Last updated: June 1, 2020
Status: There have been no bills drafted to bring sports betting to Utah, and the state’s lawmakers have given no indication they are even considering bringing sports betting to the state.
ETA: Given the state’s hardline stance towards all forms of gambling, it is unlikely that sports betting will come to the Beehive State anytime soon.
In May 2018, the US sports betting landscape was changed forever when the Supreme Court struck down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). While many states moved to legalize sports betting, Utah made it clear they would maintain their ban on all forms of gambling within their state borders. Sports fans hoping for legal betting in Utah were left disappointed.
However, the decision should come as no surprise considering the state’s zero-tolerance approach to gambling. Utah is one of only two states (along with Hawaii) that prohibits all forms of gambling. Even charitable gaming and lotteries are not prohibited in the conservative Western state.
So far, the only legislation being drafted in Utah in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision is a bill to ensure that sports betting remains prohibited in the state. Utah’s principle lawmakers believe that sports betting will only harm the integrity of sport in the region.
Utah (previously known as the State of Deseret) has never been known as a gambling-friendly state. In 1851, the original Utah constitution was created, and the first anti-gambling initiatives were implemented. By 1875, further laws were passed to clarify that all forms of gambling were illegal, and that has remained the case ever since - with one exception.
Between 1925 and 1927, the state legalized pari-mutuel betting on horse races, but the short-lived experiment did nothing to convince lawmakers that gambling was of any benefit to the state.
Further measures were taken to strengthen anti-gambling laws in 1973 as the state reaffirmed its antipathy towards all forms of gambling, including lotteries and charitable gaming.
As online wagering became popular, there was little in the way of regulation in Utah or elsewhere. In 2012, to combat the rise of gambling in the state, a law was passed to prohibit online gambling. The law included safeguards to ensure Utah was exempt from any Federal decisions to legalize online gambling in the future.
With zero wagering options in Utah, residents have taken to crossing the border into Nevada, one of America’s most gambling-friendly states. In fact, the Utah town of St. George is under two hours’ drive from the heart of Las Vegas, and residents of Salt Lake City can fly to Vegas in just over an hour.
No, sports betting is illegal throughout the state of Utah.
No organization controls sports betting in Utah and there are no plans to create one.
It is illegal for anyone of any age to bet on sports in Utah.
You cannot place a legal sports wager anywhere in the state of Utah.
There are no plans to issue any sports betting licenses in the state.
Due to strict anti-gambling laws, there are no operators offering legal sports betting in Utah.
Mobile sports betting via applications or otherwise is not legal in Utah.
There have been no studies on the financial impact of sports betting in the state of Utah.
With no sports betting planned for the state, no tax rate has been proposed.
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