Which States are Most Likely to Legalize Online Gambling in 2021

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BetMGM Mar 25, 2021, 11:45 AM
Two young bearded men celebrate online sports betting on their phones.

The US is a mixed bag when it comes to the legalization of online casinos and sports betting, so it’s easy to get confused about where you are – and aren’t – allowed to play online casino games. Lately, there has been more expansion than ever, and 24 US states have now joined the fun online – with many new online casino sites emerging as a result – with more to follow in 2021.

States Likely to Legalize Online Casinos & Sports Betting in 2021

Since 2012, when regulated online gambling first emerged in the US and the Supreme Court overturned PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in 2018, several legislators have changed their stance on online casinos and sports betting.

There are currently 24 states that have legalized online gambling in some capacity: a few of these have only recently received approval, with implementation coming in the next few months. While gamblers in those states are (or soon will be) playing their favorite games, elsewhere in the US, players eagerly await news of legalization in their home state.

Well, we have good news for some of you, as there are likely going to be a few more states looking to legalize online gambling this year. Let’s take a look at which states are the most likely to legalize online casinos and sports betting in 2021.


Ohio has been on the verge of legalizing sports betting for a few years now, with last year’s failure to gain approval proving a big disappointment to players in the Buckeye State. Also known as “The Heart of it All,” Ohio happens to be surrounded by states that have either already legalized sports betting or have plans to introduce legislation to do so.

With the proliferation of sports betting in the Midwest, we’re hoping that this year Ohio makes a move to legalize online gambling and truly becomes “the heart of it all.”


Though legalization efforts have failed in the last two attempts to bring online casinos and sports betting to the Constitution State, we are still hopeful that legislation will be introduced this time around. With elected officials and the state’s two gaming tribes seemingly coming to more of a consensus on a legal framework for introducing sports betting, it’s just a matter of time.

But just like in online gambling, there is no sure thing in politics; however, there are excellent odds that Connecticut will go ahead with legalization this year.


Young bearded man celebrates a winning bet with his phone and laptop.

Despite having almost a dozen attempts at legalizing sports betting fail, even with support from Charlie Baker and the General Court, advocates for legalization in the Bay State have more motivation than ever to get a bill passed this year.

There are still a few universities in Massachusetts that are opposed to the idea of legalized betting options on their sports programs. But with two neighboring states having legalized sports betting and Connecticut seemingly on the way, there may be enough pressure on the situation to give Bay Stater’s reason to finally be optimistic again.

New York

While it’s already possible to bet on retail sportsbooks at casinos on the ground, the question in New York is about online sports betting and the potential for a recovery in terms of a massive budget shortfall. Even political officials who were seemingly vehemently opposed to the idea of online sportsbooks have realized that it might be worth embracing such a huge new revenue stream – which potentially means good things for gamblers in the Big Apple.

Though it will be a hard call to make, and still somewhat of a long shot with the complexity of recovering such a deficit and the support (or lack thereof) from the governor, we are still hopeful and optimistic that New York will approve online and mobile sports betting within the year.


Nebraskans are still in the honeymoon phase of welcoming land-based casinos, having been given the nod during the November 2020 election – but why stop there? Now that the race tracks are allowed to feature casino games (and are now being affectionately called racinos), the question this year is about online sports betting.

The Cornhusker State has been ready to take on online gambling for some time now. While there’s still language that needs deciphering from November’s bill (the bit about “all games of chance” and the gray area that games of skill fall into as a result), we believe there’s reason to keep an eye out for Nebraska going online in the coming months.

In which states are online gambling and sports betting legal right now?

If you were wondering where in the US you’d need to be to play your favorite casino games, here’s a little list of the states that have legalized online gambling so far:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Washington, DC
  • West Virginia

Know where to gamble when your state becomes legal

If your state did not come up on the list, don’t count yourself out of the running just yet. There are plenty more that are getting closer to legalizing online casinos and sports betting. Before long (we hope), it will be up to the people to decide whether (or not) they want to gamble, as every state falls in line and gives online gambling the rubber stamp.

When your state eventually goes online, get your sports betting and online casino game fix when you register with us at BetMGM. We provide sports betting options on all sports, including all major league sports and the very best online casino games. From live poker and blackjack games that feel like you’re in a real online casino to massive jackpot slots, you’re sure to find the game for you at BetMGM.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.