2021 will be remembered as a year of incredible growth for legal sports betting in America. There were several factors responsible. For one, the sporting calendar returned to relative normality compared to 2020. While the pandemic continued to threaten some minor disruptions and controversies, on the whole the sporting schedules remained intact.

Another reason for sports betting’s expansion was advertising dollars. The major sportsbook providers spent more money than ever on marketing campaigns. This means the once illicit activity has rapidly gained acceptance into the mainstream. This trend is set to continue into 2022.

But the core of the growth came from new states legalizing and launching mobile betting. So who exactly joined the party in the past 12 months?


January – Michigan & Virginia

There were two main launch windows in 2021. The first was at the beginning of the year, just ahead of the Super Bowl. The second was in September for the start of the NFL season.

Michigan and Virginia both went fully live with online sports betting in January. And both launches count as successes. By year end, Michigan was the 5th biggest state for sports betting. Virginia has been no slouch either, ranking 8th for monthly betting handle volume.

The other significant addition in January came from Iowa. While Iowa had already launched legal online betting in 2020, players had to complete registration in-person at a casino or retail sportsbook. This massively stymied the growth of the Iowa market until the start of this year.

Once the in-person registration requirement was removed, the floodgates opened in the Hawkeye State. The convenience of fully mobile betting is the real draw for the modern sports fan.


September – Arizona & Wyoming

After the January additions there was somewhat of a lull through the summer. That all changed with the start of the new NFL season.

The much awaited launch of legal sports betting in Arizona came in September. The timing was good for local NBA and NFL fans. The Suns got off to a great start and the Cardinals were also performing strongly. While Arizona has yet to officially report handle figures, all indications are the AZ sportsbooks are doing brisk business.

Wyoming also opened for online sports betting action in September. However, as a sparsely populated state, it hasn’t made too much of an impact on the national level numbers-wise.


Next Up – New York & Louisiana

In October, Connecticut made a relatively low-key entry to the market. Perhaps the reason for this is the limited choices given to players under the Connecticut legislative model. Another reason is that all eyes are on Connecticut’s neighbor, New York.

New York online sports betting is primed to launch in early 2022. The sportsbooks have been selected and it is simply a matter of finalizing the logistical details. This is a massive practical and symbolic step for US sports betting. New York, with its large sports-mad population, is one of the “Big 4” states along with California, Texas and Florida.

As the first of the four to implement legal sports betting it signals a key milestone on the road to full nationwide accessibility of legal mobile wagering.

Louisiana online sports betting is also on deck to launch in January 2022. It won’t quite be entirely state-wide. According to the law passed in Louisiana, 55 of the 64 parishes in the Pelican State will have access to mobile sportsbooks.


Later In 2022 – Ohio & Maryland

While there are several more states that are somewhere on the road to legislation and implementation of legal sports betting, there are two who are cast-iron certainties to go live in 2022.

Ohio has committed in law to beginning mobile sports betting in the second half of 2022. Presumably the hope is to have it ready for the start of NFL season.

Maryland is the other state that is closing in on an actual launch date. As for sports fans in other states, given the rapid advance of legislation and enactment elsewhere there’s a good chance the wait for legal online betting is nearly over for many.