At its core, official betting is putting money behind an outcome of your choice and getting paid if it’s a winner. That can mean betting on a team to win a game (moneyline bet), or predicting the total points scored in a game (spread bet). If you combine multiple outcomes into one bet, that’s called a parlay.
It wasn’t all that long ago that you had to go to Nevada to place a sports bet. That changed when a Supreme Court decision in May 2018 gave states the power to legalize sports betting if they choose. As of 2023, 33 states have legalized sports gambling. Others are working on it, while some have opted to not join the party.
While New Jersey led the way with legalization, many more are following suit. Some of them are staking their claim to the first sportsbooks on their shores, while others are taking an incremental approach. It’s a complex process, one that includes the various stakeholders: existing casinos, state lotteries and tribal casinos, lawmakers, sportsbook operators, and leagues.
The NBA and MLB, with the PGA Tour joining them, have aggressively pursued their preferred sports betting framework and have spent heavily on lobbyists to help shape state legislation. They’ve also lobbied the courts to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in Murphy v. NCAA. The NHL, on the other hand, has taken a different approach, striking partnerships with sportsbooks like FanDuel and William Hill to offer betting data as part of their sponsorships.