NFL: the rise of sports betting in the United States and Canada


Sports betting was first legalized in the United States by the Supreme Court in 2018, granting all 50 states the right to determine their gambling laws.

Many have since realized the economic benefits of the activity, as more states are legalizing the pastime year after year, as the figure has jumped from 18 to 34 states and Washington D.C. since January 2022. The Canadian government has followed in the United States’ footsteps, allowing provinces to legalize sports betting. Like the US, many commercial sportsbooks were legally launched to the delight of football fans across the nation. Read on to learn about the rise of sports betting in the United States and Canada.

Sports Betting and Casino in Canada

Canada’s anti-gambling laws throughout the decades forced the pastime underground. For more than 77 years, Canadians had to make under-the-table bets on their favorite sports, such as football, basketball, and baseball. However, the tide turned when Canada followed in the United States’ footsteps in June 2021, legalizing single sports betting with the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act. As a result, Canadians are free to back their favorite sports teams, such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Unsurprisingly, more people are embracing the fun pastime as new players can get started with ease thanks to free bonuses for the first timers, which they could use on sports betting or even online casino games, such as poker, roulette, and slots. With nothing to lose and much to gain, it is easy to see how gambling has become a popular activity across Canada.

The United States Sports Betting History

Gambling isn’t a new activity in the United States and Canada. The nations have a long and interesting gambling history, as it has been a common pastime for many. Early settlers in the United States and Canada are thought to have played games of chance, which kickstarted their love affair with sports betting. However, anti-gambling laws after the Revolutionary War aimed to stop the much-loved pastime in the US. Yet, some activities continued to flourish, such as horse racing. Plus, betting was legalized in the state of Nevada in 1949 to boost its economy, leading to the gambling boom in Las Vegas.

There were countless attempts to curb illegal sports betting throughout the decades, but the emergence of new technologies and the internet made legalization inevitable. Due to increased demand and economic benefits to the US, the Supreme Court introduced the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, enabling its 50 states to determine sports betting laws. By doing so, it gave football fans a legal right to place a wager on an NFL game to potentially win a small or large sum.

Sports Betting & the NFL

The legalization of sports betting has bolstered US states and Canadian provinces’ economies. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), sportsbooks generated US$7.5 billion in revenue in 2022 alone, an increase of 75% since 2021. Also, AGA has since predicted that 73.5 million Americans are expected to bet on the NFL season this year, proving the phenomenal growth of sports betting over the past five years.

Canada is enjoying similar success as the United States, which is partially thanks to the nation’s sports betting ads that are driving football fans and first-time gamblers to regulated sites. The compelling advertising has contributed to the impressive annual revenue, as sports betting generated a reported $2 billion during the first three months of 2023. The biggest difference between the US and Canada is that Canadians can place bets without paying taxes. The only exception is for professional gamblers. For instance, professional poker players must pay tax if they make a living from Texas Hold ‘em or a similar game.

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