Is It Illegal To Bet On Sports In The United States?
No, online sports betting is not illegal in the United States. As we explain below in our laws section, only offering sports betting as a business is deemed unlawful under US law. With the exception of a handful of states that are exempt from Paspa Law, this is why so many brick and mortar casinos around the US cannot offer sports betting. So the only viable option for players is to turn to licensed offshore sportsbooks that are regulated in a jurisdiction where online gambling has already been legalized. These sites can accept real money wagers from U.S. players because they are not located within US borders.
Where Is Sports Betting Legal In The USA?
Only 4 states can legally offer sports betting due to the Paspa law. These states include Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana with NV being the only state where you can bet in person. These specific states are each exempt from the law because they acted within a 1 year grace period to exclude themselves. It's fair to say that these states had a much clearer vision for the sports betting market compared to the vast majority of other states who didn't act within the 1 year grace period. Although to be fair this was before the internet took off and no one could have really predicted where things would be in 10 years.
States Where You Can Bet Sports Online Without The Fear Of Breaking Any Laws
While the following states haven't passed any laws to legalize sports betting, they also don't have any laws that specifically ban it either with the exception of Washington who makes it a class c felony for engaging in online gambling. Although we don't know of anyone that has actually been charged. So as we explain all throughout our website, players residing in any of the following states can legally bet on sports via an offshore sportsbook.
What Federal Laws Affect US Sports Betting Options?
There are a couple of different federal laws which are being used by the DOJ in their refusal to permit sports betting to those states desiring to legalize it. Many feel that these laws are arguable and are being implemented out of context. The laws in question include the Federal Wire Act, the PASPA of 1992, and the UIGEA bill. The following information addresses each of these pieces of legislation.
What Is The Federal Wire Act Of 1961 And How Does It Effect Online Sports Betting In The US
The Federal Wire Act prohibits gambling through an electronic means or by phone. When this law was established, bookies were set up by the mob and were running illegal gambling operations in excess. This law was the method by which law enforcement could put an end to these operations. Many argue that the law was never intended to regulate the future industry options of online gambling or prohibit something that was not even conceived at the time the law was implemented. However, this law is often cited by the DOJ and those opposed to the expansion of sports betting.
How Does the 1992 PASPA Law Affect the Legalization Efforts of Sports Betting in the United States?
Another law which those opposed to sports betting have used to strengthen their argument is the PASPA of 1992, also known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. This law effectively outlaws sports betting in all but a few states, though it does not directly address Internet sports betting. While the law does accomplish its intended objective, many argue that it is unconstitutional and impedes the sovereignty of states' rights, which is the argument that will be used in the state of NJ's appeal to the Supreme Court. New Jersey has been trying tenaciously to obtain the right to offer sports betting options to their residents and visitors. As of this writing the Garden State is appealing to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of a lower court which denied them this right even after they passed legitimate legislation legalizing sports betting for the state.
What Is The UIGEA And What Role Does That Play With Online Sportsbooks
The third and final important gambling related law in the US is the UIGEA law, also known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which does not affect the legality of player participation in online gambling, contrary to popular belief. This law in fact provides regulatory oversight concerning how online gambling transactions can be processed. It does not address or target players in any way, nor does it prohibit US players from enjoying online gambling options. This law is directed at online gambling site operators and payment processors, and attempts to establish a safe and secure environment for processing gambling related transactions free of fraudulent and money laundering activities.
When Is Regulated Sports Betting Coming To The USA?
Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have all legalized other forms of online gambling, and if those or any other US states successfully legalize and regulate online sports betting in the future, we will update our information here. In the meantime, those reputable online sports betting websites which support US players as well as international gamblers are listed on this page, and have all passed our extensive review process.
One reason states are going to find a move in this direction challenging is because there is some very strong opposition by powerful parties, including the NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA, among others. These types of opponents come with heavy duty financial backing and influence, and are not easy to defeat. These sports associations are concerned with the corruption that can be fostered in the sports industry as a result of sports betting activities being integrated into it.
Personally I am not concerned about this as legal online sports betting has been available to US players for years from legitimate offshore online sportsbooks, and we have not seen an emergence of corruption throughout any of these sports leagues. That being said, based on the trouble that NJ is having achieving legal status for sports betting in their state, it may be some time before this niche of the online gambling industry makes any progress for state based sportsbooks. Should NJ be successful in their efforts, they may just be setting precedence for other states to also embrace state regulated online sports betting.
Will I Get Into Trouble if I Bet On Sports at Online Sportsbooks Regulated Outside of the United States?
As long as you limit your sports wagering to legally licensed and certified sports betting destinations on the Internet which are subject to genuine regulatory oversight by a respected governing jurisdiction, then you will not be breaking the law. Should you be recruited by a sports betting site that is operated within the US, then you would be participating in illegal gambling activity because the site itself would be unlawful. The online sportsbook brands recommended throughout this guide have been carefully vetted by a team of analysts, and are all licensed and compliance certified to offer their sports wagering services to players in the US and around the world. This is the very first element of their operation that we verify because any site that does not meet these requirements for legitimacy are immediately eliminated from consideration for inclusion on this website.
Online sportsbooks employ at least one incentive to try to attract customers whose history can be traced back to the "house comps", or complimentary bonuses, that started in Las Vegas at traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. These sportsbooks will often times offer a welcome bonus matching a percentage of your initial deposit when you open an account. For instance, a particular sports betting site may offer an extra $25 for every $100 you deposit as a way of saying thank you for favoring their company over another. With approximately $10 billion wagered on the National Football League Superbowl globally every year, much of it online, it is easy to see why websites are happy to spend money to attract customers.
When coupled with the 24/7 access and worldwide reach of the World Wide Web, this generous welcome bonus offers an attractive advantage over physical land-based sportsbooks. And for those sports lovers who enjoy the excitement that sports betting can provide, but do not have a physical proximity to a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, the Internet provides a simple answer. There are also financial and time considerations to be made when you plan on wagering in a land-based casino. These considerations simply do not exist in the current world of wagering online, and help drive the global multibillion dollar business in its current state.
The most common form is the "straight bet" that allows for wagering against a spread. The spread, or line, is a number created by online sportsbooks and offline bookmakers used to handicap one side of a wager, while favoring the other. If one basketball team is significantly better than another, the weaker team will be given points to even out the betting. Those points, or spread, are then added to the weaker team's point total at the end of the game to determine a winner. Other popular sports betting types are parlays, teasers, proposition bets and totals. And since sports wagering is not legal everywhere in a land-based format, and the nearest casino may not be close by, online sportsbooks have become extremely popular in the 21st century.
Additional Sports Betting Guides Included In Our Series:
Betting online has truly become one of the most popular venues of online entertainment. Following are some of the niches that make up the most popular betting lines found at most sports betting sites that accept USA players. You can check for up to date player and team stats, game schedules, latest news, and more. All this information will assist you in making informed wagering decisions. The recommended sites you see above also provide great statistical information and the latest news on the players and teams to help you in your wagering options.
Legal Online Football Betting - Who doesn't want to enjoy some legal football sports betting action on the most watched event in sports....the Superbowl!
Legal NFL Online Betting - NFL Season is one of the most anticipated sports seasons covered by sports betting sites, so signup with one of our recommended sportsbooks to bet on the NFL this season.
Legal Superbowl Betting - The Superbowl is the culmination of the entire season's activity and is one of the most watched events on television each year. We'll provide you with access to current odds and legitimate, trusted sports betting options.
Legal College Football Betting - College football fans are some of the most serious sports bettors participating in online gambling. Our guide will provide you with helpful information to make informed wagers.
Legal Online Basketball Betting - Millions of die hard basketball fans eat, live, and breath NBA and NCAAB action. Our guide offers some great content and recommendations on where to bet on USA basketball legally.
Legal Online NBA Betting - Check out our list of the best sports betting sites that offer legal NBA betting options.
Legal Online Baseball Betting - The World Series is an event that you see lots of betting line options for, from player and team props to live betting.
Legal Online MLB Betting - Check out which sportsbooks offer legal MLB betting and the best lines in baseball.
Legal Online Golf Betting - Golf enthusiasts can wager on golf matches legally. Learn tips and more in our informative golf wagering guide.
Legal Online Soccer Betting - Soccer is actually the biggest spectators sport on the planet. It's just not as popular in the United States as it is abroad. However there are plenty of soccer fans that will appreciate our guide that includes the best soccer betting sites as well as tips that will help you win.
Legal Online Nascar Betting - Nascar is a very popular sports in the United States. And it's fun to put a sweat bet on a particular race. Learn which sites are the safest to place your wagers with and which sites offer specific Nascar wagering lines.
Legal Tennis Betting - Learn how to bet on tennis matches and the various betting options available to tennis fans such as head to head matches, prop bets, live wagering ect...
Legal Olympics Betting - The 2016 Rio Olympics is just around the corner, and we've updated our guide to include the most reputable USA friendly sportsbooks that offer betting odds for the summer Olympics.
Legal Bitcoin Sports Betting - We just launched our Bitcoin gambling section which is a very thorough guide into how to use Crypto Currencies and whether or not Bitcoin gambling is legal in the US.
Additional Online Betting Platforms:
For online gambling participants who enjoy action on various betting verticals, check out your options for legal poker sites and USA legal casinos.