Sports Betting Laws in the U.S.
Many fans of competitive games are unaware or misinformed when it come to the legality of US sports betting sites. Luckily, we are here to demystify the federal laws that regulate sports wagering in America. This page is designed with the player in mind, to inform you about the ways you are able to play and win big, without the fear of having the law come kick in your door.
This page is going to go in depth about the laws that make or break a sportsbook. The sites that we will point you to all happen to follow the rules, and offer safe and exciting betting options for everyone. We will end the page with a FAQ, but if you happen to have more questions, you can explore the rest of the site to find the answers.
In truth, there are only a handful of laws that have anything to do with online sports betting in the USA. You may be surprised to learn that individual states do not have anything to say about the matter, while the federal government has a few strict stipulations. All of the legitimate sports betting sites that we play at follow the laws, and continue to thrive and prosper. Let’s take a look at the three main laws that affect online sportsbooks.
Way back in the first half of the 20th century, crime and wagering were synonymous. The mafia had a foothold on the entire industry, and the federal government finally decided they had had enough. In 1961 the Wire Act was put in to effect to try and cut one of the main lines of organized crime’s money laundering schemes. The Act restricts the use of wire communication devices to transfer wagering information between states. This law did put quite a hitch in the mafia’s giddy up, but also resulted in sportsbooks being unable to serve people from outside the state they were located in.
Nowadays the Wire Act only affects sportsbooks by restricting the transfer of wagering information across state lines. This will not waylay your betting fun, because all of the premier online sportsbooks that accept US players are actually located outside of the US. That’s right, the legit sites all function overseas, where the Wire Act has no jurisdiction. This is why, if you pick one of the sportsbooks we review, you will be safe and sound.
During the early and mid-2000’s, interned-based wagering sites came into prominence. As with every new industry, there were criminal elements out to exploit unwitting users into handing over their money on the pretense of a legal bet. The online wagering world quickly became rampant with ne’er-do-wells and shyster cyber thieves. This prompted the US government to create the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. The Act limits the way an online wagering facilitator can transfer funds. In the US, this meant that almost 99% of the online wagering industry was unable to continue to function.
The good news is that, as we have previously mentioned, the best sites are located overseas. This means that they are not subject to many of the strictures of the UIGEA. In fact, the only real way the Act affects these sportsbooks is by disallowing payouts directly to credit card accounts. This proves not to be a problem because these sites offer numerous payment options that are fast and safe. You can still deposit with a card, you just have to withdrawal using a different method such as a check or a cash wire transfer. This is the way of the online wagering world now, and there are millions of satisfied customers winning money on these sites every day.
The third and last law you need to know about is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The reason we put this last is because it only really affects sportsbooks that exist in America, so you shouldn’t need to worry about it. That being said, it is still good to have a solid understanding of the laws that are out there.
The PASPA dictates which states in America can offer regulated sports betting. As of 1996, only four states in the nation are eligible to host sportsbooks. These are Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. These are the only states that can potentially offer any kind of legitimate sports betting. Out of the four, only Nevada and Delaware actually take advantage of this freedom. Nevada has plenty of land-based and online sports betting options that are available for people in the state. Delaware on the other hand, offers very limited wagering during NFL season only. This is why the majority of Americans use the online sportsbooks.
Q: Do the federal laws ever change?
A: Yes, there are amendments to laws all the time. Many legislators are rallying against the PASPA, hoping to make it so that every state can decide whether to supply sportsbooks. Similar things are happening with the Wire Act and the UIGEA. There are some legislators that are trying to restore the original Wire Act, which would make it even harder for Americans to bet. This would be a huge step backwards for the wagering world, so let’s hope this never happens.
Q: Are there any more laws that affect online sportsbooks?
A: No, these are the only laws that you need to worry about. You also want to keep in mind the legal betting age of your state. Most state betting laws require bettors to be 18 or 21, while almost every online sportsbook sets the age at 18. IF your state wants you to be 21, it is best to wait until you are that age to sign up, just to avoid any possible repercussions.
Q: Do states regulate online sportsbooks?
A: No, the PASPA decides which states can have any kind of sports betting. That is why only Nevada, and to a lesser extend Delaware, have sportsbooks. That being said, anyone from any state can use an online sportsbook as long as it accepts players from said state.
Q: Where can I find more information?
A: First off, explore the rest of our site. This is meant to be a place to inform readers about all things online sports betting. You should be able to find most of your answers here. The internet is wide and vast, so do some searches for anything else you might want to know about.
Learn More: Online Sports Betting, Legal in the USA?
As you now know, the once intimidating laws are really not harsh at all. They may have cryptic sounding acronyms, but they leave a lot of leeway for US sports betting sites to function. We are sports fanatics ourselves, and have cherry picked our favorite online sportsbooks for US players. The sites we review will give you an astounding wagering experience, and millions of satisfied American sports fans can attest to.
If you are seeking a truly ‘Vegas-like experience without wanting to travel to Sin City, Bovada is the have you have been looking for. This phenomenal online sportsbooks accepts US residents from almost every state. If you are in New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, or Maryland, you will need to choose another sportsbook. Luckily, there are many other options like BetOnline + SportsBetting, so check out some of the other reviews here on SportsBettingSitesUS.com to see what’s out there.
Bovada has been functioning legally for over two decades, making it one of the longest running online sportsbooks in the industry. A Kahnawake Gaming Commission license and a certificate of good standing reflect the professionalism and security of Bovada. You will not find a more reputable online sportsbooks out there, and we recommend signing up today for free. Once you've signed up and committed to making your first deposit, be sure to get your piece of the 50% to $250 welcome bonus that carries only a 3x rollover to cash out. This is a very generous US sportsbook bonus with reasonable terms that all players should consider when choosing one sportsbook over another.