United States Sports Betting Laws

Understanding the United State sports betting laws in mandatory when you are looking to take action on your favorite teams or players. The laws and regulations are quite different on the state level but in regards to the federal level, they are very cut and dry. Two of them are still in effect today and though they may not necessarily target your actions, they still inhibit your abilities to bet on sports. Keep in mind that these three federal laws are all based around sports betting within the country. Only one of them actually alters your offshore betting habits, but the other two can be simply overlooked.

The three laws in our discussion are the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). PASPA is the federal law that has been overturned, having been repealed in May 2018 by the Supreme Court. The other two laws are still in effect but, as you will soon learn, they are losing power every time a state moves forward with legalization.

What Is The Wire Act?

The Wire Act was introduced in the 1960s to combat organized crime running underground and unlicensed sports betting facilities. This law came to power in an attempt to combat this nationwide issue, which was taking money away from the licensed sportsbooks about the country. The Wire Act makes it illegal for sportsbooks to accept action from a party that is not physically located within the state. At the time, it was meant for telegram and telephone transactions (hence the “wire” portion of the Wire Act); however, opinions from state governments have also included the internet as a banned means of information transfer.

If you noticed, we explained that the laws targets sportsbooks, not the individual gambler. If you are attempting to use a sports betting platform from a state outside of the platform you are using, they simply will just not accept your wager. They can determine your location from tracking your device with geolocation so there is really no way around this. As for offshore betting sites, they are outside of federal jurisdiction, accepting players from all around the country.

Does PASPA Make Sports Betting Illegal?

PASPA once made it illegal for sportsbooks to operate within the country but this has since changed since 2018. With the repeal, each state was granted the right to figure out exactly what they want to do with their gambling industry in regards to sports betting. Some states (such as Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) were quick to create and enact laws to authorize sports betting. Other states Tennessee approved onlie-only options. Unfortunately, a handful of states (such as Hawaii, Alaska, and Utah) have been slow to take any action at all on regulating the activity.

With PASPA out of the way, each state is free to expand its industry and create regulations as they see fit. States like Delaware and New Jersey do not allow sportsbooks to accept wagers on collegiate sports that are played within the state or have a team that is from their state. States like Mississippi allow for betting from your smartphone, but only if you are physically located at the casino you are using. Each of these differences is a direct result of PASPA. Keep in mind that offshore betting sites were never influenced by PASPA, as they have been legally operating for over two decades.

Am I Allowed To Bet On Sports Online Under The UIGEA?

While the name may make it sound like all forms of gambling are highly restricted through online platforms, it is actually a puppy disguised as a Pitbull. Instead of banning all online gambling, UIGEA makes it so US banks must restrict processing payments that they “knowingly” are going to and from gambling sites. Nearly impossible to control and police, the only impact that you will see from UIGEA is the potential for your credit card deposit transaction getting declined.

If this happens, a simple call to the cashier of the site will fix the problem. They will either cancel the charge and redo the payment processing or explain the multitude of ways that you can also deposit with their site. If all else fails, we recommend purchasing an international VISA prepaid gift card, as your personal and banking information has no record on the card – just make sure first that this is an accepted method of depositing.

While this law targets the banks helping offshore sportsbooks, remember this law won’t be after you in any way. Moreover, your sportsbook(s) of choice will not face any consequences, as they are located overseas. It is unlikely you will ever encounter a problem due to UIGEA but it most certainly does not restrict your ability to gamble online at legal betting sites.

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