Legal Sports Betting

The topic of legal sports betting in the United States has become increasingly controversial. Sports betting has evolved through many stages throughout American history, from being a favorite pastime, to being outlawed, and then being legalized in certain states. We are now at a point in history where there is a clear divide on whether or not sports betting should be regulated on a widespread level. Many states are pushing for sports betting regulation and have taken legal action, but there are still opposing parties such as certain sports leagues and government officials. Stuck in the middle are the U.S. sports fans that are left to wonder exactly where the future of sports betting will head in each of the 50 states.

While still murky from a legislative standpoint, US citizens still have options for betting on sports legally in the Land of the Free. There are land-based sportsbooks in states such as Nevada and Delaware, plus online sports betting sites deliver plenty of action. While we monitor the current US sports betting landscape, you can learn more about your options for betting on sports. We will give you a ton of  valuable resources on legal sports betting in The United States, and also provide you with information on US-friendly online sportsbooks and sports betting sites.

Help Us Make Sports Betting Legal

With growing support from elected officials and sports leagues, now is the time for you to also help us make sports betting legal. Americans are estimated to spend over 300 billion dollars each year on sports betting, and chances are you or someone you know also bets on sports. By supporting causes that work to end the federal ban on sports betting, you can empower states to establish their own laws for betting on sports. In turn, you have greater access to sportsbooks and increased sports wagering opportunities both on land and online.

According to research presented by the American Sports Betting Coalition, about 7 in 10 Americans believe that the people of each state should be able to decide whether sports betting should be allowed. In addition, legalization across all 50 states could generate up to $27 billion in total economic output. There is no question that there are numerous advantages to legalized sports betting outside of the engagement that it provides for fans. If you want to help the push for a legal and transparent environment for sports betting in the United States, you can join our movement by following us on Facebook.

$25 Billion

If the USA were to make sports betting legal and regulated, they would bring in about $25 billion into the economy.

150,000 New Jobs

It is estimated that legal sports betting in the U.S.A. would bring in roughly 150,000 new jobs to America in the first few years.

$5 Billion

The different local and state governments would bring in roughly $5 billion in tax revenue if sports betting were legal.

$150 Billion

Experts estimate that more then $150 Billion is illegally bet on sports in the USA each year, meaning lots of lost tax revenue.

Current State Of Legal Sports Betting In The USA

The current state of legal sports betting in the United States is not much different than it was two decades ago. The only two states with legal sports betting are Nevada and Delaware, both of which offer different types of sports betting. Nevada has full-scale sportsbooks where you can bet on any sport and make all types of wagers. Those placing sports wagers in Delaware are limited to NFL parlays. This has remained the status quo since the Professional and Amateur Protection Act (PASPA) was passed in 1992.

As it stands, the sports betting industry is in limbo. With the New Jersey sports betting underway and the possibility of PASPA being deemed unconstitutional, many states have introduced bills that are awaiting the final ruling on the case. Most states have taken the route of writing larger gambling expansion bills that include a provision that would regulate sports betting should it become legal per federal law.

Future Regulation Of Legal Sports Betting In The USA In 2017 And Beyond

With new sports betting bills being introduced every month, the future regulation of legal sports betting in the USA in 2017 and beyond looks promising. By fall 2018 the state of New Jersey and the rest of the world will know the outcome of their final appeal in case No. 16-476, Christie et al v. National Collegiate Athletic Association et al. New Jersey has been attempting to legalize sports betting within the state for more than five years and has gained nationwide support throughout their journey. The American Gaming Association (AGA) has stated that Congress will put a sports betting bill on Trump’s desk at some point in the future. The AGA also recently launched the American Sports Betting Coalition, a group of lawmakers, law enforcement, and gaming executives who will lobby for regulated sports betting. There have also been certain sports markets such as PGA Tour and Major League Soccer that have said they predict sports betting laws will finally move out of the dark ages. With momentum starting to build from all angles, it is reasonable to expect legalized sports betting within the next five years.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In The USA?

Unless you are attempting to operate an online sportsbook, online sports betting is principally legal. There is not a federal law that penalizes U.S. citizens for placing sports bets online, and most states do not have online sports betting laws either. It is the absence of laws and regulations that make it generally safe to bet on sports online. The only factors that would make online sports betting illegal are if you reside in one of the very few states that have online gambling laws, or, you bet while underage. You should always verify the sports betting age in your state before joining an online sportsbook, though the age is commonly 21 years or older.

The Importance Of Legal Sports Betting Sites Being Located Offshore

To sports enthusiasts that reside in a country or state with strict sports betting laws, offshore sportsbooks are extremely significant. It is illegal to operate a US-facing online sportsbook, which is why the sports betting sites for USA residents are all based overseas. These offshore sportsbooks are still safe to use as they are licensed and regulated by a gaming authority in their jurisdiction. Offshore sports betting sites allow U.S.A. citizens to bet on their favorite sports and teams even if the trip to Vegas is not possible. Many of the operators have been serving bettors from the U.S. for decades, which lends to their overall credibility.

US States With Legal Sports Betting

There are only two states with legal sports betting in the United States of America- Nevada and Delaware. Nevada is home to more than 60 sportsbooks with a wide range of sports to wager on. You can make straight bets, parlays, spread bets, or over/under bets. Nevada is the only state with land-based single game wagering, as they had legalized sports betting before the passage of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Delaware is the only other place in the USA where you will be able to find legalized sports betting. Delaware sports wagers are limited to NFL parlays, meaning you will not find Vegas-style sportsbooks. Residents and visitors can typically place parlays of anywhere between 3 and 13 game selections depending on the venue. You will be able to place NFL parlays at licensed racetracks and off-track betting locations throughout the state.

Legal Sports Betting Around The World

The United States is just one piece of the larger sports betting puzzle. There are other countries in the world where sports betting is legal for all citizens without statewide limitations. One of the biggest sports betting hubs in the world is the United Kingdom, which is where some of the top online sportsbooks are licensed. There are entities such as the Gambling Commission and the Government of Gibraltar that issue licenses to online and land-based operators. To bet on sports in the United Kingdom, a player only has to 18 years old. The United Kingdom includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Australia is one of the largest sports betting nations, with a report by H2 Gambling Capital finding that bettors spend about $2,000USD on average wagering each year. The laws in Australia make it legal to bet on sports at betting shops and the internet as long as the player is at least 18 years old. Though legal sports betting exists in Australia there are certain limitations. The Interactive Gaming Act of 2001 (IGA)* https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016C00607 * makes in-play sports betting illegal unless placed by telephone, however, many operators were grandfathered into the law. Sports betting is a billion dollar industry in Australia, with residents able place bets with both AU-facing and offshore sports betting operators.

The sports betting laws in the United States are divided into two categories – state level and federal level. This division of power attributes to the general confusion surrounding the legality of sports betting in America as a whole. While each state is technically able to determine what types of gambling are permitted in their individual territory, there are overarching laws that put limits on these rights of sovereignty. If you were to ask a state like New Jersey, these blanket laws may go as far to violate the rights of a state when it comes to sports betting. As you will find out by further exploring these regulations, there are certain types of laws that have had a much larger impact on the sports betting industry in the USA.

With the negative light that is often shed on betting on sports by lawmakers, you would think that there would be countless state sports betting laws. This, however, is not the case as the majority of states do not have sports betting laws on the books. Many state governments do not take the time to write legislation because they prefer to fall under the federal sports betting umbrella. Being that sports betting is largely illegal on a federal level, state lawmakers feel specific laws are unnecessary. This works to the benefit of most US citizens because though federal laws do address land-based sports betting, there are no federal laws related to online sports betting.

In order to understand the sports betting industry in the United States, you need to become familiar with federal sports betting laws. Of all the countries with lucrative sports betting markets, the USA seems to have the most unclear legal structure. One of the main questions that bettors ask is “why is sports betting legal in Nevada?” and the answer involves exploring one federal law in particular.

 

 

* http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title28/part6/chapter178&edition=prelim * The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) prohibited sports betting in all but four states – Delaware, Oregon, Montana, and Nevada. These states were grandfathered in because legal forms of sports betting already existed in their state. The reason that Nevada is the only state with single-game sports wagering is because at the time PASPA was enacted they were the only state with sportsbooks. Delaware had only legalized NFL parlays, while Oregon and Montana had laws for sports lotteries but opted not to permit sports betting even with their exempt status. That is why only two of the 50 states offer legal sports betting.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) is one of the most misleading federal sports betting laws in existence. Though the title of the law would lead many to believe that internet gambling is illegal, in reality, the UIGEA is a banking restriction on U.S. payment processors. The UIGEA prevents U.S. financial institutions from processing payments related to internet gambling by requiring measures that restrict the transactions. The federal law does not make online gambling unlawful, but it can make certain designated payment systems such as credit cards more difficult to be processed when making a deposit. That is why sites for legal sports betting in the United States will offer several banking methods. You can read the full summary here. * https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2010/fil10035a.pdf *

As one of the oldest federal laws to target sports betting, the Wire Act of 1961 is still relevant today. During the late 50’s and early 60’s, racketeering enterprises were rapidly spreading throughout the United States. As one of several antiracketeering bills passed during the era, the Wire Act was passed to combat organized crime and assist states in enforcing their respective gambling laws. An excerpt from 18 U.S.C. 1084 reads the following: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2009-title18/pdf/USCODE-2009-title18-partI-chap50-sec1084.pdf

“Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest… shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

When then-President John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law, the internet had not yet been invented. In the present day, the Wire Act is now interpreted to include sports wagers transmitted on the internet. Even with this application, the federal law specifically states that only those in the business of wagering are covered under its scope. As with the majority of sports betting laws, only operators are targeted and casual bettors are in no way penalized.

What President Trump Thinks About Legal Sports Betting

 

Many proponents of legal sports betting have cited several statements made by President Donald Trump. In an interview with Jim Gray on Westwood One radio, Trump did not share the same anti-sports betting outlook that many lawmakers have in common. Rather than give a definitive yes or no to the issue, Trump remained neutral.

 

“Well, what I’d do is I’d sit down with the commissioners… I’d also get the input from lots of law enforcement officials, because, obviously, that’s a big step. So we wouldn’t do it lightly, I can tell you. It will be studied very carefully. But I would want to have a lot of input from a lot of different people.”

 

Donald Trump has yet to back any lobbying groups or take any legal action to further regulated sports betting efforts, but sports betting would seem to align with his interests. Trump was a former casino mogul, owning several casinos in Atlantic City. Before becoming POTUS, Trump also gave his okay to legal sports betting during multiple interviews throughout the last decade. Being that Donald Trump is an entrepreneur at his core, he sees the economic benefits of widespread sports betting legalization.

What The Professional Sports Leagues Think About Legal Sports Betting

Regardless of if a particular league is for or against regulated sports betting, it seems that as the popularity of sports betting has increased so has the interest from league executives. Representatives from MLB, NHL, NBA, and NFL players associations have been known to conduct meetings regarding how legalized sports betting will impact their respective players. The opinion of regulated sports betting amongst the leagues will continue to change and develop over time.

NBA Thoughts About Making Sports Betting Legal Over the past decade, the opinions on regulated sports betting changed drastically within certain leagues. The National Basketball Association has had the greatest change of heart, initially siding with all of the other major sports leagues in their fight against regulated sports betting. Recently, however, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been a vocal proponent of legalized sports betting given that it is highly regulated. Silver wrote a New York Times article in 2014 where he first expressed his support. He recognizes that sports betting is taking place all over the United States, though technically only two states currently offer legal sports betting. Read what the NBA thinks about legal sports betting here.

The National Football League has always taken the strongest stance against regulated sports betting and their thoughts remain largely the same. The NFL has sued Delaware for their sports betting laws in the 90’s and the league has also had an ongoing legal battle with the state of New Jersey. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated multiple times that the expansion of regulated sports betting would negatively impact the integrity of the games.

Though Goodell has been clear about his opinion, the actions of the league have not always coincided. The NFL owners voted to move the Oakland Raiders to the gambling mecca of the United States – Las Vegas. There have also been inconsistencies with the NFL’s gambling policy when it comes to one of the Packers’ sponsors being the Oneida Nation Casino, state lottery patches on certain team training camp jerseys, and teams holding training camp at the Greenbrier resort in WV which is also home to a casino. Read more about what the NFL thinks about making sports betting legal in the USA.

Major League Baseball cannot yet be considered an advocate for sports betting, but the league has stated that they have already started conducting research on the impacts of sports betting on baseball. They used to be fully against gambling in MLB, but their stance has loosened in recent years. In fact, they would probably come out and support it alot more if the government was not against it. The MLB commissioner knows that it is just a matter of time and they are preparing the MLB to get ready for fully legalized sports betting in the coming years. Read what MLB baseball thinks about legal sports betting in the USA.

The NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, has yet to take a big stance on making sports betting legal. He has came out and said to reporters that he does not think that the NHL lends itself well to sports betting the same way that other sports do. He pointed out that only 1% of the bets placed at sportsbooks are on hockey games. As of now, they are not against the idea of making sports betting legal for Americans, but they are not exactly trying to get it legalized either. See more about the NHL’s thoughts on legal online sports betting.

Will I Go To Jail Or Be Arrested For Online Sports Betting?
The likelihood that you would ever go to jail or be arrested for online sports betting is slim to none. The anti-sports betting laws in the United States are all focused on penalizing those in the business of sports betting, not those placing casual bets. Any high-profile cases surrounding sports betting have been those against individuals who started illegal sports betting networks while residing in the states. You can bet on sports online without having to be in constant worry about being penalized.
Why Are USA Online Sportsbooks Located Offshore?
Online sportsbooks are located offshore due to the federal laws that prohibit sports betting in the majority of the United States. Offshore online sportsbooks are located in countries such as Costa Rica and Panama where the operators abide by promulgations set by their local gaming authority. They are outside the jurisdiction of the US but are still held accountable by an overseas governing body. That is why it is still safe to bet at offshore online sportsbooks even though they are not regulated by a U.S. gaming commission.
Can Legal USA Online Sports Betting Sites Be Trusted?

Yes, online sports betting sites can be trusted by U.S. players. Many of the sites cater to American bettors and therefore make sure to address any safety concerns. All of your financial and personal information is kept secure when you join an online sportsbook. Your financial account information is encrypted, along with all passwords and associated data. Your name, address, and other contact details are never sold to third-parties.

You can also trust that online sports betting sites have fair odds and betting opportunities. Many online sportsbooks have been operating for a decade or more which has allowed them to build up a trustworthy reputation. Reliable banking and being able to trust that your money is in good hands has always been the biggest concern for USA bettors. When you use a legit online sports betting site, you are guaranteed to receive your winnings no matter which payout method you choose.

What Is The Legal Sports Betting Age In The United States?

The legal sports betting age will differ depending on the state in which you reside. Each state government has been given the power to dictate the sports betting age, which is why you will find varying legal ages. Most states have set the legal age to bet on sports to 21 years or older, but there are a handful of states that allow bettors to start wagering at 18 years old. These states are Wyoming, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Washington, and Oklahoma.

Always verify the legal sports betting age before deciding to join an online sportsbook. There may be occasions where the site accepts players as young as 18 years old, however, if you reside in a state where the sports betting age is 21 you will need to wait. Underage gambling is a serious offense that is not worth the consequences, which is why we always stress the importance of waiting until you are the legal sports betting age in your state. Find the legal sports betting age by state.

What Sports Can I bet On At Legal Sports Betting Sites?

There is a wide range of sports that you can bet on at legal sports betting sites. If you can think of the sport, chances are there’s a site that has odds on the game. Any USA-friendly online sportsbook will allow you bet on the major US sports leagues, such as the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, or NCAA football and basketball. In addition, there are markets for entertainment and political betting odds that many bettors are unaware of. You can bet on Game of Thrones, the next presidential election, Survivor, and plenty of other events outside of traditional sports. The list of available sports to bet on is expansive, but here are a few of the standard options:

Football, Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, UFC / MMA, Table Tennis, Horse Racing, Rugby League, Politics, Boxing, Winter Sports, E-Sports, Snooker, Tennis, Motor Sports, Hockey, Golf, Cycling, Aussie Rules, Rugby Union, Cricket, Darts, Volleyball, Handball

How Do I Make A Deposit Into Online Sportsbooks?

Making a deposit at legal sports betting sites is simple and there are numerous options to choose from. When most bettors sign up at an online sportsbook to do real money sports betting, they opt to use their Visa or MasterCard because there is nothing more convenient than using the credit card you already use for other purchases. Credit card deposits are instant and you can start wagering right away. Bitcoin is another instant deposit option, and you can typically higher maximum deposit limits than you would with a credit card.

For high roller sports bettors, bank wires are preferable because there typically are no limits to the amount that can be deposited. Transfers are usually completed in 1-3 business days but depend on your bank. You can also express ship a check to the online sportsbook if you prefer a more traditional method. Check deposits usually arrive within 2-4 business days when you use carriers like FedEx, UPS, or DHL. Read more about legal online sportsbook deposit methods here.

How Do I Get Paid My Winnings From USA Sports Betting Sites?

You will have several options when it comes time to get paid your winnings. Legal sports betting sites have reliable withdrawal methods that range in processing speed and payout limit. Bitcoin is the quickest way to receive your winnings, with funds reaching your wallet in as little as 4 hours depending on the sportsbook. There are never withdrawal fees when you request a bitcoin withdrawal.

Paper checks are also a trusted withdrawal method at online sportsbooks, with the cashier mailing you a check that can be cashed at your bank. Some sites require that the check is first deposited to your bank account before being withdrawn, and there may also be a fee to mail the check. Other withdrawal options include money orders, litecoin, and MoneyGram.

Are There Mobile Sports Betting Apps For USA Players?

All of the top legal sports betting websites now offer mobile sports betting apps. Being able to wager while on the go gives you more flexibility to bet on the sports you love. You will have access to nearly all of the same functions that you do from the desktop version, including making deposits, placing bets, and requesting your winnings. Live betting is also available on certain mobile betting apps.

Another perk to mobile sports betting is that the majority of sites do not require you to download an actual app. Instead of having to search through the GooglePlay Store or the Apple App Store, you can just visit the sports betting site from your phone to be redirected to the mobile-friendly sportsbook. Nearly every type of smartphone and tablet are compatible with mobile sports betting apps.

Can I Get In Trouble For Betting On Sports With My Friends?
If your state has laws that prohibit land-based sports betting, there could possibly be a provision against placing bets with your friends at the bar or at a game. There are a few states that do have social gambling laws, but it varies depending on where you reside. Even if its just with friends, the internet is the best option for legal sports betting in the United States. You can safely bet on sports with your friends online because there are no overarching laws that state otherwise. You and your friends can place as many bets as you’d like at an online sportsbook. In either scenario, there have not been any reported instances of law enforcement penalizing residents for placing bets on sports with their friends.
Is Betting With A Local Bookie Legal?

Betting with a local bookie is not only illegal, it is really a terrible idea. First of all, there is nothing you can do about it if your bookie decides not to pay you, unless you are ready to break his ankles or something. Second, they are comitting some serious crimes by taking illegal wagers, and you do not want to be any part of anything like that. There are plenty of legal online sports betting sites that players can use, including several with some really fast payouts, to where you just don’t need to take the risk of betting with local bookies.