U.S. Sports Betting Laws + Statutes
Betting sports online in the U.S. is legal, as are certain states to bet sports at a licensed land-based sportsbooks. The opportunity to make a wager on a sporting event is limited in the United States but to use the term illegal, or against the law would not be correct. There are many more people who choose to bet online than at land-based sportsbooks because the opportunity to do so it much easier and far more accessible.
But this page is about sports betting laws in the United States, and understanding what they allow to happen and at the same time what they do not allow to happen. There are laws that relate specifically to online betting, and there are laws that relate specifically to land-based sports betting. Each is addressed along with implications and other important factors LegalSportsbooks.net believes should be brought to the front of the lines.
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
The UIGEA is a law that covers online gambling at USA websites. Essentially, the UIGEA does not allow for the operation of an online gambling site to be run in the U.S. This obviously covers sports betting. The way it works is by prevents the business operating the site from taking real-money wagers and process them knowingly. In other words, the act of sports betting and online gambling isn't illegal, but it is illegal for the online gambling site to knowingly accept the funds made for a wager. It's illegal in a roundabout way, but it's also a catalyst for legal online sports betting at sites operating outside of the U.S.
Federal Wire Act of 1961
The wire act is the oldest of the main gambling laws in the U.S. However, there are new developments in the jurisdiction of the wire act. Specifically, the law now applies only to sports betting, which stems from a 2011 U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that was handed down.
The original intent of the wire act was to curtail organized crime. In fact, the Wire Act dates back to 1961. But then here we see 50 years later the law being changed or altered to adjust to the times, cutting off means for sports betting businesses to operate. Like the UIGEA, the Wire Act only applies to betting businesses, once again leaving the individual bettor out of the mix, and allowing for offshore sports betting sites to come into play.
Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act
PASPA is a sports betting law that actually directly targets the practice of sports betting. It was passed in 1992, and banned sports betting from being legal in every state but four. These states were not chosen at random, they actually applied to be grandfathered in under the law. Certain requirements from PASPA were met in order for this to happen. As you can imagine, one of those states was Nevada. The other three are Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. Of the four states, Nevada and Delaware have legal sports betting up and running today, though in Nevada it's on a grand scale in comparison to its east-coast counterpart.
Online Sports Betting Laws For Individual U.S. States
Most states choose to defer to the federal regulations in place, but there are state laws that can come into play for sports betting. For instance, the betting age is something that is stipulated at the state level. But more specific than that is the potential for states to pass and regulate sports betting and online sports betting even further. Currently, federal laws cannot shutdown offshore sports betting as long as the operators of the websites abide by the laws + regulations set forth by the country where they operate. States have the power to pass their own laws that would ban that.
What Is The Legal Sports Betting Age In The U.S.? In My State?
The legal age to bet sports is determined by your state. The betting ages are back and forth at 18 and 21. Most states have the age set at 21, but there are some where 18 is legal to bet. It's important that you know the legal age to bet in your state before partaking in any activities related to the practice.
Online sportsbooks typically set their own betting age, but often times they also defer to a local age if it higher. Some offshore sportsbooks choose to disregard that, and set the age at 18 years old. 5Dimes Sportsbook is an example of this, based out of Costa Rica.
Can I Get Into Trouble Or Go To Jail For Betting At An Offshore Sportsbook?
As long as you are of legal age to bet sports, then wagering at an online sportsbook based offshore is legal. Bettors can deposit real money, bet real money, and win real money.
The only one of the sports betting laws that could send you to jail would be the illegal operation of an unregulated bookmaking venture on U.S. soil whether it be online or in-person. Even if you are caught betting underage jail is unlikely so you can really only go wrong if you become a bonehead and think you can make money by taking bets online.
Are Offshore Sportsbooks Legit? Can I Trust Sports Betting Sites With My Money?
The online sportsbooks that you find throughout this site are very legit. In fact many names you might recognize. If you have ever watched ESPN or SportsCenter then sports betting sites are often quoted with the latest game odds, especially when it comes to football and boxing.
Look below to see the sports betting websites we trust with our money when it comes time to lay our money down when putting our weekly picks in - you can trust these sportsbooks.