Sports betting continues to grow in popularity nationwide, remains illegal in Utah

Posted at 8:48 AM, Sep 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 10:53:24-04

EVANSTON, Wyoming — Betting on sports continues to grow across the country.

A Supreme Court ruling in 2018 opened the door to allow states to legalize sports betting.

While gambling of any kind is illegal in Utah, most states bordering Utah allow some form of sports wagering.

Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming are states in which it is legal to bet on sports.

That doesn’t mean Utahns are unable to gamble. Las Vegas and Wendover are popular destinations across the state line.

Now, online sportsbooks are providing a host of new options for people to travel outside of Utah’s border to take part in the online betting craze.

“It happens everywhere,” said Johnny Avello, the director of race and sports operations at online sportsbook Draft Kings. “It started in New Jersey, people in New York were crossing over.”

According to data compiled in 2019 by Marketwatch, 44 percent of all online sports bets placed in New Jersey were registered within two miles of the state line.

Evanston, Wyoming is the closest city to the Salt Lake area where online gambling is legal.

Once past the Wyoming state line, websites and apps like Draft Kings allow people to fund accounts and place bets.

The apps use geolocation on a phone or computer to verify a person’s location.

Once outside a state where online gambling is legal, the apps will not function. Even withdrawing money from an account is not possible.

“You have to be in the state,” Avello said. “It only recognizes you in the state where wagering is legal.”

Forbes predicts 46 million Americans will place a bet during this NFL season.