A Look at United States Sports Betting Laws

There are several specific US federal laws that govern sports betting within the United States. Most states do not address sports betting at all in their gambling laws and statutes as the federal laws are all inclusive, and would supersede any laws passed at the state level anyhow. With the many changes that have been occurring in the USA regarding state based gambling and the launch of online gambling initiatives in several states, the gambling landscape has gotten a little bit confusing for most individuals who enjoy this type of entertainment. Take for example the state of New Jersey, which has passed legislation within the last several years to legalize sports betting for its residents. They were met with fierce opposition and challenged through a lawsuit that eventually stripped them of their options to pursue the possibility. This was all following the DOJ's public statement that individual states could determine their own fate when it comes to gambling. Contradictory and less-than-clear information simply muddies the waters and leaves sports bettors unsure about what is actually legal for them to participate in when it comes to regulated sports betting. This page is an effort to provide clear and concise information that provides clarity and helpful information for determining what options legally suit your needs and preferences as a sports bettor.

The UIGEA Bill and How it Affects Sports Betting Options in the United States

To be perfectly honest, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act doesn't really influence or affect sports betting a great deal. This law was passed in 2006, and was created to provide regulatory oversight on how online gambling transactions can be processed. The law is not specific to any one type of gambling venue, and does not prohibit US residents from participating in legally sanctioned online gambling that is regulated and located outside of the USA. It is not targeted at gamblers at all, but rather addresses gambling site operators and payment processors regarding their side of the business transactions. Of all the US gambling federal laws that are in place, the UIGEA probably has the least impact on sports betting out of all of them. This law was never intended to curtail online gambling, but rather to eliminate fraud, money laundering and other illegal financial practices from being supported through the online gambling sites. This laws has actually resulted in a safer and more secure financial environment throughout the online gambling industry, and has done some genuine good.

What is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act – PASPA?

This laws was passed in 1992, and effectively outlaws sports betting everywhere in the United States with the exception of Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. When the law was passed, it provided a one year grace period for any state that already had an existing gambling industry and that wanted to include sports betting in their line-up of offerings. The grace period was specifically extended with New Jersey in mind; however they did not take any steps to legalize sports betting within the one year allotted time frame. We're pretty sure they are regretting passing on the opportunity now as they have recently made efforts to change their status concerning sports betting. The PASPA law is applicable to US based sports betting only, and does not apply to legally licensed and regulated offshore sportsbooks that provide their services to US sports bettors. The PASPA federal law does not make it illegal for US residents to enjoy betting on sports from one of these legitimate offshore sportsbooks.

How Does the Federal Wire Act of 1962 Impact US Sports Betting Availability?

The Federal Wire Act was passed at a time when law enforcement was trying fiercely to curtail illegal mafia related bookmaking activities. Because these illegal operations were facilitated by wagers placed over the phone, the Federal Wire Act was the perfect vehicle by which to stop these gambling rings. This law prohibits any bets placed through telephone wires. The law has been interpreted to include Internet connections as well by the DOJ, and is currently being used to enforce a ban on US based Internet sports betting. This law is considered arguable as many feel this interpretation to be bogus and not the original intent of the law as the Internet was not even conceivable at the time. Despite the various positions by multiple parties, the fact remains that US based online sports betting is illegal and this is supported by the Federal Wire Act.

What is the Legal Gambling Age for Sports Betting in the United States?

This is the one legal aspect of sports betting in the US that is governed by state law. Those regions that can legally offer US based sportsbook wagering are free to determine their own legal minimum sports betting age, which is 21 in most cases. Those states which do not allow US based sports betting, which is the majority of them, can still determine a legal gambling age for their residents, which would apply also to any legal online sports betting that is done at licensed offshore sportsbooks.

Licensed Sportsbooks That are Regulated and Certified To Provide Sports Betting Services Online

The US federal sports betting laws discussed above combine to effectively ban any possibility of US based online or offline sports betting options other than those exceptions expressly made in the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. These laws, however, do not prohibit or criminalize US bettor participation at offshore sportsbooks that are legally licensed and certified to provide their wagering services to sports fans in the United States. These sports gambling destinations remain legally available for US residents to enjoy. The brands you see listed in this guide are all verified to fall into the category of legally sanctioned and regulated.

Bovada Sportsbook Is Regulated In Kahnawake