Utah Sports Betting

Last updated: Jan 10, 2024

Online and retail sports betting are both illegal in Utah, and this is likely to be the case for a while. Sports betting is prohibited by Chapter 10, Part 11 of the Utah Criminal Code and the state’s constitution. Since the striking down of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) which allowed states to legalize sports gambling, lawmakers have not made an attempt at legalization in UT. 

Lawmakers have only proposed one piece of betting legislation since the PASPA ruling. SB 181, which legalized pari-mutuel betting, was withdrawn from the Utah Senate under pressure from lawmakers, highlighting the opposition from the Utah Legislature. 

This strong opposition to sports betting comes from Utah’s Mormon population. Around 68% of the population of UT is Mormon, and gambling is viewed as a vice in the religion.

Read our expert guide to Utah sports betting to discover the legislative history and current laws. We also cover where you can bet legally and popular local sports.

Utah Legislation Timeline

  • November 3, 1992: Utah holds a public referendum to amend Chapter 10, Part 11 of the Criminal Code to allow pari-mutuel horse racing betting, but just 39.7% of voters supported the amendment.
  • May 14, 2018: The US Supreme Court overturns the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), allowing individual states to pass sports betting legislation. The Utah Criminal Code prevents sports betting from becoming legal regardless of federal law.
  • February 18, 2019: Senator David Hinkins introduces SB 181 to the Utah Senate to legalize pari-mutuel wagering for the first time since 1972.
  • March 5, 2020: Sen. Hinkins withdraws SB 181 under pressure from fellow lawmakers. 

Bordering States

Since sports betting is illegal in Utah, the only option for sports fans in UT is to travel to a neighboring state where sports betting is legalized. Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona have legalized both online and retail betting, while Wyoming has passed legislation allowing online wagers. See our guide to betting legally in each state below.


Before the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA, Nevada was one of the only in the US which allowed players to place bets on sports. Along with its booming casino industry, the state has become known for offering sports betting, with nearly 200 retail sportsbooks. Circa Sportsbook in Las Vegas is the largest retail sportsbook in the world at almost 30,000 square feet. 

Online sports betting is also legal in Nevada, but you must visit a partnered retail sportsbook to register first. Once you have signed up, you can play from anywhere in NV.  You can wager on a wide range of professional and college sports, including in-state teams. No sportsbooks in NV are allowed to launch desktop sites, so you must bet through a mobile app on your phone. 


Currently, Idaho has no legal sports betting options, as Statute 18-3801 means all gambling is illegal. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) was also declared a violation of Statute 18-3801 in 2016 by the state’s Attorney General, Lawrence Wasden.

Despite this, seven tribal casinos are operational in the state and could offer sports betting should legislation be passed, but this seems unlikely given lawmakers haven’t attempted to legalize sports betting since the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA.


Mobile sportsbooks are operational in Wyoming after the state became the second in the U.S. to launch an online-exclusive sports betting market. The first sportsbooks went live in September 2021, and major operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and BetMGM are available. Legislation to legalize sports betting indicated five sportsbooks must be available, and PointsBet has received a license from the state’s regulatory body, the Wyoming Gaming Commission. 

To bet in Wyoming, you must be over 18 and within state lines. There is no residency requirement to bet in WY.


There are more than 20 online sportsbooks in Colorado, making it one of the most competitive markets in the US. CO legalized sports betting in November after a referendum confirmed support for legal sports betting. 

To launch a sportsbook in CO, operators must partner with a land-based casino. The first sportsbooks launched in May 2020, with retail sportsbooks available in three towns in CO: Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek.

To bet in CO, you must be older than 21 and within state lines. There is no residency requirement to bet on sports. Betting markets are available on a range of professional and collegiate sports, and there is no restriction on betting on in-state teams.  However, you can’t place prop bets on college events.


Sports betting has been legal in Arizona since April 2021, and the first sportsbooks opened in September 2021. Online sportsbooks need to partner with a tribal casino or one of the recognized professional sports establishments in AZ.

There are dozens of online operators in Arizona, including top platforms like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and BetMGM. In addition, there are also several retail sportsbooks where you can go and place your bets in person. 

To bet, you must be over 21 and within state lines. You can bet on loads of professional and college sports in Arizona, but you can’t make prop bets on college teams or individuals.

Utah Sports Teams

While Utah may only have a population of just over three million, it still hosts two major league sports teams. Its NBA team, the Utah Jazz, was a basketball powerhouse in the late 1990s but never claimed a national championship. Meanwhile, the MLS side has seen plenty of success.

Check out our overviews of the most popular sports teams in Utah below.

Utah Jazz logo
Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz was formed in 1974 as the New Orleans Jazz and joined the NBA as an expansion team. The franchise was named after the city’s affiliation with music, which made its move to Utah in 1979 controversial. Because the team kept the name Jazz in Utah, no New Orleans has been able to take on the moniker.

The team’s most significant period came after this move, powered by the dynamic duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone. When the Jazz drafted him, Stockton was an unknown player, and his selection was booed. He is now regarded as one of the best players in Jazz history.

Utah claimed division titles in 1984, 1989, and 1992 with Malone and Stockton scoring loads of points. Stockton was the NBA assists leader nine times during his time with the Jazz. However, the pair reached new heights in 1997 and 1998, helping the Jazz win the conference titles. Malone claimed the NBA MVP in 1997.

However, the team managed to convert these trips to NBA Championships, coming up against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls both times.

The Jazz has found success since these iconic players retired, winning division titles in 2017, 2021, and 2022 with the help of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.

Real Salt Lake logo
Real Salt Lake

Often shortened to RSL, Real Salt Lake was founded in 2004 and began playing in 2005. The team plays at the America First Field, which has a capacity of more than 20,000 people. The franchise’s best season came in 2009 when the club claimed the MLS Cup by beating LA Galaxy on penalties after a 1-1 draw. 

The team followed that up with a trip to the finals in the CONCACAF Champions League, losing to Monterrey over two legs.

University of Utah Utes logo
University of Utah Utes

The University of Utah sports program, nicknamed the Utes, plays most sports in the Pac-12. The football team competes in the FBS and has a solid overall Bowl record of 17-9. This includes triumphs in the Rose Bowl, Sun Bowl, and Sugar Bowl.

That Sugar Bowl came in 2008 after an undefeated season for the Utes. The team beat the University of Alabama Crimson Tide in the bowl game 31-17, but the national championship was officially given to the University of Florida Gators. 

The Utes have had more success in basketball, winning the NCAA Men’s Championship in 1944. The school has also won nine women’s gymnastics titles, the second most of any school. This included a dominant run for the first five national championships.    

However, the most successful sport for Utah is skiing, with the school claiming 13 co-ed national championships. This includes a dominant period when the program won the title in 2017, 2019, 2021, and 2022. The men’s program also won the national skiing championship in 1981.

Brigham Young University Cougars logo
Brigham Young University Cougars

The most famous national success for the Cougars came in 1984 as the football program won the national championship. The team went undefeated and then claimed victory over the University of Michigan Wolverines in the Holiday Bowl to win the title. During the season, the Cougars also beat the Utah Utes in the Holy War and Utah State.

Amazingly, this national championship victory came the season the program lost one of its most talented ever players, Hall of Famer Steve Young. This 1984 victory makes the Cougars the last program from outside the power conferences to win a national championship in football. 

Alongside this football triumph, the school has also won NCAA national championships in cross country, golf, track and field, and volleyball. Women’s cross country has been particularly successful, with five titles.

Utah State Aggies logo
Utah State Aggies

The Utah State Aggies football program plays in the FBS and currently competes in the Mountain West Conference. The program has won 13 conference championships and a division championship in 2013. The school has appeared in various bowl games, including the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl.

The football program has produced top players, including Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen and Super Bowl-winning Bobby Wagner. 

The basketball team has also been very successful, especially since 2000. The Aggies have won the regular season conference championship eight times since the turn of the century and eight conference tournaments. The team has made it to two Elite Eight rounds, but these came in 1939 and 1970.

Weber State Wildcats logo
Weber State Wildcats

The Weber State Wildcats have seen success in basketball and play in the Big Sky Conference. The team has secured 22 regular-season conference championships and has made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament twice.

The school also has a program playing in the FCS, which has won six conference titles and achieved a 7-8 record in the playoffs. Its best performance was in 2019 when the Wildcats made it to the semi-finals but lost to James Madison University Dukes.

Utah Sports Events

Along with the two major league teams in Utah, there are also regular sports events that catch the attention of sports fans. These include matchups between top college programs, martial arts, and soccer. Check out some of the best sports events in UT below. 

BYU-Utah Football Rivalry

Meetings between the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars and University of Utah (Utah) Utes college football programs are some of the most significant sporting events in UT. Meetings are known as the “Holy War” because BYU is owned and administered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), while Utah is a public institution.

The two schools are members of NCAA Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision, with Utah competing in the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) and BYU operating as a member of the Big 12 Conference. BYU was previously an Independent from 2011-2022. Both were previously members of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Mountain West Conference (MWC).

The two schools disagree about the first meeting between the college football sides. Utah insists that an 1896 meeting between Utah and the then-Brigham Young Academy was the first meeting, while BYU claims that the first meeting was in 1922. BYU won the national football championship once, in 1984, while Utah had one unclaimed national championship in 2008.

UFC Fight Night

Utah has hosted two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events: a UFC numbered event and a UFC Fight Night event, both held at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.

UFC had scheduled UFC on Versus 2, a card featuring a headline light heavyweight bout between Jon Jones and Vladimir Matyushenko, in Salt Lake City in August 2010. The event, however, was relocated to San Diego.

In August 2016, the Vivint Arena hosted UFC Fight Night 92. The headline bout was between Yair Rodríguez and Alex Caceres, with Rodríguez defeating Caceres after a split points decision. A crowd of 6,689 watched the featherweight bout.

Six years later, the first UFC numbered event in Utah, UFC 278, was held at the Vivint Arena in August 2022. The second meeting of Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards for the UFC Welterweight Championship headlined the event. Edwards defeated Usman with a head-kick knockout to win the championship in front of 18,321.

Rocky Mountain Cup

The Rocky Mountain Cup is awarded to the team with the best regular season record in games between Major League Soccer (MLS) sides Real Salt Lake (RSL) and Colorado Rapids. 

There are two or three scheduled regular-season meetings between the two sides each year. The games are either played at America First Field, where RSL holds its home games, or Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Rapids play home games. In addition to MLS regular season games, the two teams met in 2006 and 2007 as part of the US Open Cup. 

The rivalry began when RSL joined MLS’s Western Conference alongside Colorado Rapids in 2005. Real Salt Lake won the inaugural meeting between the two teams 1-0. The most significant margin of victory in a Rocky Mountain Cup game was a 6-0 win for RSL against the Rapids in August 2018 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Each side has won the MLS Cup once, with RSL winning in 2009 and Colorado winning in 2010.


It is doubtful that sports betting will be legal in Utah soon. Chapter 10, Part 11 of the state’s criminal code explicitly outlaws gambling, even if federal law allows it. Lawmakers have not tried to legalize sports betting since the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA. In addition, Utah has a majority population of Mormons who view gambling as a sin.

Horse races are held at several racetracks in Utah, but any type of betting is strictly prohibited. This includes pari-mutuel betting and simulcast wagers. You also can’t use online horse racing betting sites like TVG and TwinSpires.

No, you can’t bet on sports using your phone as online sports betting is illegal. However, you can travel to neighboring states like Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming and place legal online wagers.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) tournaments are available in Utah. The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 declared DFS competitions as games of skill and not luck and exempt from bans on online gambling. This means you can use top operators like DraftKings and FanDuel in UT.

No, you can’t use DraftKings Sportsbook in Utah. Online sports betting is illegal, and no operators are allowed to operate in UT. However, you can use DraftKings’ DFS platform in Utah to create teams of your favorite athletes and win cash prizes.

Betting has been illegal in all forms for many years in Utah because of the state’s Mormon population. As of 2022, 68% of the state’s population are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). 

The teachings of the LDS identify gambling as a form of vice which its adherents should avoid. The state’s constitution explicitly bans gambling, and its prohibition is a part of UT’s criminal code.

BetMGM is unavailable for bettors in Utah because sports betting is prohibited. You can travel to nearby states like Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, and Colorado to use BetMGM legally. You will have to follow local regulations to bet legally.

It is unlikely that online sports betting will become legal in Utah in the future. Lawmakers have proposed no legislation since the overturning of PASPA. In addition, the state’s overwhelming Mormon majority is deeply opposed to sports betting.


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