Connect with us

Sports

Best sports betting sites for May 2024: Claim bonuses at top online sportsbooks for NBA, NHL playoffs | Sporting News

Published

on

Sports betting continues to expand across the US, with lots of options for those seeking the best sports betting sites. To help you choose the right online sportsbook for you, our staff has reviewed all the legal sites, and we share our picks for the best online sportsbooks below.

Read on for information about US online sportsbooks and what they offer, find out how to sign up for an account and get started betting, plus learn about the current state of online sports betting in the US with our comprehensive overview.

Top sports betting sites in the US for May 2024

Here are our choices for the top sports betting sites for this month, all of which are available in multiple US states.

Sports betting site Welcome offer Bonus code
1. FanDuel Sportsbook Bet $5, Get $200 in Bonus Bets Win or Lose None – Use links
2. BetMGM Sportsbook Up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets SPORTSPICK
3. Bet365 Sportsbook First Bet Safety Net up to $1,000, or Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets TSNNC
4. DraftKings Sportsbook Get up to $1,250 in Bonuses None – Use links
5. Caesars Sportsbook $1,000 First Bet on Caesars NEWS1000
6. BetRivers Sportsbook 2nd Chance Bet up to $500 SPORTSRIV
7. Fanatics Sportsbook See site for details n/a
8. ESPN Bet Sportsbook See site for details n/a

1. FanDuel Sportsbook

In terms of overall market share, FanDuel Sportsbook is the most popular online sports betting site in the US. It has all the hallmarks of a top sportsbook, with great coverage of different sports and leagues, an excellent live betting platform and competitive odds. FanDuel is perhaps best known for its popular same-game parlays, but there is no shortage of other betting options across the site including lots of props and futures among other ways to wager.

Other positives at FanDuel Sportsbook include the many available banking options (including fast payout options) and solid customer support. Both the FanDuel Sportsbook website and app are neatly integrated with other FanDuel products as well (DFS, casino, horse betting), further enhancing the user’s experience. Indeed, while FanDuel does most things well and is on par with what other sportsbooks bring, the site’s simple, accessible design, appealing look, and ease of use likely have a lot to do with FanDuel’s popularity.

  • Best features: Well-designed, user-friendly platform, same-game parlays, integration with other FanDuel products
  • App ratings (out of 5): 4.8 (Apple), 4.7 (Android)
  • States available: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming

2. BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM Sportsbook touts itself as the “King of Sportsbooks” and it is hard to argue otherwise. Available in close to two dozen states with more launches imminent, BetMGM stands out in several ways starting with its wide market coverage, its available betting options including lots of individual and team props, and its plentiful live betting menu.

In our testing we especially liked BetMGM’s many user-friendly elements like the Parlay Generator (located just below the bet slip), the “Easy Parlay” function (providing another way to build parlays), along with the “My Bets” and “Favorites” sections. The “Edit My Bet” feature is popular as well among bettors, too, allowing them once the cash-out option appears to add, change, or remove selections or even change the stakes. BetMGM Sportsbook’s welcome offer makes it an attractive choice as well, as does its ongoing promos and the BetMGM Rewards program.

  • Best features: Frequent bonuses and promotions, “Edit My Bet” and other features
  • App ratings (out of 5): 4.8 (Apple), 3.7 (Android)
  • States available: Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi (on-site only), New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming

3. Bet365 Sportsbook

Having previously built a hugely successful international brand over two decades, Bet365 Sportsbook is now one of the best online sportsbooks for US bettors. Both the web-based site and the Bet365 mobile app have the same smart, intuitive design, making it simple to navigate the many sports and contests available. The “Bet Boost” section appearing at the top of the home page shows all the day’s special promotional bet boosts. The “Same Game Parlay” section also makes it easy to find and combine multiple wagers when creating your own SGP’s.

We also found Bet365 Sportsbook to offer competitive odds with a lower vig in many cases, and the selection of live betting options is larger than what we’ve seen at most sportsbooks. Bet365 Sportsbook is known for its generous welcome offer for new sign-ups, plus lots of ongoing promotions including lots of profit boosts, parlay boost, and early payout offers. As a relative up-and-comer in the US sports betting space, Bet365 Sportsbook is starting to stand out more and more with every new launch.

  • Best features: Daily bet boosts, ongoing promotions, competitive odds
  • App ratings (out of 5): 4.7 (Apple), 4.6 (Android)
  • States available: Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia

4. DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook is another well known and popular online sports betting site available in close to 20 states with more coming. Thanks to prevalent advertising many know about DraftKings’ great welcome offer for new sign-ups, and when new bettors join they discover DraftKings to be smooth-running, easy-to-use platform that is neatly arranged for navigating the site’s many markets and bet types including lots of alternate lines, individual and team props, same-game parlays and more.

We especially like DraftKings’ live betting platform with its copious wagering options and instantaneous updates. Whether using the website or app, you can reach live betting quickly through its own tab and swiftly submit your wagers as games play out. Other features include free betting pools and the DraftKings Dynasty Rewards Program. In many ways, DraftKings’ site and app design as well as its offerings have helped establish a standard that other online betting sites now regularly follow.

  • Best features: Live betting platform and options, top-notch site design
  • App ratings (out of 5): 4.8 (Apple), 4.6 (Android)
  • States available: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming

5. Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars Sportsbook has become a top online sports betting site in the 20-plus states where it is available, and we recommend it highly as well. Caesars has betting opportunities in a wide range of markets with all the standard bet types plus a generous selection of alternate lines, props, futures and other bets. The live betting platform is robust as well, and Caesars stands out as the only sportsbook app at present enabling live streaming of select NFL games.

During our testing, comparisons showed Caesars Sportsbook featured competitive odds across the board that was almost always right in line with other books. Caesars offers an attractive welcome offer and runs ongoing promotions, including odds boosts and parlays. Meanwhile, the renowned Caesars Rewards program also gives bettors the chance to earn additional perks and rewards as they wager.

  • Best features: Range of markets, variety of available wagers, Caesars Rewards
  • App ratings (out of 5): 4.6 (Apple), 4.3 (Android)
  • States available: Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming

6. BetRivers Sportsbook

Available in more than a dozen states, BetRivers Sportsbook has a lot to offer as well both to novice and seasoned sports bettors. All the major sports and many minor ones are covered, with a huge variety of bets for all the bigger contests. We’ve literally seen 250-300 bets (or more!) on a given NBA or NFL game. The design includes quick links to “Prop Central” where various player and team props are highlighted, “House Specials” featuring more props with boosted odds, and BetRivers’ live streaming of selected contests. Meanwhile, the “SGP Quick Pick” section also gathers preselected same-game parlays.

The welcome offer at BetRivers Sportsbook differs depending on the state but compares well with other sites’ offers. Meanwhile, once you join users can take advantage of various ongoing promos including odds boosts, parlay insurance, bet-and-get bonuses and more. Other aspects of the site add further to its attractiveness, including the RushPay system that auto-approves the majority of withdrawals for instant payouts and the iRush Rewards loyalty program.

  • Best features: Huge variety of betting options, iRush Rewards program, ongoing promotions
  • App ratings (out of 5): 4.4 (Apple), 3.2 (Android)
  • States available: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia

7. Fanatics Sportsbook

Among the newer sports betting sites, we also want to draw attention to Fanatics Sportsbook, which has recently become available in a number of states. As part of the sportswear company that offers official licensed gear, Fanatics has partnerships with all of the major US leagues as well as with many teams. Those affiliations come into play with the site’s FanCash program that enables bettors to earn credits as they wager that can then be used to purchase items from the Fanatics store.

As far as the betting platform goes, the site and app function smoothly and offer a nice range of sports and betting options. We like small features like the early cash-outs and the withdrawal tracker which enhance the user experience. Note that Fanatics acquired PointsBet’s US operations, thereby expanding its reach considerably as it launches in states where PointsBet previously operated.

  • Best features: Smooth-running platform, FanCash program
  • App ratings (out of 5): 4.8 (Apple), 3.9 (Android)
  • States available: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia

8. ESPN Bet Sportsbook

The ESPN Bet Sportsbook brings the highly-recognizable ESPN brand into the sports betting world. After reaching a deal with Penn Entertainment to acquire the old Barstool Sportsbook, the newly-rebranded ESPN Bet site became available in many states. The site offers the full range of betting options and markets with lots of props and futures plus a plentiful live betting menu. 

ESPN Bet runs frequent promotions as well, sometimes tied in with ESPN personalities such as the “Stephen A. Smith New York insurance” promo. There are other similar bet “protection” promos offering you Bonus Bet refunds for parlays and other wagers that barely miss hitting. Look also for other occasional offers like First Goalscorer Thursday (NHL) or First Basket Bonus (NBA) that often arise.

  • Best features: User-friendly site and app, frequent promos
  • App ratings (out of 5): 4.8 (Apple), 4.3 (Android)
  • States available: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia

New sports betting sites for 2024

New sports betting sites are constantly launching as the number of states with legal online sports betting continues to expand. 

The latest wave of new sports betting sites launched in North Carolina where eight different sites went live on the first day of online sports betting in NC. On March 11, 2024, North Carolina sports bettors were able to start placing bets at Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, ESPN Bet, Fanatics, FanDuel, and Underdog Sports

Just a little before that, Vermont went live with legal online sports betting on Jan. 11, 2024. Three new VT online sportsbooks launched on that day — FanaticsFanDuel, and DraftKings.

Another new site, ClutchBet Sportsbook, went live in Louisiana at the end of Jan. Bet365 Sportsbook launched a new site in Arizona in Feb.

Meanwhile, besides launching in NC and VT, Fanatics Sportsbook has gone live in several other states in 2024 as well — Pennsylvania (Jan.), Indiana (Feb.), Iowa (Feb.), Michigan (Feb.), New York (Feb.), Kansas (Mar.), Arizona (Apr.), and Illinois (Apr.).

Finally, we should also mention that FanDuel Sportsbook launched in the District of Columbia in Apr. as well, taking over as DC’s sole online sportsbook operator.

How we compare and rank the best sports betting sites 

When our staff reviews different online sportsbooks and compiles our rankings of the top sports betting sites, we consider many different factors.

First off, we only consider legal and regulated sports betting sites (and we strongly discourage you from ever playing at other sites). When using those sites and evaluating them, we consider the following criteria while asking these questions about each:  

  • Sports covered and market depth — What sports and leagues are available for wagering? And within each sport, how deep is the market (that is, how many different kinds of wagers are offered)?
  • Welcome offers — How does the site’s welcome offer compare to its competitors? Is it truly a solid offer, or does it come with hard-to-satisfy wagering requirements or other drawbacks?
  • Competitiveness of odds — Do the odds and payouts correspond to what other sites are offering? Or are they considerably better or worse, either generally or for certain markets?
  • Quality of ongoing bonuses and promotions — How good are those “parlay boosts” and other online sportsbook bonuses and promotions the site keeps emailing us about? Does the site offer free-to-play pools and contests or run other fun promos?
  • User experience on the site and app — How “user-friendly” is the layout and design of the online sportsbook both on the website and the app? Is it easy to find what you’re looking for?
  • Available banking options — What are the available methods for depositing and withdrawing? What are the limits? How quickly does the site process payouts?
  • Customer support — When we contacted customer support with questions, how responsive and friendly was the agent? Did we have to struggle with chat bots, or did we reach a real human right away who could help us?
  • Player reviews and rankings — How is the app being reviewed by users at the Apple Store or on Google Play? What is the site’s reputation among experienced sports bettors?
  • Responsible gambling tools — Does the site have ways to limit how much you deposit or wager, or how much time you spend on the site? What sort of responsible gambling information does the site provide?

Related Pages:

How to sign up at an online sports betting site

Getting a new account at an online sportsbook is a fast and simple process, often only taking a couple of minutes. It typically involves sharing some personal information. This helps the sites be certain you are who you say you are, but it also helps ensure the security of your account.

  1. Here are the steps to follow to register an account at most online sports betting sites:
  2. Visit the sportsbook’s website or download the mobile app to your Apple or Android device.
  3. Click “Join Now” or “Sign Up” (or the equivalent).
  4. Enter your personal information, including your full name, home address, email address, phone number, date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security Number. The site will then usually try to verify your identity independently, and if it cannot you may be asked to correct your information or provide further documentation.
  5. Create a username (if asked) and a password. You might also be asked to set up security questions as well.
  6. If you have a bonus code associated with a welcome offer, enter the promo code when prompted. Be sure to do this in order to make certain you are eligible to receive the welcome offer.
  7. Tick any remaining boxes to reaffirm the accuracy of your info and/or agree to the site’s terms and conditions, then click “Submit” or “Create Account” (or the equivalent).

That’s all it takes to create an online sports betting site account. You can deposit funds later, at which time you’ll likely need to provide more information (e.g., bank account info).

Pros and cons of different sportsbook bonuses and promotions

You’re seeing different online sportsbook welcome offers mentioned above. These can be great to help you get started with you wagering, often letting you make some bets with bonus money or in other ways that reduce your risk as you begin.

For example, when a site offers you bonus bets for signing up or for making an initial wager, that can be a great way to get familiar with the sportsbook by placing some wagers without any risk to your bankroll. However, if you lose those bets you don’t receive any bonus at all. 

“Second chance” bonuses that refund a losing bet with an equivalent bonus bet can be nice, too. The only problem is you have to lose your bet in order to receive a bonus, and if you win you don’t get anything.

Meanwhile, deposit match bonuses can sometimes be quite large, but they require you to deposit a significant amount in order to get them. Occasionally they come with wagering requirements, too, which might mean you have to wager more money than you’d like to just to receive the bonus.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of those three common online sportsbook welcome offers that spells out the pros and cons of each:

Bonus How the bonus works Pros Cons
Second Chance Bonus

For your first bet, if you lose you receive a “refund” in the form of bonus bets up to a maximum amount (e.g., $1,000).

  • Gives you a second try if you don’t win your first bet.
  • Allows you the chance to make a longshot wager to start out that you might not try without the “safety net” of receiving the bonus if you lose.
  • Once your first wager is settled, it is usually a quick turnaround (24 hours or less) to receive the bonus.
  • You have to lose your first bet to receive any sort of bonus at all.
  • Bonus funds must be wagered and cannot be withdrawn.
  • If you win with a bonus bet, you typically only receive winnings (and not the stake amount as with traditional cash wagers)
Bet-and-Get Bonus

Make a first wager of some minimum amount on the site (e.g., $5) and receive a larger amount of bonus bets in return (e.g., $150 in bonus bets).

  • You receive the bonus regardless of whether you win or lose your first bet.
  • Often only requires you to make a small deposit and first wager to receive the bonus.
  • When the amount of bonus bets is large (e.g., $150), you get to start your wagering on the site with a readymade bankroll.
  • Occasionally this offer requires you to make a larger first wager than you might want to make (e.g., $50).
  • Sometimes you have to use your bonus bets within a short period (e.g., seven days).
  • Wins with bonus bets only reward the winnings and not the stake amount.
Deposit Match Bonus

When you make your first deposit, the site “matches” your deposit with bonus bets according to a percentage of your deposit (e.g., 20% or even 100%).

  • Provide a way to boost your bankroll when first starting on the site.
  • You are receiving a bonus for doing something you were going to do anyway, namely, depositing funds into your account.
  • Does not require you to lose a wager in order to receive the bonus.
  • Requires you to make a deposit to receive the bonus, and if you want a large bonus you have to make a large deposit.
  • Often comes with a wagering requirement attached, which means risking even more of your money in order to receive the bonus.
  • The bonus is usually awarded as bonus bets, which again if you win with them you only receive the winnings and not the bet amount back.

We’ll add as a final caveat always to read the terms and conditions associated with any online sportsbook bonus. Drill down into the details, and that will help you be better informed when comparing offers and also avoid any surprises later.

Is online sports betting legal in the US?

As noted, the number of states that allow some form of sports betting continues to expand. That’s quite a change from just a few years ago when the US Supreme Court ruled to lift the federal ban on sports betting and allow states other than Nevada to legalize it.

North Carolina is the latest legal market to launch, with no less than eight new North Carolina sports betting apps now live. It wasn’t that long ago that Kentucky, Maine, and Vermont all joined the list of legal sports betting states as well. As these new states go live, many top online sportsbooks are seeking to expand their reach by launching sites in these locations.

Note that to place wagers on an online sports betting app, you need to be physically located within a state that allows it. 

Where in the US is sports betting legal?

More than half of US states have now legalized sports betting. In most cases, the states offer both retail sportsbooks and online sites (including mobile apps), although there are a few exceptions. 

The availability of online sportsbooks varies from state to state. Some states have more than 20 online sportsbooks competing for customers, while others have only a handful. Meanwhile, in many states, new online sportsbooks are constantly launching, making it all the more challenging to pick the best sports betting sites.

Here’s a detailed rundown of all the states that have legalized sports betting with some details about their online sports betting options. 

Arkansas sports betting

After legalizing retail sports betting at its three casinos, Arkansas authorized the casinos to launch online sportsbooks in 2021. Bettors in Arkansas can place wagers online at Betly Sportsbook, Bet Saracen, or Oaklawn Sports.

Arizona sports betting

Arizona legalized sports betting in 2021 with the first retail and online sportsbooks launching that year in time for the NFL season. Close to 20 online sports betting sites are now live in AZ, including Betway, Caesars, BetMGM, BetRivers, and Betfred.

Colorado sports betting

Colorado legalized sports betting in 2019, and the first online sportsbooks went live the next year. Today, the state has more than 20 online sportsbooks from which to choose, among them Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, and BetRivers. 

Connecticut sports betting

Connecticut introduced online sports betting in 2021 with three new sites. DraftKings Sportsbook has partnered with Foxwoods to operate an online site, FanDuel Sportsbook has done the same, and the CT Lottery joined forces with Rush Street Interactive to power the PlaySugarHouse sports betting app.

District of Columbia sports betting

The District of Columbia first legalized sports betting in early 2019 but with significant restrictions. When it comes to online sportsbooks, there are three of them in DC, but two of those (BetMGM and Caesars) are limited to specific locations. The only district-wide online sportsbook is the FanDuel Sportsbook operated by the DC Lottery.

Florida sports betting

After extensive legal machinations, legal sports betting became available in Florida starting in Nov. 2023. You can place bets at the retail sportsbooks at the six Seminole Tribe-operated casinos in the state. You can also wager online using the Hard Rock Bet Sportsbook site or app. Those are the only choices at present, however. 

Illinois sports betting

Illinois legalized sports betting in 2019 with the first sportsbooks going live in March 2020. Currently, there are eight online sportsbooks available. Illinois bettors can place their wagers online at BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, Circa, DraftKings, ESPN Bet, Fanatics, FanDuel, DraftKings.

Indiana sports betting

Indiana introduced legal sports betting in 2019 with many sites launching that fall. Today, there are nearly 20 online sportsbooks up and running. Top Indiana sports betting sites include Caesars, BetMGM, BetRivers, and FanDuel. 

Iowa sports betting

Iowa is another state with a wide selection of legal online sports betting options. Legalization and the first launches happened in 2019, and now Iowa hosts no less than 17 different sports betting sites, including Bet365, BetMGM, BetRivers, and Betway. 

Kansas sports betting

Kansas legalized sports betting in 2022, launching six online sportsbooks that fall. Kansans can currently wager on sports online at BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, ESPN Bet, Fanatics, and FanDuel. The state’s four casinos can each partner with up to three operators, which means more online sportsbooks could launch in the future. 

Kentucky sports betting

Kentucky legalized sports betting in March 2023 with the first online sportsbooks launching on Sept. 28, 2023. Barstool (now ESPN Bet), Bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, Fanatics, and FanDuel comprised the first group of legal KY online sports betting sites. Ultimately the state’s nine racetracks and simulcast venues can partner with up to three online operators apiece, meaning a theoretical maximum of 27 KY sites.

Louisiana sports betting

Louisiana legalized sports betting in most of its parishes in 2020, and the first online sites went live in early 2022. With the launch of ClutchBet Sportsbook in early 2024, there are now eight online sportsbooks live in the state. Be aware, however, that you must be physically located in one of the 55 (out of 64) parishes that allow them. Top online sports betting options in Louisiana include BetMGM, BetRivers, Fanatics, and FanDuel. 

Maine sports betting

Maine legalized both retail and online sports betting in 2022. The new law allows up to four online sportsbooks, one for each of the state’s four federally recognized Native American tribes. That said, three tribes partnered with Caesars and the other with DraftKings, so only those two sites went live when Maine launched online sports betting in early Nov. 2023. Retail sports betting is also legal in Maine, and two BetMGM sportsbooks are expected to open in 2024. 

Maryland sports betting

Maryland legalized sports betting in 2021 with the first online sites arriving in late 2022. A few more launched in 2023, bringing the total to 11. These include Caesars, BetMGM, Fanatics, FanDuel, BetRivers and DraftKings. The new law allows as many as 60 online sportsbooks altogether. While there won’t likely be many, expect more operators to launch in MD.

Massachusetts sports betting

After a few years of legal back-and-forth, lawmakers in Massachusetts finally legalized both retail and online sports betting in 2022, and the first wave of new sites launched in March 2023. There are six sports betting sites up and running in Massachusetts presently, including BetMGM, FanDuel, Caesars, and DraftKings. At least a couple more MA online sportsbooks are coming soon, and the new law allows as many as 15. 

Michigan sports betting

Michigan legalized sports betting in December 2019 with the first retail sportsbooks launching the following spring and MI online sports betting sites arriving in January 2021. Today, there are 15 Michigan sports betting sites from which to choose, including BetMGM, FanDuel, Caesars, and DraftKings.

Nevada sports betting

Nevada had sports betting well before any other state, of course, launching its first online sports betting sites in 2010. Today you’ll find more than a dozen options when it comes to Nevada online sportsbooks, among them BetMGM and Caesars, plus a number of Nevada-only sites. 

New Hampshire sports betting

New Hampshire legalized sports betting in 2019 with the first site, DraftKings Sportsbook, launching in December of that year. When it comes to sports betting, DraftKings enjoys exclusivity in NH thanks to its agreement with the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, so don’t expect any other online sportsbooks to launch in the state.

New Jersey sports betting

New Jersey led the way for expanded sports betting following the US Supreme Court ruling in 2018, which had been prompted, in fact, by NJ’s challenge to the law. NJ introduced retail sports betting that June, and the first NJ online sportsbook launched in August. Today, there are 17 online sports betting sites in New Jersey, with Caesars, Bet365, BetMGM, BetRivers, FanDuel, and Betway among the available options.

New York sports betting

While New York technically legalized sports betting years before, the first retail sportsbooks didn’t launch until 2019 with NY online sportsbooks following in 2021. There are nine online sports betting sites currently operating in New York, including BetMGM, BetRivers, FanDuel, and Fanatics.

North Carolina sports betting

North Carolina has allowed retail sports betting at tribal casinos for several years, but it wasn’t until June 14, 2023 that online sports betting was legalized. The first eight NC online sportsbooks launched on March 11, 2024.

Ohio sports betting

Ohio is another relatively new entry on the list of sports betting states. The state legalized the practice in late 2021, spent most of 2022 hammering out rules and regulations, and finally launched the first online sports betting sites on Jan. 1, 2023. Today there are 19 online sportsbooks in Ohio (and potentially still room for a few more), with Bet365, Caesars, BetMGM, BetRivers, Fanatics, and Betfred among them.

Oregon sports betting

Oregon is another state with legal online sports betting through only one option. Having launched its own Scoreboard sports betting app in 2019, DraftKings Sportsbook took that site’s place in January 2022 as the only online sportsbook allowed in OR.

Pennsylvania sports betting

Pennsylvania legalized sports betting in 2018, with the first retail sportsbook opening in November. Then, May 2019 brought the first online sportsbook in PA, and now there are 12 online sports betting sites up and running in the Keystone State including Caesars, BetMGM, BetRivers, Fanatics, FanDuel, and Betway.

Rhode Island sports betting

Rhode Island legalized sports betting early in 2018, with the nation’s smallest state permitting just one online sportsbook, Sportsbook Rhode Island, operated by the RI Lottery. 

Tennessee sports betting

Tennessee did something unique in 2019 when it legalized online-only sports betting. As a state with no retail casinos, TN came up with the idea to permit only online sportsbooks. The first sites launched in 2020, and you can now wager on 11 different online sites in the Volunteer State with BetMGM, FanDuel, and Caesars among the most popular choices.

Vermont sports betting

On June 14, 2023, Vermont officially legalized sports betting, and on Jan. 11, 2024 the first three sites launched — FanDuel, DraftKings, and Fanatics Two other operators, BetMGM and ESPN Bet, have also applied for licenses in VT. The new law allows up to six online sports betting sites, although it remains to be seen whether the small state will have more than the three already live.

Virginia sports betting

After the state legalized sports betting in 2020, the first Virginia online sportsbooks went live in January 2021. There are more than a dozen sports betting sites now available to Virginians, including Bet365, Betway, BetMGM, BetRivers, Fanatics, Caesars, and FanDuel.  

West Virginia sports betting

Since legalizing sports betting and other forms of online gambling in 2018, West Virginia has become a favorite destination for sportsbook operators. The first sites launched in 2019, and today there are nine online sportsbooks in WV, including BetMGM, BetRivers, Fanatics, FanDuel, Caesars, and DraftKings. 

Wyoming sports betting

Wyoming followed Tennessee’s lead by legalizing sports betting only online. The first sites arrived in 2021, and today there are four Wyoming online sportsbooks: BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars.

Additional states with limited legal sports betting 

Let’s add to our rundown of US sports betting by recapping those states that have restricted legal sports betting.

Delaware sports betting

Delaware has legalized online sports betting as well as online casinos and online poker. However, the only sports betting available in the state is in person at one of the three Delaware racinos. 

Mississippi sports betting

Mississippi was among the first states to legalize sports betting just a few months after the 2018 US Supreme Court ruling. Mississippi technically allows online sports betting, but only when users are physically present at casino sites that already offer retail sportsbooks. There are only two sports betting apps in Mississippi, with BetMGM available at a couple of locations and Pearl River Sports at another. 

Montana sports betting

Montana made sports betting legal in 2019, but it does not allow statewide online sports betting. It’s allowed only at retail locations with sports betting licenses. There’s only one sports betting app in Montana: Sports Bet Montana. 

South Dakota sports betting

South Dakota has legal sports betting, but only in person at retail sportsbooks at the state’s Deadwood casinos. 

Washington sports betting

Washington is similar to South Dakota in that it, too, has legal sports betting but only at the state’s tribal casinos. 

Most popular sports and events to bet on

The best online sportsbooks offer a wide range of betting opportunities for all the most popular sports and leagues. 

  • NFL — Football is America’s favorite sport to bet on, and the National Football League is by far the most popular league in US sports betting. Fans love betting on this week’s NFL betting lines, season-long NFL futures odds, and all the individual and team NFL props. The postseason provides lots of excitement as well. Super Bowl betting odds and Super Bowl prop bets are the most popular single betting event every year for sports bettors. See here for the best NFL betting sites. See here for the latest NFL sportsbook promos.
  • NBA — The National Basketball Association’s 82-game season provides lots of opportunities to bet on NBA game lines, NBA futures odds and much more. Once the regular season is done (and NBA Win Totals odds bets pay out) the NBA’s lengthy postseason, lasting another two-plus months, adds still more chances to bet, with NBA Finals odds and NBA props drawing a lot of action on the top NBA betting apps. Check out the best NBA betting promos.
  • MLB — Major League Baseball features the longest regular season of any major US sport: 162 games. MLB betting apps have a wide variety of ways to bet on the games, from moneyline and run line bets to all sorts of team and player props. MLB is great for individual futures bets, such as on statistical leaders or league MVP and Cy Young winners. Of course, MLB playoff odds and World Series odds always earn a lot of attention from bettors, too. Check out the best baseball betting promos.
  • NHL — The National Hockey League season is a long one as well, matching the NBA’s 82-game schedule, plus a lengthy postseason with many best-of-seven series culminating with the Stanley Cup Finals. NHL betting sites post odds including NHL moneylines or puck lines before games, totals, various props and parlays, the Grand Salami on all the night’s action (a bet on the total goals scored in all the games), any number of NHL betting promos and NHL futures odds. See tonight’s NHL game lines.
  • College basketball — NCAA men’s college basketball is hugely popular, both throughout the season and especially for March Madness betting. Enjoy betting on individual games or on potential champs, but many of the best college basketball betting apps offer chances to fill out brackets, too. 
  • College football — College football rivals the NFL in popularity among sports bettors. The best college football betting sites offer the same variety of NCAA football betting lines as the NFL throughout the regular season. The massive college bowl schedule provides more games to bet on with the College Football Playoff games always earning a lot of attention. Weekly college football betting promos are also common.
  • Boxing & MMA — Boxing remains a popular sport for fans and sports bettors with much-hyped, pay-per-view title bouts earning a lot of action and wagering opportunities at boxing betting sites. Mixed martial arts matches have also become big with bettors. A given night’s UFC lineup often draws lots of money on different fights and parlay opportunities at top UFC betting apps
  • Soccer — The best soccer betting sites post odds all year round, thanks to the MLS and the many European and international leagues constantly running. The FIFA World Cup, the Copa América tournament, and other major soccer events attract a huge following, with many sportsbooks offering a large selection of betting opportunities, including live betting. 
  • Golf & Tennis — Virtually year-round betting with odds posted at all the best golf betting sites and tennis betting sites for Grand Slams, Majors, and every tournament small or large in-between. Golf & tennis also offer tons of unique betting types.

Types of online sportsbook wagers

Different sports offer different bet types, although you’ll find most offer the same basic styles. Let’s briefly explain the usual suspects. 

  • Moneylines — A classic bet on one side or the other to win a contest “straight up” regardless of the final score.
  • Point Spreads — A bet on one side to win a contest by a certain number of points (or goals or runs), or on a side not to lose by more than a certain amount. By the way, in baseball, you’ll see the spread bet listed as the “run line.” In hockey, it’s called the “puck line.”
  • Totals — A bet on the total number of points (or goals or runs) scored by both sides in a given contest. This bet is sometimes called an “over/under” bet, as you are betting on the total falling either over or under a particular number.
  • Parlays — A bet that combines two or more bets into a single wager. The bettor must get every “leg” of the bet correct to win the bundle. Multi-leg parlays can produce long odds and thus big payouts, but they are much harder to win than single bets. 
  • Props — A “proposition” bet concerns an event or result occurring within a contest that isn’t dependent on the game’s outcome. These can be individual props on certain players’ statistical performances, or team props on team stats and other events that can happen in a game (e.g., a prop on which team will lead at halftime). 
  • Futures — A bet on the outcome of some future event, such as a preseason bet on a team’s odds to win the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup oddsNFL Win Totals, or NFL MVP odds.
  • Live betting — Also called “in-play betting,” live betting involves wagering on a game in progress, either on props (e.g., the outcome of the next play) or on how the game will end (e.g., moneyline, spread, or totals bets at odds that change with the action). Online sportsbooks are particularly great for live betting given the speed with which bets can be submitted and graded. 

How do you read odds when betting on sports?

You’ll often see online sportsbooks in the US using the “American odds” system, which might look a little confusing to novice bettors. It’s easy to figure out, though. Just think of the numbers as referring to $100 bets (even though you aren’t necessarily betting $100). 

Let’s say you are looking over the available NFL bets at an online sportsbook and you see the following moneyline bet:

  • PHI Eagles (-205)
  • NE Patriots (+170)

Those numbers are the odds the sportsbook is offering on each team, and they also indicate how much a winning bet will pay. A positive number (e.g., +170) indicates the underdog, while a negative number (e.g., -205) denotes the favorite. In this case, the Eagles are favored over the Pats.

A moneyline bet of $100 on New England at +170 will profit $170. That is to say, if you bet $100, you’ll get your $100 back plus $170 on top of that. Meanwhile, if you bet on the Eagles at -205, you have to bet $205 to win $100. In other words, you’ll lay out $205, and if you win, you’ll get that back plus your $100 of profit.

The payouts are proportional, meaning if you bet, say, $10 on the Pats and win, you’ll win $17. Or if you bet $5, you’ll win $8.50. Meanwhile, if you bet $20.50 on the Eagles and win, you win $10. 

What is the difference between traditional sports betting and daily fantasy sports?

Daily fantasy sports shares a lot in common with traditional sports betting although there are some important differences. With regular sports betting, you’re usually betting on teams to win or beat a spread, or on the individual or team props. Meanwhile, with DFS, you are never betting on a particular team, but rather a “fantasy” team that you drafted.

That’s the primary difference. In DFS, the team you bet on is invented by way of your lineup creation. That’s why when you draft a DFS roster, say, on an NFL Sunday, you can’t simply fill your lineup with players from just one team.

Another difference is the fact that the actual game outcomes don’t really matter in DFS. Your fantasy team might do well or poorly no matter how the games actually go. What matters is the statistical performance of the players you selected and how your team’s performance compares to other teams in the contest. 

That leads us to one other big difference between DFS and traditional sports betting. When you place bets at a sportsbook, you are essentially betting against the “house.” But when you play DFS, you are competing directly against other players. 

Legal sports betting vs. offshore sites

On this page, we’ve recommended several online sportsbooks as our top choices for US players. In all cases, we are recommending only legal and licensed online sports betting sites. 

You may find online sportsbooks that are not licensed or regulated in your state inviting you to deposit money and wager, but you should avoid doing so. Such sites are not only operating illegally by accepting bets from your state but also under no obligation to protect your funds or personal information.

Many of these sites operate outside the US and are therefore referred to as “offshore” or rogue online sportsbooks. Since they aren’t regulated in the US, they don’t have to abide by US gambling laws, which means if you run into problems with the site or your account, suspect fraud, or have issues with the settling of bets, you’ll have no legal recourse. 

Steer clear of offshore sports betting sites and trust only legal and licensed sportsbooks in your state. 

Sports betting sites FAQ

Which is the best online sports betting site?

For a variety of reasons, we rate Caesars Sportsbook, Bet365 Sportsbook, BetMGM Sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook among the best online sports betting sites. See our fuller breakdown above. 

See more: Top 7 fastest paying sports betting sites

Is online sports betting legal?

In many US states, real money online sports betting is legal, and there are many online sportsbooks from which to choose. You can see listed above which states have legal online sports betting.

Do I have to be a resident of a state to bet at one of its online sportsbooks? 

No, but you do have to be physically located in the state to place any real money wagers. For example, let’s say you are a resident of Alabama (where there is no online sports betting), but you are visiting Tennessee, which does have online sportsbooks. As long as you are in TN, you can place bets at TN online sportsbooks. Once you leave Tennessee, you cannot. 

What is the minimum age to place wagers at US online sportsbooks?

In most of the US, you need to be at least 21 years old to deposit funds and place wagers at legal and licensed online sportsbooks. There are a few states where the minimum to do so is 18 years old, such as Montana, New Hampshire, and Wyoming. Kentucky also has set the minimum age at 18, though some of the online sportsbooks operating there still make 21 the minimum age.

Are online sports betting sites safe?

As long as the sites are legal and licensed to operate in your state, you can rest assured they are safe and trustworthy. Sites receive licenses from state regulators to operate and are regularly audited to ensure they are operating fairly and protecting customers’ private information and deposited funds. If you stay away from unregulated sportsbooks and play only at legal ones, you will be fine.

Continue Reading