States To Offer Sports Betting First

PASPA Dead: These Are The First States That Will Offer Legal Sports BettingThe Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 is finally gone. The law, overturned by the Supreme Court 6-2 (with one justice proffering a third opinion), puts an end to perhaps the biggest financial boondoggle in the history of US governance. By losing out on an estimated $400-500 billion of otherwise taxable expenditures every year since PASPA went into effect, the ill-considered law has cost the federal and state governments of the US hundreds of billions (if not trillions) of dollars in income.

That isn’t to say that government wouldn’t have wasted the windfall on nonsense, it’s just merely to illustrate that the biggest company in the world intentionally kneecapped its profit margin in a completely incomprehensible way. All that aside, with PASPA dead, these are the first states that will offer legal sports betting: Connecticut, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

Each of the above states has already passed laws in their legislatures that allow for the institution and regulation of sports betting pending PASPA’s overturn. With PASPA now formally dismantled, these seven states are free to begin offering legal, on-site sports betting however they see fit.

That said, this isn’t to intimate that these states will offer the activity immediately. In most cases, there will be a lead time of about a month before you’ll see sports betting venues pop up for public use, so – for the time being – you’re still relegated to wagering on sports as you have been, whether you take your bets to Las Vegas or you use a legal offshore sportsbook (or even if you use an illegal local bookie, who would now transition from black market to grey market in most states).

Here is what to expect in terms of timeline from each of the sports betting states that have already legalized sports betting within their borders:


Connecticut passed HB 6948 in 2017, which allows state regulators to establish rules and other legally-binding protocols to govern legalized sports betting upon the overturn of PASPA. It is likely that CT already has an outline on the table and a scheme ready to hit its state legislature in order to implement sports wagering in the state ASAP. Expect CT to have plenty of sports wagering venues up and running by kickoff of the NFL season this September.


Mississippi, during its regular congressional session of 2017, passed a fantasy sports law – HB 967 – that includes language legalizing sports betting in the event that PASPA should be eliminated or legislated away. Now that PASPA is gone, MS can technically offer sports betting as soon as it sees fit. However, the state will have to craft a full measure that defines the regulatory oversight standards of the activity before any sports betting venues are made publically accessible. Here again, expect Mississippi to have the requisite laws in effect so that bookmakers can start offering wagers by the time the 2018 NFL season gets underway.

New Jersey

After a grueling 25 rounds, New Jersey has finally defeated PASPA in a split decision (7-2), making the state perhaps the greatest sports champion of all time. Of course, NJ already has all the legal infrastructure established to offer sports betting at its many casinos and racetracks, and you will likely be able to place a legal sports wager on state grounds sometime within the following week or two. By legalizing sports betting in 2016 (which is what led to the Supreme Court challenge in the first place), New Jersey will be the first state on this list to formally roll out a comprehensive sports betting industry.

New York

In 2013, a state referendum amended the NY constitution to allow sports betting pending PASPA’s repeal or overturn. Since then, more laws have been passed with an eye towards regulating the activity when the federal ban would no longer be in play. Well, that time has come. Right now, with the blessing of the state’s gaming commission, it is legal for area casinos to offer “sports betting lounges” where pool-based (i.e. pari-mutuel) sports wagering is allowed. Expect that law to be dramatically expanded to offer fixed odds in the future, will full-scale sports betting available to NY residents in time for the Giants, Jets, and Bills to take the field this fall.


In 2017, Pennsylvania passed HB 519, giving the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board complete control to regulate sports betting in the state upon PASPA’s elimination. With PASPA indeed eliminated, PA is now officially able to offer sports betting to its residents in the state’s many casino and gambling locations. However, the speed with which the state rolls out these services remains a question mark, albeit – as the Eagles are the defending Super Bowl champions – there is plenty of impetus for the state to open its gaming operations in time for the NFL season this fall.

Rhode Island

While Rhode Island has not yet officially passed a sports betting legalization bill of its own, there are three such bills in the legislature with resounding bipartisan support, and PASPA’s overturn should make these laws pass with something close to unanimity. Additionally, RI’s governor has already added sports betting revenues to the state budget, making sports betting in the state all the more imminent. Rhode Island will likely have all the pieces in place to offer residents of the state local sports betting by the time the 2018 NFL season starts, but it’s also the one state on this list that could miss that soft deadline.

West Virginia

In March 2018, West Virginia passed SB 415, effectively legalizing sports betting inside state borders. This law will put sports betting under the authority of the West Virginia Lottery, and that agency will be charged with introducing, defining, and enforcing the regulations that will govern the newly legal sports betting industry. Though the law was passed recently, work has already been underway outlining all the requisite guidelines to offer sports betting services in the state. It would be surprising if WV did not have local wagering options in time for the upcoming NFL and NCAA football seasons.