At LiveCasinoKings.com, we want to make sure you know everything there is to know about sports betting before you start putting down real money. Here are the 10 top sites for U.S. players, along with a betting guide and FAQ to help get you started.
Getting Started with Legal Sports Betting
Sports fanatics can finally bet legally in the United States! Just a year after the federal government struck down the sports gambling ban, many states have formally legalized betting on sports events and fantasy teams. There are already millions of gamblers making money off their favorite sports, so if this is something that’s always piqued your interest, why not give this entertaining hobby a try?
Everything You Need to Know About Sports Betting
At LiveCasinoKings.com, we want to make sure you have all the info to make the best out of this experience. We’ve formally ranked and rated the top sports gambling sites across the internet for U.S. players, included a guide, created a basic FAQ, and laid out the legal logistics.
Our sports betting guide includes:
List of top legal online sportsbooks for U.S. players
FAQ with commonly asked questions
Guide to sports betting odds and playlines
Up-to-date info on which states allow legal online sports wagers
How sports betting works
Glossary of common terms
How-to guide on getting started
Find the Best Online Sportsbook for U.S. Players
For the best online gambling experience, here are the top-rated sports betting websites for American gamblers. These all have mobile betting options as well!
Listed sports betting sites will be available soon. Our team is working hard to release new features as well as reviews and guides.
Finding the Best Sports Betting Sites
Every single sports betting site on our list must meet our strict standards: we only list licensed and safe places for gamblers. Betting and sports games go hand in hand, and unless you live in Vegas and can visit a live sports bookie or gaming facility, you have to go with an online or mobile betting option. Making sure that you’re using a site that’s safe, legal, and will pay out real cash is crucial.
When you choose a sports betting bookie website through our list, you’ll automatically get the current best bonus offers, in addition to the knowledge that you’re using a secure site.
If you decide to go with online betting sites that are not on our list, make sure that it is not blacklisted. Check for signs that this online sportsbook is licensed, uses encryption for optimal safety, and has excellent reviews.
Our Standards for Sportsbooks in the U.S.
We check for sites that have:
Clear certification and licensing – We verify that each online sports bookie has the proper licensure to operate in the U.S. This means that this site is overseen by the American Gaming Association and regulated by the state. The commission frequently tests sites to make sure they’re paying out fairly and adhere to all laws. Websites that are rigged don’t payout, or scam gamblers immediately lose their certifications.
Fairness – Licensed sites use proper tools and information to set their betting odds. For example, using William Hill (most popular bookmaker in the world) as a source.
The other most important factors in a sports betting site that we look for include:
Great Bonuses and Offers – Online sign-up bonuses are a great way to get ahead of the game in sports betting. If a site offers great bonuses or loyalty rewards, make sure to take advantage.
Easy-to-Use Interface – Sites that are easy to navigate and have a friendly user-interface top our list. Additionally, you’ll want to be able to check on your bets from anywhere, so sites that are optimized for mobile use are included.
Fast and Easy Payouts – All sports gambling sites have their own rules when it comes to withdrawing your winnings. We chose those that have simple requirements and allow you to cash out quickly. We prefer sites that offer multiple payment methods.
Customer Service – This is an essential factor for any business, especially one that deals with money. Sites that have an active and well-rated customer service department are included here.
Sportsbook Betting FAQ – Common Questions for American Gamblers
Answers to all the most common sports betting questions, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gambler.
Q: What states have legalized sports betting?
A: After the federal government removed a ban on sports betting, 13 states have made formal laws legalizing the practice. It’s legal to place wagers on sports in New York, Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Iowa, and Indiana. Currently, six more states have bills waiting to be voted on, so expect more states to legalize sports betting soon.
Q: How are fantasy sports different from sports betting?
A: While fantasy sports look and feel like gambling, it technically isn’t, which is why it’s been around longer than legal sports betting. The Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act of 2006 classified fantasy sports as a simulated game – one that required skill and knowledge to win. Sports betting is considered luck-based and “mindless,” which is why it was outlawed until recently. Fantasy sports can also be played for free, whereas putting down real money is integral to sports betting.
Q: How old do I have to be to place bets online?
A: Most states have a gambling age of 21, except Rhode Island, which allows players of 18 years or older.
Q: What sports can I bet on?
A: The Gaming Commission Allows Individuals to bet on 11 different sports. These include auto racing, MLB baseball, NBA basketball, boxing, fighting (UFC, MMA), NFL football, golf, NHL hockey, Rugby, Soccer, and Tennis. You can also bet on college football and basketball.
Q: How do I join an online sportsbook?
A: It’s simpler than you’d think! Gambling sites make themselves easily accessible. Choose a reliable sports betting site, and follow the directions to sign up. They’ll have you create an account, confirm your email, and may ask you to confirm your age and identity. This is for your safety. Once you’ve done that, you can make a deposit and claim the sign-up bonus before you start placing wagers!
Q: How many online sports betting sites can I join?
A: You can join as many as you like – there’s no formal limit. However, it’s easy to get carried away while gambling. If you can keep track of multiple wagers on multiple sites, go for it! You can take advantage of different bonus offers. If you’re a beginner, stick with one or two until you’ve gotten the hang of this activity. NFL and NBA fans tend to sign up across multiple sports books to have more betting opportunities.
Q: Is online sports betting a scam?
A: Nope! Not unless you’ve chosen a blacklisted sportsbook. If you’ve followed our advice on finding legitimate sport betting online, you’re using a legal and safe site. Many advertise a bonus offer, which is accurate. If you bet well, you can win real cash.
Q: How do I make deposits/withdrawals?
A: Choose a payment method that you’re comfortable with, keeping in mind that you’ll have to cash in and out the same way. Before you sign up, check the sportsbook’s policy on cashing out. Some have a waiting period, or require you to send in documents confirming your identity. When you’re comfortable, follow the links to make a deposit. You’ll be asked to enter your payment information. Once it clears, you’ll see a certain amount in your sports betting account.
To cash out, or withdraw money, go to your account and click the appropriate link. The money will go back to your original payment method.
Q: What are the different types of sports bets?
A: For a beginner, the number of different wagers can be overwhelming. We have an in-depth guide below. Once you’ve logged into your chosen site, you’ll see a list of games and matches with various wagers. Effective betting means playing the odds correctly – you’ll win some, and you’ll lose some, but if you bet correctly, you’ll turn a profit. The most common types of bets you can place are: straight, total line, money line, parlay, teaser, and head-to-head. The sport you choose also makes a difference – certain bets are more popular with NFL, NBA, or MLB games versus soccer or NHL games. College teams have their own odds and betting lines to look out for.
Q: Why do odds and lines change in online sportsbooks?
A: Simply put, lines and odds change based on the sports betting website turning a profit. These establishments aren’t in the habit of losing money. Their goal is to make money off every bet. When sports betting sites set the initial odds, they base that on the favorite to win. If more gamblers place bets on the underdog than the online bookie initially thought, they will react and change the initial odds. Odds can change throughout, for example, when an NFL football player gets an injury and suddenly the favored team’s odds change.
Q: What is a welcome bonus? How do I claim my bonus?
A: A welcome bonus is something all sports betting websites offer to new members. It’s a reward for signing up, usually in the form of free cash. To claim a bonus, follow the sportsbook’s requirements. Often, you have to sign up, confirm your email, and make an initial minimum deposit. Then, you can follow the link to get your reward.
Q: Are online sports betting winnings taxable?
A: Yes, it’s crucial that you follow your state’s tax laws when it comes to claiming your winnings. If you’re unsure, talk to your accountant when you do your taxes. They’re updated on all your local taxes codes.
Q: Can I bet from my phone or tablet?
A: Absolutely. Some states only allow mobile sports betting. Download the app for your favorite sports betting site onto your device, and follow the long in directions. Everything is optimized for mobile use.
Sports Betting Legality in the U.S.
Since the federal government struck down a ban on sports betting in May of 2018, at least 13 states have legalized it. Many others are working on it, and sports betting is expected to become legal in all 50 states eventually.
The states that have already legalized sports betting are:
States With Online Sign Up Restrictions
Mississippi – Users may only place wagers inside the land-based casino. Apps can only be accessed when on the premises.
Rhode Island – You can gamble online in this state, but all users must confirm their accounts and verify identification at a land-based casino, specifically the Twin River Casino. Users can be 18+.
Nevada – To register for a Nevada-based sportsbook, you must present yourself at a land-based casino, fill out forms, and be approved. Approved users can then use Nevada sportsbooks freely (when located in the state).
Sports Betting Legalization Status in Every State
Since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), states have been taking steps to legalize sports betting through local legislation. Some states have legalized land-based or tribal casino sports books only, while others have launched online versions.
Keep checking back to see how these votes progress throughout the year. Many states are expected to vote in 2020, and several are even adding the issue to their ballots in the coming election. Your state may get to experience the entertainment of sportsbooks soon!
This is how we categorize progress towards legalization in each state:
Legal, Live (13 states) – Refers to states where sports betting is legal and regulated, including online/remote use
Legal, Not Yet Operational (5 states) – These states recently passed sports betting bills in 2019 and are in the process of launching
Partial Law (2 states) – States where it is only legal to gamble in tribal casinos
Active Legislation (26 states) – States where legalization is still pending, bills have been proposed but not voted on yet
No Action (4 states) – States that have no proposed bills
Illegal (1 state)- States that have fully outlawed sports betting
Betting Options – Whether you can gamble at a land-based or internet sportsbook
Bill introduced in April 2019, has not been voted on yet.
The Governor introduced bills to the legislature in February 2020, to be voted on
Sportsbetting bill passed in 2018, first book launched in 2019
Land-based sportsbooks only
Pending bill would allow sports betting at federally recognized tribal casinos/sportsbooks
Likely land-based only
November 2020 referendum
Legal, Not Yet Operational
Legalized in October of 2019 with first books due to launch in 2020
Land-based and mobile options coming
Bill introduced in 2019, has not yet been voted on
Legalized through PASPA
(District of Columbia)
Legal, Not Yet Operational
Legalized in 2018 & 2019 with no plans of launching sports books yet
Bill to be voted on during Spring 2020 Legislative session with a tentative release date in October
Bill introduced in 2019, not voted on yet
Bill introduced in 2019, not voted on yet
Bill passed in 2019, users must register at land-based casino, betting not allowed on minor or collegiate-level games
Legal, Not Yet Operational
Bill passed in 2018 with launch in 2019
Registration allowed in both land-based and remote sportsbooks
Passed and launched in 2018. In person registration is required at a retail space until Jan. 2021
Both but in-person registration is required at retail space until Jan. 2021
Legislation was launched in 2018 but no vote or solid action yet
Bills introduced in both 2017 and 2019 but no action yet
Bill introduced in 2018 with no action since
Legislation was introduced in 2019 but was vetoed by the governor. Bill is expected to be revived in 2020. Wagering on electronic sports is allowed.
Bill introduced in 2018, not currently moving forward
A number of bills were introduced in 2019 following several studies but no legislation has been voted on yet
Legal, Not Yet Operational
Bill passed in December 2019, expected to launch in 2020. Online access will become available.
Both land based and internet options will become available upon launch
Bill introduced in 2018 with much support but no vote has been taken
Bill passed in 2018 to allow retail-only betting, with add-ons to come
Currently at land-based sportsbooks only but mobile and remote options may be added
Legislation introduced in 2019, but has not been voted on yet. Riverboat casinos are legal and do take bets.
Legal, Not Yet Operational
Finally passing in 2019, with books due to launch 2020.
Sports betting has been legal for decades in Nevada, online recently launched
Land-based sportsbooks are legal, online users must first register at land-based casino
Passed in 2019 with the Governor making the first formal legal bet in the state
Both, remote registration is allowed
Passed in 2018 and launched shortly thereafter
Both, remote registration is allowed
Legal sports betting is allowed on tribal casinos since 2018
Legal only in land-based tribal sportsbooks
Legal in several upstate casinos
Passed in 2019, though gamblers can only bet in two land-based tribal casinos
Legal only in land-based sportsbooks
Bill introduced in 2019, no action yet
Legislation introduced in 2018 with no vote
Bill introduced in 2019 with no action
Land-based sports betting has been legal for several years with online options launched in 2019
In-person betting has been legal since 2018, with mobile options launching for the 2020 NFL season
Both, newly launched online and mobile sportsbooks came in 2020
Legalized retail-only in 2018 with mobile options coming soon
Both, mobile options to debut soon
Previous bills have been voted down but new legislation was introduced in 2019
Legislation was introduced in 2019 to add an amendment vote to 2020 ballot
Legalized mobile betting in 2019
Both, registration at mobile and land-based is allowed
Bill introduced in 2019, no vote yet
Utah’s anti-gambling laws are written into the state’s constitution
Bill introduced in 2019, no vote yet
Legislation introduced in 2019, no vote yet
Bill introduced to allow sports betting in tribal casinos, but no mobile options are on the table
Legalized in 2018, West Virginia became the 5th state to allow sports betting
Both, remote registration allowed
Updated as of February 2020
Gambling has always been a complicated issue in the U.S. Licensed sites are regulated and use location tracking to restrict access. If you’re not within the confines of a state where sports betting is legal, you’ll simply be blocked from the site.
While it’s not illegal to place sports bets online anymore in America, it is unlawful to operate one. Licensed sports betting sites are either based in a state where gambling is legalized or outside the country altogether (South America or Europe, usually). This is only a worry for the companies themselves, not the consumer. Players are not prosecuted, unauthorized websites are.
Banking Legalities and Payment Options
Since American sportsbooks are considering to be operating illegally, this can sometimes hinder your ability to make deposits or withdrawals. Because credit card companies are legally obligated to comply with federal laws, they may flag a transaction at a “questionable” site. You won’t be prosecuted for sports betting, but your credit card may occasionally place a stop on your account. If you want to avoid this, consider using bitcoin or another payment option to complete your deposit.
Sports You Can Currently Bet On
You can place bets on virtually anything in the U.S. in most American casino sportsbooks. All popular sports are included, including college teams.
Some niche sites have sports like darts, cycling, and esports for those who aren’t interested in American football or basketball. If that’s your interest, you should take the time to look into which sites offer those specific ones in the U.S. because you won’t find them on most sportsbooks. Those betting markets are out there, though!
The Basics of Betting
If you’re a first-time gambler at a sportsbook, it can be overwhelming to see all the odds and betting options available. For significant events, you may even see hundreds of variations. Luckily, most regular matches have just a few types of regular bets. Keep reading for an in-depth explanation of each one.
Odds and Playlines in Sports Betting
Before you get into the types of bets, you should understand how odds work in sports betting. People who “play smart” are just those who can play the odds correctly. You can’t win every bet you place, and a good chunk of sports betting involves losing. Over time though, you’ll see a noticeable profit.
Sports betting odds are based on the best information the online sportsbook has at the time. The underdog will have higher odds (and therefore a more significant return on your bet), while the expected winner will have much lower odds and a smaller yield. The bookie site always gets a little off of every bet, known as “the juice.”
American odds look different than international ones. Sports betting websites in the states look to make a bigger profit, so odds and lines will change accordingly. The listed odds will look something like this, as an example:
NFL New England Patriots
NFL Pittsburgh Steelers
The plus indicates that there’s a more significant profit to be made, while the minus means that you’re likely to make back less than your initial bet. In this case, the Steelers are the favorite or projected to win. Most individuals will bet on the team more likely to win the match. Therefore, the sportsbook gives out smaller odds on the favorite. Betting on the underdog will pay out much more favorably.
So if you bet $100 on the Patriots and they manage to win the game, you’ll earn $120 on the game. If you bet on the Steelers, you’ll have to place a $140 bet to win $100. With negative odds, that $140 bet will pay out $100, for a total of $240 in winnings (minus the small percentage the house takes on all bets). You can easily adjust and figure out the odds and payouts by moving the decimal around. If you want to bet $10 on the Patriots (positive odds), you’ll win back $12, etc.
Types of Sports Bets
After you get the hang of the odds and profit margins in online sports betting, you’re almost ready to start wagering. Understanding the types of wagers is key.
The most basic type of bet. A match between two teams, you can either choose to bet on the underdog or the projected favorite. Sportsbook sites will set a point spread, often referred to as a betting line. The favorite has to win by more than the set point spread for you to make money. The underdog either has to win the match or lose by more than the point spread to “cover” the bet. This is done in NBA, MLB, and NHL matches – where there are many different opportunities for teams to score. A tie is known as a “push,” and no money is lost or won.
Total Line Bets
For this type of bet, the sports bookie site will set for the combined final score of both teams. Gamblers bet “over” or “under” that set number.
Money Line Bets
A money line bet involves picking a team without considering the points spread. If you’re good at predicting when the underdog will win, you can stand to make a lot of money. Otherwise, there’s a large risk involved. If you’re betting on a heavy favorite, the odds won’t be generous. This is mostly done for teams where there aren’t a lot of goals or points to bet on, like soccer, or NHL. Sometimes popular with the college sports crowd.
Parlays require the gambler to win on multiple wagers to make a big profit, which is what makes them so enticing. Some casino sportsbooks might have limits (betting on 10-12 picks). Your odds are adjusted according to the number of events you bet on. To win your bet, all the teams in your parlay have to win. This isn’t for the faint of heart, but you can stand to win big. This is often done for NFL, NBA, or baseball games since there are often multiple events going on at once.
This is fun for those who feel like they know everything there is to know and want to make that bet at a sportsbook. Just like it sounds, you can bet on the future of a game or series before matchups are even set. You can bet on which team will win the MLB world series or the NBA championship at the beginning of the season. Or, bet on specifics like which NFL players will get the most kicks, which NHL player will score more points, etc.
In-Play Betting, Better Known as Live Play
Live sports betting is a fairly new feature springing up at all the liveliest sportsbooks, also known as live betting or live play. It’s exactly what it sounds like – the opportunity to place bets live, as games go on. If you miss the feeling of visiting a Vegas bookie or bar, waiting to see the results as the game progresses, this is the closest you’ll get to that online. The idea is similar to live casino games. Sites will have consistently updating odds, and players can make bets throughout the game. Whether you’re into the NBA or the NHL, or golf, or MMA – you can make money and have fun with live play.
It’s different than regular sports betting. Most sportsbooks close the betting portion before the start of the match. If you missed out, or prefer the fun of watching a game in real-time and making bets based on your best instincts, live sports betting is the way to go.
How Live Online Sports Betting Works
If you choose a sportsbook with an online live betting option, like Bovada, for example, you’ll find it under the sports category easily. When you click on that option, you’ll see a list of games going on at the time and your betting options at the time you’ve logged in.
This takes a stable wifi connection or at least a 3G network, because this page will update constantly. The odds change as the game goes on. If the favorite starts losing, or fumbles, the odds will update.
While watching live sports games, keep in mind there may be a delay in streaming, so if you’re seeing the odds change and you don’t understand why, your feed could be a few minutes behind. It doesn’t take much technical know-how, though. As long as you’ve got internet and the game on, you’re good to go!
It’s an opportunity to get in and place bets all throughout the sporting event – another great form of betting entertainment online. You’ll be able to bet on winners/losers, but also on things like how many kicks/penalties and other game changers that happen in the NHL, football, and basketball leagues. It’s recommended to only bet this way if you’re actually watching the game, as you can stand to lose a lot if you’re basing your wagers off nothing but the scoreboard.
Benefits of Live Betting Vs. Classic Sports Betting
It’s a really exciting way to make the most of your online gambling experience at an online casino and betting options. Especially fun when done with friends or in groups – or a great way to pass the time if you’re actively watching an NFL NBA game anyway. It’s a popular pastime for college football fans. Pretty much every sport is more fun live! Above all, gambling should be fun for you, and all these technological advancements are there to enhance that enjoyment, like live sports betting.
Classic sports betting also gives you the opportunity to really get into NHL games, basketball, and football matches and dissect them. However, sportsbook betting usually closes at the start of each game. If you missed your opportunity, it’s a great way to catch up through online betting sites.
Many seasoned sports gamblers use live betting to offset their losses. If you made the wrong choices before the start of the game, you can have a chance to win your money back by placing wagers on other components of the game. Live betting give you more betting options. If a team makes a big play and gains favor, the odds will change, keeping the betting exciting.
US Sports Betting Glossary for Beginners
If you’ve never visited a sportsbook casino before, you may come across some terms you’re not familiar with, yet. Here’s a glossary to get you started.
Accumulator – Similar to a parlay bet, where you place multiple wagers and they all have to win in order for you to collect.
Alternate Lines – Referring to point spreads, alternative lines is just a list of different point spreads and odds for the same events. The football, the NHL, MLB, and several other American leagues have this.
American Odds – These are displayed differently from the rest of the world. In the U.S., odds are marked with a + or – symbol. In Europe and the rest of the world, odds are marked decimal points or fractions. Despite the difference in appearance, winners on both sides of the ocean take home the same amount.
Arbitrage – When a gambler places a bet on all possible outcomes to ensure at least one match is a winner. This is usually done with moneyline and futures wagers in NFL, NBA basketball, and other American sports. This often takes place across multiple sportsbooks.
Bankroll – The funds you have available to bet online with.
Betting Exchange – Similar to a sportsbook, but individuals wager against one another rather than against the sports betting site. These are popular in Europe but not as readily available in the U.S.
Bonus – A bonus refers to online sportsbooks that offer free money that you can use towards a wager. This often includes an offer for signing up, like a welcome bonus. Match bonuses and free bets are common. Other bonuses may be offered, like loyalty bonuses if your chosen sportsbook offers that feature.
Chalk – This expression refers to the favorite, the team that’s chalked up to win, usually by a high margin.
Contrarian Betting – Betting against the public/favorite to win/games with lopsided betting percentages.
Cover – The expression covering a spread is common, especially in football and basketball. For example, if you place wagers on a 5-point favorite, and they win by 7, you’ve covered your spread and will win your money.
Dime – A $1,000 bet.
Draw – Also known as a push. If a game falls exactly on the spread, there is no winner. All betters will receive their money back.
Edge – A better’s expected advantage against the house.
Hedging – Placing a bet on the other team when you’ve already bet on a team, popular in the NFL, NBA, and other American sports.
Hook – In spread based sports, a hook is an extra half-point you can get.
Juice – This is like a tax that sportsbooks take on every amount bet, similar to a “house edge” in an online casino.
Limit – The most money a sports betting site will take on a specific bet.
Lines – Another term for betting odds.
Nickel – A bet of $500.
Off the Board – This is a game that’s been closed and players can’t bet on. This often happens when a key player gets an injury that prevents the match going on as usual, which is the case sometimes in NFL, NBA or college games.
Real Time Odds – Live lines that update immediately as the sports betting site adjusts their betting odds, usually according to popular bookmakers like William Hill.
Return on Investment (ROI) – A performance measure that evaluates the amount lost versus the amount won.
How to Bet on Sports for Beginners
Almost ready to get started? Great! We’re here for you with a step-by-step guide to placing that first bet.
First, choose a sportsbook off our list. We’ve already laid out the best, most popular, legitimate, and vetted casino sites for placing sports bets. Click the link, and you’ll be prompted to sign up. You’ll get the best offer possible from that sportsbook.
Finish creating your account by confirming your email address and verifying your identity. Most bookie sites will ask you to verify your age and location.
Once your account is set up, you’re ready to make the first deposit. Decide on how much you want to spend. Or, if your goal is to receive the sign-up bonus, deposit the minimum required amount. To do this, go to your account. You should see an option to make a deposit, or view your funds. Follow the prompts, and you’ll be taken to the screen where they ask you for your payment information. Choose your favorite method, as your winnings will go back to this account. Wait for your deposit to clear (may take a few minutes), and you’re good to go.
Don’t forget to claim your bonus after you’ve signed up at the betting site and made your first deposit!
Then, navigate the site. Pick the sport you intend to bet on. You’ll see a list of matches and odds. Once you see something you like, click on it and choose a bet type. At this point, you’ll put in your wager.
Wait to see who wins the game you bet on and collect your earnings. It’s a good idea to make a withdrawal early on just to see what the process is like on your chosen site. To cash out, go back to your account’s wallet and select the withdrawal option. The site will let you know how quickly your earnings will be posted to your account.
When you’re ready, feel free to make as many bets as you like!
Online Sports Betting is the Future
Most states are working on legal online sports betting. It’s a no-brainer, considering the popularity of this very entertaining online hobby. Remember that, above all, gambling at a sportsbook casino should be fun.
Having the opportunity to wager online is just one of the incredible ways that technology is changing the gambling world. As long as you know your betting options! It’s legal and safe in many states, so if you’ve always wanted to try, there’s no better time than now!