Is Online Sports Betting Legal In The USA?
The answer to the simple question of the legality of sports wagering in the US is simple—according to the US Department of Justice, sports betting over phone lines is technically illegal within US borders, except in certain parts of the country where such betting has been legalized. Las Vegas and Atlantic City are hotspots for sports wagering, as betting on sports is legal in those gambling Meccas, and there are forms of betting sports that have been made explicitly legal in certain parts of the country; parlay betting cards are both popular and legal in the state of Delaware, for example.
But, the answer to the question of “Is online wagering legal in the United States?” is complex, because a simple state of legality or illegality is not the whole story when it comes to placing sports bets. A recent clarification of the Federal Wire Act of 1961, the law that first made sports bets over communication lines illegal, seems to indicate that the US government is not interested in arresting individual bettors on sports, but rather on taking down illegal providers of sports betting. In 1961, the Wire Act was designed to crack down on organized crime’s participation in sports wagering and the impact such bets were having on actual sports gameplay. The law was never intended to prevent Joe Blow from signing on to a sports betting Web site and placing a couple of bets on his favorite sports teams.
Fear of placing sports bets is based mostly on harsh language that has appeared at the state and federal level in recent years. Eight American states have specific laws on the books making online gambling in the United States illegal. In 2006, new federal betting laws like the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA, were passed as an attempt to prevent online gambling within American borders. But that bill was mostly aimed at financial transfers to known gaming sites—making it illegal for banks and other financial institutions to process gambling payments online. Again, this bill was not aimed at individual bettors or casino game players. Since no one has ever been arrested for placing sports bets at sports betting Web sites, and since no federal law exists making it explicitly illegal to place bets on the Internet, you shouldn’t be afraid of sports betting online.
As for state betting laws, yes, some American states have made it a crime to participate in any form of online gambling. Those states may actually attempt to pursue charges against an individual bettor, so we do not recommend that you place any sort of online wager if the law in your state explicitly makes that kind of gaming illegal. Again, not one of these states has yet to arrest an individual under their anti-online gaming laws, but the laws do exist.
It is possible that online gambling of all forms will soon become a government-regulated industry. This is due in part to the worldwide economic crisis, which has put both state and federal budgets in jeopardy. The taxes and fees that state governments would collect based on Internet gambling in America would provide the extra cash states need to pave their roads, pay their teachers, and meet other budget requirements. Another reason for this newfound interest in regulating online gambling is the action of a handful of Congressmen, the massive online poker and gambling lobby, and a change in the way the American public views gaming on the Internet. To find out more about online gaming law in your state, and to see how you can help make online gambling legal and regulated, contact a legal professional or your state and local representatives.
In the meantime, you can visit any of the legal betting sites below to begin betting right away. There is never a day that goes by that doesn't present the opportunity to wager on sports. These sites can facilitate any and all wagers you send their way and will hopefully definitively answer the question “Is online wagering legal in the United States?” by proving their safety and reliability.
- BetOnline Sportsbook
- Accepts U.S. Players From All 50 States
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- Bovada Sportsbook
- No Players In New York, DE, New Jersey, MD or NV
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- SportsBetting Sportsbook
- Accepts U.S. Players From All 50 States
- JOIN NOW!
Is Land-Based Sports Gambling Legal In The United States?
Land-based sports betting in the United States is largely limited. In fact, it is banned in 46 of the 50 states. Of the four states in which it can legally take place, only half of those states even have it. And of those two states that feature active sports betting in some fashion, only Nevada will have what truly constitutes a wide array of available betting options. The other state is Delaware which offers legal NFL parlay bets to be made during the season.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 is the culprit behind the limited availability of sports betting in the United States. PASPA is a federal act which does not allow for legal sports betting but gave leeway for states with a background of licensed gaming the chance to apply to be grandfathered in under the law. Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana took this opportunity, though the latter two currently have no legal sports betting operations.
Legal Online Wagering FAQ’s
Is It Legal To Bet On International Sports?
The offshore online sportsbooks we mention offer betting lines on not just American sports like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and collegiate sports but they also have lines on international soccer leagues, cricket, and a ton more. The variety is incredible.
What Deposit Methods Are Legal To Use At Online Wagering Sites?
While most sites offer a solid variance of deposit methods, the top options tend to always be credit card and debit card deposits, as well as money orders, bank transfers, and bitcoin has become very popular as well.
What Payout Methods Are Legal To Use At Online Wagering Sites?
Just like the deposit options available, the top offshore online wagering sites will offer up several different methods to choose from. All of them vary as far as how long they take to get to you and just about every method comes with some sort of fee. It’s up to you which method you prefer but you will see all of the same options as the deposits and you may be able to choose a check withdrawal as well.