Sports Betting Laws In The United States

Sports Betting Laws In The United States

Sports betting laws in the United States are fairly straightforward. Generally, they only impact people that want to operate and run sportsbooks, not people that want to use them. There are three major laws that you have to know about if you want to bet on sports in the US. These laws are The Wire Act, the UIGEA and PASPA. PASPA is no longer in effect, and that change was one of the most important developments in sports betting in the modern era.

This page will cover each of the federal laws,complete with an overview and other analysis. We’ll cover the sportsbooks you can use as well as the sportsbooks that you cannot. Let’s get started!

The Federal Wire Act of 1961

  • Q: What Does The Federal Wire Act Do?
  • A: The Wire Act limits the amount of illegal betting operations that can operate in the United States. It does this by limiting the use of wire communication devices to transmit information related to sports betting.
  • Q: Why Was The Wire Act Enacted?
  • A: Sports betting has often had some unfortunate associations with organized crime. This led to laws like The Wire Act – these kind of laws were targeted at mafia families running sportsbooks and racketeering.
  • Q: What Does The Federal Wire Act Say You Can’t Do?
  • A: Fundamentally, it prevents the use of wire communication devices – including the internet – to transmit sports betting information across state lines. This is why you can’t use Vegas sportsbooks over the internet. It’s also why the major online sportsbooks are offshore – they’re not in the US, and not affected by this law.
  • Q: Does This Allow For Online Sportsbooks?
  • A: Yes. The Wire Act allows for online sportsbooks in the context that it does not cover places outside of the jurisdiction of the United States. This means that the major online sportsbooks are located offshore.

PASPA - Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992

  • Q: Does PASPA Affect Players?
  • A: No. PASPA is no longer in effect, and thus does not affect any players at the moment. The Supreme Court overturned it in 2018.
  • Q: When Was PASPA Passed?
  • A: PASPA was passed in 1992. It was a ban on sports betting in 46 different states. It was overturned in 2018.
  • Q: What Did PASPA Do?
  • A: PASPA prevented sports betting operations in 46 states. The exceptions were Oregon, Montana, Delaware and Nevada. These sports betting operations were given exceptions to the rule, which is now no longer in effect.

UIGEA - Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

  • Q: Does The UIGEA Impact Players?
  • A: Rarely. The UIGEA impacts players in the sense that certain payout methods can be flagged as gambling related and denied. This mostly impacts credit and debit cards, and does not carry legal repercussions. There are some other issues, but most of them are not ones that impact players.
  • Q: Why Does The UIGEA Exist?
  • A: The UIGEA was passed as a part of a different act, the Safe Port act. It exists to target online gambling in a more modern context – although since it was passed in 2006, it’s been a while since it was actually all that modern.
  • Q: What Does The UIGEA Do?
  • A: The UIGEA prevents you from moving money around for the purposes of gambling. This applies mostly to banks, which are obligated to stop transactions that they flag as related to gambling.
  • Q: Does The Uigea Ban Online Sports Betting?
  • A: Nope. The UIGEA simply makes it a bit harder to get your money into and out of online sportsbooks, but doesn’t accomplish much more than that.

State Sports Betting Laws

Sports betting laws in individual states are varied, since the repeal of PASPA by the Supreme Court in 2018 meant that individual states now had control over whether they wanted to allow sports betting. There are a ton of different ways that sports betting gets legalized in these states. Some states have restrictions on in-person wagering, some states have no online sportsbooks that are state-regulated, and some states have everything you could ever want.

In nearly every state, some things remain true – you are not breaking the law by wagering on sports at a reputable online sportsbook, and the offshore sportsbooks are legal and available to use.

If you have made it this far, you are probably itching to sign up at one of the best online sportsbook for US players. The sports betting laws in the USA are easy to understand once the complicated legal language is deciphered. We have played at all the leading sports betting sites in order to show you which ones cut the mustard. There are plenty of mediocre sites out there that claim to offer astounding benefits. Quite a few of them don’t hold up their end of the bargain. We have saved you a major headache by doing the in-depth research that is involved in picking a great site.


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