I am writing this in September 2023. Sports betting has just gone live in Kentucky, so this is an exhilarating time for residents of that state.
Are you in Kentucky, or perhaps another state where legislation has been proposed to legalize sports betting, or where sports betting is waiting to launch? If so, I bet you are excited to finally have your chance to bet on sports!
While you are probably going to want to rush right in, I recommend that you check into some things before you start betting on sports following legalization in your state.
So that you can bet on launch day, you will want to plan ahead over the weeks leading up to sports betting going live. Below are some recommendations that can help you get off to a great start once sports betting gets legalized where you live.
Know The Laws Going Into Effect
First of all, it is important to know that what “legal” means varies from state to state. While sports betting is fully legal in many states, in others, sports betting laws are complicated, and involve a lot of restrictions.
For example, CBS Sports explains that in Wisconsin, “Governor Tony Evers signed an agreement allowing for in-person and mobile app betting while at Oneida Nation’s gaming locations. All betting on in-state collegiate and amateur games and events, including player prop bets, is prohibited.”
As another example, CBS says that for New Mexico, “Under the current state laws, sports betting isn’t explicitly prohibited, nor is it a prohibited Class III game in the gaming compacts shared between tribes and the state. This has allowed the Pueblo of Santa Ana tribe to open their own not-outright-legal-but-also-not-technically-illegal sportsbook at its in-state casino. Sports gambling is legal at the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel and four other tribal casinos.”
So, you should not make any assumptions about what “legal” means in your state. Look up the laws before you begin betting on sports and make sure you are wagering within their bounds.
- A quick aside:
I will take this moment to point out that people have been betting on sports in the USA since long before it became legal and many people are still betting on sports in states where it is not legal yet.
How does this work? It has to do with the fact that some sportsbooks operate offshore, and feel comfortable working with USA customers.
So, even if you are still in a state where there is no legislation to legalize sports betting, you can join one of these sites.
Hypothetically, if you are caught gambling in a state where it is not legal, you can suffer legal consequences (i.e. fines or jail time). That said, this seems to be quite rare. Still, you bet in a state where it is illegal at your own risk.
Check The Date You Will Be Able To Legally Bet
After you understand where and how you can legally bet in your state, look up the date and time when sports betting will launch (if it hasn’t already).
Ideally, you will want to be all set up and ready to go by that date. That way, you can take advantage of special promotions (see below), and you will not have to worry about missing out on the fun of launch day!
Look For Special Promotions
Legal sports betting finally launching in a state where it has been long-awaited is already exciting, but adding to that excitement are special promotions!
Many sports betting and daily fantasy sports sites offer bonuses in celebration of their launches in new states. Check to see what promos are being offered in your state and how you can claim them.
You probably will not find these types of promos at offshore betting sites, as some have long accepted bettors throughout the USA, regardless of the legal status of betting in each state. But if you are signing up on these sites for the first time, you will still find some fantastic Welcome Bonuses available to you.
Be Picky About The Sportsbooks You Join
The prospect of finally being able to legally bet on sports in your state may give you the urge to rush. But you should take your time selecting sports betting sites. Here is what to look for in a quality sportsbooks:
- Fantastic bonuses, promotions and rewards. Some sites also offer contests
- Regulation (whether in the USA or abroad)
- Lots of deposit and withdrawal methods, including some that work for you. Look for fast transfer times and low fees
- Many sports to bet on and types of bets
- Excellent odds
- Reliable customer service from knowledgeable, friendly agents who are easy to reach
- Great reviews from other bettors, especially other bettors in the USA
The online sportsbooks we have vetted and recommend have offered great odds and promotions to USA bettors for many years now. Take a look at our in-depth reviews.
Set A Budget For Betting
After you have researched into sports betting laws, when sports betting will launch in your state, and high quality sites where you can open accounts, the next thing you should think about is how you will budget for betting on sports.
If this is your first time betting on sports, you may need to rein in your impulses a bit. You might be tempted to budget a lot for your first foray into betting, or even dive in without a budget at all.
But the excitement you feel is exactly why it is extra important to make sure you are betting responsibly within your financial means.
Figure out how much disposable income you will have to bet with during the month that betting launches in your state. Deposit that amount and only that amount.
If you are planning weeks in advance, maybe you will find some opportunities to earn some extra money to deposit into your sports betting account and stay on track with the rest of your budget.
At this stage, you also will want to figure out what stakes you can afford. You do not want to spend all of your money on a single bet on launch day, and then find you have to wait another month to bet again.
Decide how many bets you want to be able to place, and then do the math to figure out what stake size will make that possible even if you have a losing streak.
Understand How Sports Betting Impacts Your Taxes
Do sports betting wins get taxed? Yes! Uncle Sam expects his cut of whatever money you make with your wagers!
Research into the tax implications for sports betting before you start. That way, you will know how much you need to set aside to keep up with your tax obligations if you are profitable. You do not want to go assuming you have more money than you really do.
Join Multiple Sportsbooks To Shop The Odds
Next, you should sign up for accounts on several different sports betting sites.
These can include sites regulated in the USA, offshore sites, or a combination of the two.
There are two reasons to join more than one online sportsbook:
- To get more bonuses, and
- To shop the odds.
Shopping the odds is one of the most important things you can do to become a profitable sports bettor over the long term. It helps to already have accounts at multiple sportsbooks so you can do it quickly when placing bets.
Learn Everything You Can About Betting
Finally, as you are waiting for the final weeks to go by before sports betting launches legally in your state, that is the perfect time to educate yourself more about betting.
Research different types of bets, how odds work, the sports you can wager on, strategies for betting, and more. The greater your understanding of betting, the more likely you are to do well.
2023 Update: Where are We At with Sports Betting Legalization Efforts?
Looking for a quick reference for whether betting is legal in your state yet? According to CBS Sports, here is the status for every state as of the time of this writing (September 2023):
|Kentucky||Legal (just launched)|
|Maine||Not Legal (legislation proposed)|
|Missouri||Not Legal (legislation proposed)|
|New Mexico||It’s complicated|
|North Dakota||Not Legal (legislation proposed)|
|Oklahoma||Not Legal (stalled)|
|South Carolina||Not Legal (legislation proposed)|
|South Dakota||It’s complicated|
|Vermont||Legal (not yet launched)|
The sports betting legal landscape in the USA continues to change, So, if you are in one of the states above that are not listed as “legal,” be sure to look up whether any new legislation has been introduced. Hopefully soon, sports betting will be legal everywhere in the country.
Find Exciting Odds and Promotions for Sports Betting in the USA
Now you have an idea how you can prepare to start betting for the first time when it becomes legal in your state.
The sports betting sites we recommend are located offshore, and most of them accept customers throughout the United States.
Take a look at our reviews if you are ready to begin betting on sports at sites where you can look forward to competitive odds, fantastic promotions, and reliable payouts.
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