Pending what forms of sports betting are legalized in a state, there are two primary methods in which bettors can place wagers: at land-based venues or online.

Land-based facilities

Presumably, any state that legalizes sports betting will enable punters to make bets at licensed land-based facilities. Eligible properties may include: commercial casinos, tribal casinos, racinos, horse racing tracks, and even select OTB parlors and retail facilities. It all depends on the state.

Typically, bets will be made at a cashiering window or via a kiosk located on site.


Online wagering affords bettors with varying degrees of convenience, depending on how restrictive a state’s sports betting regulations are.

In-house only

Some states may only allow mobile wagers to be transmitted from casino premises. The only two states so far that restrict mobile betting to those physically present in a licensed casino are Mississippi and Rhode Island, although others will inevitably follow.

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In-house sports betting is by far the most restrictive form of online wagering, with only marginal benefits beyond placing bets with a teller or at an electronic kiosk, the main one being that players won’t have to wait on long lines (except possibly to register and fund their accounts).

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In-house sign-up

Walking the middle line between in-house only and full online wagering is in-house sign-up, or the Nevada model.

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In-house sign-up can be a bit confusing to new bettors, mainly because the rules pertaining to mobile sports betting can vary from book to book. For instance, an app affiliated with one casino may have different depositing methods, odds, and eligible bets than another.

To get started, players are encouraged to download their desired Android or iOS powered app ahead of registration. Then, the next step is to head down to an affiliated app’s live sports book. So for instance, a player who desires to place wagers using the playMGM app must register at an MGM casino in Las Vegas. In order to complete the registration process, bettors will have to (usually) be in possession of a rewards card and government issued ID. Other paperwork will also often be required, but all told, the entire process only takes about 10 minutes.

The initial round of funding will also take place at an associated book. Accepted payment methods may be cash, chips, or other vehicles, depending on the venue. Some facilities will allow reloads to be done remotely, while others always require that a player load funds at the live book. In short, it depends.

Once setup, it’s just a matter of navigating the app and placing bets. Mobile (not PC/Mac) wagers can be placed from anywhere in the state where the affiliated sports book is located, but not beyond. Savvy bettors may want to signup for multiple apps, as that will allow them to “shop around” for the best odds.

Online anywhere

So far only New Jersey offers bettors a full-slate of online sports betting options, although West Virginia and Pennsylvania are poised to follow it its footsteps.

Unlike the case for in-house sign-up, states that offer true online sports betting won’t force players to visit a live book to sign up and load their accounts. Instead, they can usually do so from just about anywhere (real-money wagers are still restricted to within state lines). They also won’t be restricted to placing wagers exclusively on mobile devices, as most operators in these states either already offer their platforms for desktops or plan on it.

Admittedly, in order to ensure their accounts will remain secure, online bettors will have to endure an exhaustive signup process, which may require them to provide sensitive info such as their social security number. They may also be required to verify their identity and cashiering methods via scanned and uploaded documentation. Still, this is a small price to pay in exchange for the ability to wager from anywhere in the state from which the online book operates.


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