Is It Legal To Bet Sports Online?

Many people question the legality of online sports betting. They hear about sports betting sites and a red flag goes up. “Isn’t that against the law?” they ask. The short answer is no, as long as you are using a sportsbook that operates legally. There are plenty of legal, safe sports betting sites for US players. You just have to know where to look. The laws can seem enigmatic sometimes. That’s why we’re here to help you navigate through the red tape of US gaming law.

This page will provide information on the three main laws that regulate sportsbooks in the United States. It will cover the PASPA, the Wire Act, and the UIGEA. It will also look at state laws that regulate sports betting sites. Finally, this page will give you the lowdown on some great online sportsbooks for US bettors.

What Laws Regulate Online Sports Betting?

While a few states have laws that regulate land-based betting, even fewer states have anything on the books about betting sports online. In fact, most of the laws that affect online sports betting are found at the federal level and they actually do very little to stop U.S. residents from wagering with offshore sports betting sites. We're going to take a few minutes to review the three prominent betting laws to help prove that it is safe and legal to bet sports online.

Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA)

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) forbids a government institution or individual from running a sports betting operation. This means that states are not allowed to have sports betting, with the exception of a few states. Nevada and Delaware are two of the states that do allow sportsbooks. The PASPA only applies to land-based sites.

The two main laws that affect online sportsbooks are the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The Wire Act, passed in 1961, prevents the transfer of funds or information over a wired communications facility. There is some debate over whether the internet is bound to the Wire Act. The UIGEA penalizes online sportsbook operators who accept money from bettors. Due to these laws, sports betting sites must operate outside the United States.

Federal Wire Act of 1961

Let’s take a closer look at the Wire Act. Passed in 1961, it was originally designed to stave off the influence of organized crime. Organized crime families were making a killing by running sportsbooks. The intent of the law was never to go after small-time bettors. The Wire Act was to prevent unscrupulous bookies and gangsters “engaged in the business of betting or wagering.” Over the years, lawmakers have attempted to update the Wire Act to include internet-based sportsbooks, however it can only apply within the United States’ borders. This is one of the reasons the UIGEA was passed.

The Wire Act bars sportsbooks from transferring funds or information over a wired communications facility. Online betting sites based outside the United States aren’t beholden to the Wire Act because it only regulates state-to-state operations. And to reiterate, the Wire Act doesn’t single out individuals, but rather those who run a wagering business.

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA)

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006 in order to prevent the spread of internet gaming sites. Like the Wire Act, the UIGEA criminalizes those who run a business that accepts funds from bettors. The UIGEA has been heavily criticized for being hastily tacked on to the end of the Safe Port Act at the last minute so lawmakers did not have a chance to read it. Critics also say that the Act does nothing to prevent online betting.

The UIGEA affects sportsbooks that function in the United States. It does not apply to betting sites that are based overseas. Like the Wire Act, the UIGEA is not aimed at the average law-abiding citizen who places the occasional wager. All of the sites that we review follow the constraints of the law to a tee, so you have nothing to worry about when it comes to legality.

Do States Regulate Online Sports Betting?

For the most part, no. This is because PASPA regulates sports betting for all states except for a few, Nevada and Delaware among them. PASPA is a federal betting law that overrides the authority of state betting laws. PASPA lets Nevada and Delaware have sports betting because they allowed it for at least ten years before PASPA was passed. Only residents of Nevada and Delaware can use sportsbooks in those states. States do not, however, regulate online sports betting outside of the country. This means that any individual between the ages of 18 and 21 (depending on each state’s minimum legal betting age) can legally use overseas online sportsbooks.

Best Legal Sports Betting Sites

There are so many legitimate online sportsbooks on the web that it’s hard to know which one to join. It can be even more difficult to choose an online betting site if you’re completely new to the game. That’s where we come in. We’ve combed the depths of the web and found some really amazing, safe sports betting sites for US players. These sites are especially geared toward American players. You don’t have to worry about any legal ramifications if you use the sites we suggest. All of these sites have their own unique special features. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. Let’s zoom in for a closer look at one of these sites.

Bovada - Claim Your $250 Welcome Bonus Today!

If you’re looking for a legal sports betting site for US players, then look no further than Bovada's online sportsbook. This fantastic sports betting site has been a bastion of safety for nearly 10 years. It has some of the most up-to-date, cutting edge features you’ll find anywhere on the web. Bovada is home to millions of members who trust in its quality and dedication to excellence.

Based out of the Mohawk Territory in Canada, it was awarded the Kahnawake Gaming Commission’s Certificate of Good Standing. This honor is bequeathed upon only the finest of sports betting sites. Bovada is also one of the most sophisticated sites in terms of security features that protect your personal information. It goes without saying that Bovada is licensed and legal. You don’t have to worry that you’re violating the Wire Act, the UIGEA, or the PASPA, because those laws only govern US-operated sports betting sites. Bovada is one of the most popular and highly regarded online sportsbooks. You can’t lose!

Legal Sports Betting Sites USA? Rated Sign Up Bonus Bonus Cap Bet Today:
Bovada Legal USA Sports Betting Site 5-Stars 50% Cash Bonus $250 GET STARTED
BetOnline Legal USA Sports Betting Site 5-Stars 25% Free Play $1000 GET STARTED
SportsBetting Legal USA Sports Betting Site 5-Stars 50% Free Play $500 GET STARTED
5Dimes Legal USA Sports Betting Site 5-Stars 50% Free Play $520 GET STARTED