The Los Angeles Lakers are the odds on favorites to win the NBA Championship this year after taking a commanding lead at the top of the Western Conference before the league’s suspension in mid-March.
With the new tentatively proposed schedule, the Lakers will close the regular season with eight games. Betting to start the season is expected to be brisk, as fans have been patiently waiting for the game they love to resume. However, not every fan across the US will be able to bet online legally due to differences in legislation state-by-state.
Who Can Legally Wager Online?
There are currently 14 states that offer online legal sports betting in the US. While Delaware permits online casinos and online casino games, it does not allow online sports betting. The situation is the exact opposite in Oregon, where online casinos and poker are not allowed, but online sports betting is legal.
Lakers fans in New Jersey with an eye on in-play bets on star player LeBron James will be happy to know that the state’s market for regulated online gambling is the biggest in the whole of the country with a value of $225M annually. There are a variety of online casino sites and options available there, which will make the regular season and play-off bets a breeze.
Pennsylvania is another state with a growing sports betting presence, after online sites were launched in May 2019 by many of the major casinos operating in the area. Indiana also became a full-service state for online sports betting late last year despite the fact it has no current plans for online casinos or poker.
Fans in Delaware don’t have to worry either as the state was the first to launch online gambling after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overruled in 2018. There are three online casinos with a sportsbook available; however, none of them has a mobile app.
The launch of mobile apps has made it easier for basketball bettors to place wagers on games wherever they are. This service is available in quite a few states now, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.
Iowa is a case study for how quickly online sportsbooks can be launched. Online sports betting was launched in the Hawkeye State for the first time in August 2019, and it soon had five sportsbooks set up for players. The registration is a little different as forms need to be submitted in person at a partnered casino, but that requirement will expire at the end of 2020.
Colorado is the latest state to legalize online gambling following a successful voter referendum in November 2019. Online sports betting went live in May 2020, and it could potentially have up to 33 online sportsbooks for Lakers fans to place wagers on during the remainder of the year.
Tennessee is another state set to establish an online betting offering even though it does not have any physical gambling venues at all. Tennessee legalized online sports betting in April 2019, and sites are expected to launch sometime in 2020. Hopefully, for punters with hopes of basketball betting on sites like these, it will be before the end of the year.
Who Cannot Wager Legally Online?
Lakers fans based in Los Angeles will not be able to bet on the team this year. Efforts were underway to push through a sports betting initiative in the City of Angels, which could have been put before voters in late 2020, but the pandemic has now delayed those plans.
The good news is that California is considering the legalization of sports betting, and the current landscape could change in the coming years. Several other states are also thinking about giving the green light to online betting in the future. In Florida, a state senator has filed three bills related to the legalization of online betting.
Lawmakers are also hopeful of new bills in Missouri, Maryland, Kentucky, Maine, and Kansas. The vast majority of states have now made sports betting legal or are moving toward some sort of legalization. As of 2020, the only places to have no activity are Idaho, Wisconsin, and Utah, the latter of which has issues with the state’s constitution.
Overall, the online sports betting picture is much better for Lakers and NBA fans across the US compared to a few years ago when Nevada had a monopoly on digital offerings. With more states gearing up for legal gambling, players will soon have even more options.