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Sports Gambling Laws in Your State

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

The Final Four tips off this weekend, and some of us are still clutching a red ink-stained bracket, holding out some hope that we can still win our office March Madness pool. While these office pools aren't exactly legal (don't worry - we won't tell if you don't), what kind of sports gambling, if any, is legal in your state?

Here's a quick survey of the sports gambling laws in each state:


Even though many states allow casinos on riverboats or Native American land, only four states permit sportsbooks where gamblers can wager on races and games. Currently only Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware have legal sportsbooks.

Las Vegas sports betting is legendary, while Delaware confines their sports gambling to "racinos" - small casinos located at horse racing tracks. And Washington is perhaps the only state to set rules for legal workplace gambling.

Horse and Dog Racing

Just about every state allows horse racing, although the types of wagering permitted on- or off-track may vary. Alaska, D.C., Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina prohibit horse racing entirely.

Many state gambling statutes don't address dog racing at all, while quite a few (D.C., Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, and North Carolina) outlaw dog racing and betting on dog races. Some states, like Virginia and Washington, have specific bans on greyhound racing.


If you thought you might avoid state restrictions on gambling by heading online to bet on sports, think again. The feds have consistently maintained that online sports gambling is illegal, and while individual gamblers have yet to be prosecuted, the government has seized winnings stashed in online accounts.

Some states have lobbied to legalize sports gambling, but the federal government and courts have shut down any expansion of current sports betting laws. At least the man can't take away betting on our fantasy football league.

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