may create a mechanism for leagues to control or restrict such wagering that leagues deem 'riskier' than others, such as live-in-game wagering. The leagues have submitted, scant on evidence, that such wagers would pose greater integrity risks to their game. It's yet another potential hurdle for licensed sportsbooks to reach maximum competitiveness.

Another limitation? Both New Jersey and Delaware laws prohibit wagering on college teams located within the state. Mississippi bucked this trend, but other states may impose similar local restrictions.

And let's consider the 'plight' of the winning bettor: In the United States, he'll pay taxes on those winnings. Profits offshore? It won't be reported by the offshore books, and in many cases taxes could go into the wind unpaid -- a point driving many lawmakers' efforts to legalize.

Advantages stateside

It's easy to read everything preceding this section and think that this new wave of licensed sportsbooks in the United States can't hold a candle to offshore operators. But there are likely to be millions of potential customers -- people who have only ever wagered among friends, if at all -- who will (or already have) sign up for a legal U.S. sportsbook account when their state gets around to passing legislation.

In Nevada, appetite for sports betting has never been higher, with state sportsbooks setting a new September record for betting handle ($571 million) and hold ($56.3 million).

'The results were positive out of the gate, but it's been a fistfight over the last six weeks,' said Jay Kornegay, vice president race & sports operations at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. 'Lately, it's been either a really positive day or a very tough day. The public really dictates our results, and when the popular teams [college or pro] fare well, it's a red day for us. Overall, I would categorize the season [as] just below expectations, but we have a long way to go.'

Patrons entering legal markets such as Nevada's will do so with the comfort of knowing they're not dealing in any gray area, that there's no doubt they will get paid their winning wagers, and that they will not have to receive a payout check routed through Canada or another foreign country.

In response to that payment-processing challenge -- one of the largest stumbling blocks to attracting new customers -- offshore operators have found one new way to circumvent laws restricting financial institutions from managing transactions: cryptocurrency, which does not flow through traditional financial institutions. Many, if not most, sportsbooks now transact in currency such as Bitcoin, with some operators working to integrate cryptos such as Litecoin and Ethereum.

Even that process can be more of a headache than it's worth for those just hoping to make the occasional bet. There are many customers who aren't married to their existing offshore sportsbook provider, who may migrate to a state sportsbook when that becomes an option, or simply use that account as a backup option as they play at a new state-licensed book.

'I think it's going to take time,' Roberts explained. 'Once you legalize sports betting, it's not like everyone's going to shut down their accounts in the offshore market and suddenly start betting in a legal sportsbook, especially if there's not the same level of access or the 10 cent lines.

'What offshore books don't allow is what happens with a patron dispute process,' Roberts continued. 'If you have a dispute over whether you should be paid, or whether you made a bet and there's an error with the ticket. There's a process [in Nevada] through regulation that oversees that. How do you do that in an offshore book located in Costa Rica? You don't know if your offshore book is going to be shut down by some government tomorrow. You never know, there's never that guarantee, though many have been operating for years, but that's a risk you take with your money.'

One other thing offshore sportsbooks cannot offer to U.S. residents? A nice sportsbook lounge, free drinks and a quality in-person customer experience. It remains to be seen how much new state-licensed operators will invest in such spaces and amenities. It could certainly help, as long as states and leagues are not pulling too many dollars from their pockets.

Furthermore, state-based sportsbook operators are seeing a huge influx of investment into this nascent market. Large, publicly traded companies like MGM, Boyd Gaming, Penn National Gaming and Paddy Power Betfair are pouring money into new products, platforms and lounges aimed at appealing to U.S. sports bettors and winning their continued business. Such companies are ready to compete -- and each is armed with a considerable war chest.

State-licensed sportsbooks also have the backing of, well, each state, which has skin in the game in the form of tax revenue. New Jersey's top regulator, the director of the state's division of gaming enforcement, has made clear his desire to stamp out offshore websites that might take business from New Jersey. He has warned operators doing business with offshore entities, as well as sportsbook marketing affiliates, 'You will not get licensed in NJ,' and 'I will fight you to get licensed in any state.'

Other states are following New Jersey's lead in regulation and may take a similar tack to protect their licensees and state coffers.

Where we're headed

Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Rhode Island are among the first wave of states to enter the market post-PASPA. In 2019, barring federal intervention, it's likely that as many as a dozen more states could follow, including Kentucky, Michigan and New York.

This will open up state-licensed sports-betting options to millions of new U.S. residents. Millions, to be sure, but that's still a far cry from a majority of Americans. California and Texas' combined 68 million residents may not see legal sports betting until 2020, at the earliest.

Who will service those customers in the meantime? The offshore sportsbooks, same as always, and the results seem to speak for themselves.

'The total football handle is on pace to surpass last season by the end of next month,' Cooley said. 'Despite online sports betting being available in some states, the majority of players are still standing on the outside looking in. The average sports fan in Texas wants to place a bet on the Cowboys now because sports betting is legal, but she can't because the state isn't ready. So she goes online and finds a U.S.-facing book that meets her needs.'

We are likely going to see parallel markets operating side-by-side. Early on in this dual existence, mainstream publications and TV networks continue to reference lines originating offshore -- and many people in the U.S. don't know the difference.

In Central America and the Caribbean, sportsbooks have prepared for and expected this turn of events in the U.S. market. Offshore sportsbooks there, old and new, will not back down from a fight for new and existing clients -- and for the future of their businesses. In this new era, there's optimism both in the U.S. and outside.

'We've had to compete with offshore sportsbooks long before the PASPA repeal,' the anonymous offshore executive said. 'Additional and new competition will help drive innovation, and ultimately a better betting marketplace.'

Brett Smiley is the editor-in-chief of Sports Handle, covering sports-betting legislation, the industry and culture.