Official Betting in Sports

Official betting is facilitated by sportsbooks, companies or individuals that accept bets on various sporting events. These can be retail locations that offer in-person bet placement, or online/mobile platforms. Sportsbooks can also be located within a professional sports venue, casino, racino (combination race track and casino) or another licensed gaming facility. Some states have passed laws allowing retail and online sports betting, while other have banned the activity altogether or limited it in some way.

Historically, some professional sports leagues have opposed legalized sports gambling, with the NFL arguing that it could damage the integrity of the sport. However, the NFL has since become one of the most active stakeholders in the industry and partnered with multiple sportsbook operators.

The United Kingdom is the largest market for sports betting, where it contributes about $5.4 billion to the economy each year. It is regulated in most of the country’s regions and is popular with locals who enjoy wagering on soccer, rugby, cricket, and other major sports.

In the United States, legal sports betting began on Jan. 1, 2023 in Delaware and Maryland. Ohio, a sports-crazy state with a long history of betting, launched in late 2021 and will be the third U.S. state to offer both retail and online betting. Florida, another sports-crazy state, relaunched its sportsbooks in November of 2023 following a two-year legal limbo. Its small population and the availability of digital sportsbooks in neighboring states has kept it from being a significant player in the national market, however.