The mobile sports betting industry has taken off in the United States since May of 2018, when the Supreme Court voted to overturn a federal ban on the pastime, leaving the matter up to individual states to decide what to do. That makes the issue of legality quite interesting because laws and regulations can vary dramatically from state to state. If you’re traveling at the moment or planning a trip some time soon, it’s a good plan to have an idea of how those regulations can vary so that you won’t have to deal with any inconvenient surprises along the way.
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Where You Can Bet
This is starting to change as mobile sports betting continues to become more and more mainstream, but some states only permit sports betting at physical locations, like casinos or retail sportsbooks. Obviously, mobile is the name of the game if ease of access is what you’re looking for: it’s much easier to place a bet if you can simply download an app and start wagering from wherever you currently are, rather than having to travel long distances to the nearest physical location to place a bet, and then again when it comes time to collect.
Another thing that’s important to keep in mind is that most of the time, accounts between states are not transferable. Just because you bet and won $100 with Caesars Palace in Virginia doesn’t mean you can hit the ground running in Pennsylvania. You’ll only be able to access that money in Virginia, where you actually placed the bet in order to make it, and you’ll have to make a separate account for the state you’re in.
That’s especially important to keep in mind if you place a bet while traveling.
You can place short term bets, like the outcome of a game that day or later in the week if you’re still going to be around, but steer clear of the long term bets if you don’t want to make an impromptu trip back to claim your winnings.
For example, it might not be the best decision to place a bet on the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl in February, especially when they currently hold the second-best odds at some of the betting sites. This is unless you find yourself in a state where you’ll be able to reap the rewards when February finally arrives
What You Can Bet On
Another thing to keep in mind is that some states have stricter laws regarding what you’re able to bet on. Some are a veritable free for all where you can bet on just about anything. Others limit whether you can bet on things like college sports, given the fact that the athletes are technically amateurs.
State legislatures don’t want unpaid (or, at the very least, underpaid) athletes to be unduly influenced by things like player prop bets, so they’ll make it so you can only bet on the outcome of games or futures bets who will win the championship.
The industry is growing at a rapid pace, with mobile betting platforms beginning to delve into the world of esports and other traditional pastimes like horse racing. It may seem like these laws and regulations proceed at a snail’s pace, but you’ve got to consider the duty of care that government officials put into operating these industries.
When it comes to paper pushing, they’re organizing committees to look into the impact of things like betting on college sports, the ramifications it could have for athletes, whether the risks outweigh the rewards and how to allocate the tax revenue raised.
That brings us to my last and, perhaps, most important point. Tax laws vary dramatically from state to state, whether it’s a place like Nevada with no state income tax —which made it a natural haven for gamblers—or somewhere like New York, which levies a heavy 51 percent tax penalty on the money that sportsbooks win.
The good news is that the average citizen isn’t taxed at a rate anywhere near that. Generally speaking, sportsbook winnings are classified in the same breath as other forms of income like your job or side hustle.
If you’re on the cusp of moving up an income bracket, that’s something to keep in mind, then. For instance, single filers who make between $95,376 and $182,100 are taxed at a 24 percent rate on a federal basis. If you make $182,101, that rate skyrockets to 32 percent, which will end up costing you a whole lot more than those few extra dollars are worth.
Keep an eye on how much you’re making and the local, state and federal tax laws so that you don’t end up costing yourself with a couple good nights at the books.