Sports Betting Laws In The United States

Many US payers confess to a deep interest in sports betting, but are unsure of their legal rights concerning it. Luckily, the sports betting laws in the USA are very easy to understand once the convoluted legal language is deciphered. There are three major laws that affect sports betting, the Wire Act, the UIGEA, and the PASPA. These are not evil doctrines meant to take away your rights, they leave many avenues open for sports betting fans.

This page will explain each federal law in an easy-to-read way, as well as give an overview of the state laws. We will also explain why legal online sportsbooks for USA players are safe to use, and review one of the top sites functioning today.

There are 3 major laws in place that we are going to talk about on this page and they are The Federal Wire Act, PASPA, and UIGEA. We will explain these

The Federal Wire Act of 1961

Q: Does The Federal Wire Act Of 1961 target players?

A: None of the laws that regulate online sports betting attempt to stop the player from using a site. The Wire act is in place to limit the amount of criminal betting operations in the states by requiring online sportsbooks to function overseas.

Q: Why was The Federal Wire Act Of 1961 passed?

A: The Wire Act was the first major law to affect sports betting. During the early 20th century, organized crime was poisoning betting culture. The Wire Act cut off one of the main sources used by mobsters for racketeering, and therefore made betting much safer.

Q: What Does the Federal Wire Act specifically forbid?

A: The Wire Act prevents bookmakers from using “wire communication devices” (later ruled to include the internet) to transmit information related to sports betting across state lines. This is why you will not find any online sportsbooks operating out of Las Vegas that serve residents of other states, but this leaves plenty of options open for intrepid sports fans, as there are offshore sites that offer the best legal online sportsbooks for USA residents.

Q: How are legal online sportsbooks in compliance with the Wire Act?

A: As long as the website facility is not located in the US, it is outside federal jurisdiction and the Wire Act doesn’t affect it. The legal US online sportsbooks that we review all function outside of the country, and are therefore safe to use.

Q: Was there any major fallout from The Federal Wire Act Of 1961?

A: The impact of the Wire Act was twofold. The Act plays a huge part in limiting trafficking by organized crime. On the other end of the spectrum, the Act limits the amount of online sports betting venues in the states, but this poses no problem to any sports fan with an internet connection.

PASPA - Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992

Q: Does the PASPA target players?

A: The PASPA’s does not intend to limit citizens from betting on sports. That being the case, it does limit land-based sports betting events to four states, Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon, however, it’s important to know that the PASPA only attacks the bookmaker, never the bettor.

Q: When was PASPA passed?

A: The PASPA passed in 1992, after a Senate Judiciary Committee on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks held hearings on S.B. 474. The Committee agreed that sports betting was a national problem.

Q: What does PASPA specifically forbid?

A: The PASPA only forbids land-based sports betting from taking place in 46 of the 50 states, with Oregon, Montana, Delaware and Nevada being exceptions. This law makes it impossible to operate a sportsbook in the US, but overseas legal online sportsbooks that accept US players are safely outside of the law’s jurisdiction, and are safe to use.

Q: How are legal online sportsbooks in compliance with the PASPA?

A: The legal online sports betting sites for US residents are all outside of the country. Since this puts them outside of US jurisdiction, there is no law against using these sites in the PASPA or any other sports betting act.

Q: Who lobbied for PASPA to be passed in the first place?

A: The law was a joint venture between the Senate Judiciary Committee and David Stern, commissioner for the National Basketball Association. Stern’s testimony regarding the interstate ramifications of sports betting was a major factor in the law’s creation.

UIGEA - Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

Q: Does the UIGEA target players?

A: The Unlawful Internet Gambling Act (UIGEA) only limits the types of payout methods offered by legal USA sports betting sites. This means that players are never targeted by the act, only the websites are. Withdrawals cannot go directly on to a credit card, so the sites offer safe payout methods such as check by mail, and bank wire transfers.

Q: Why was the UIGEA passed?

A: In order for the Safe Port Act to pass through congress, the UIGEA was tacked on hastily at the end of the deliberations. It was a prime example of what is called “pork barreling” in the senate, and the policy has affected many businesses since then. The law prohibits wagering establishments from accepting certain forms of payments.

Q: What does the UIGEA specifically forbid?

A: The UIGEA only limits electronic fund transfers when collecting payouts from any of the legal USA online sportsbooks. This doesn’t impair players from receiving their winnings, it only takes a little longer than it would by having the money go straight into a credit/debit account.

Q: How are legal online sportsbooks in compliance with the UIGEA?

A: As long as the sportsbook doesn’t payout directly to a members credit/debit account, they are functioning legitimately. The legal online sportsbooks that accept US residents use various payout methods such as a bank wire transfer, or a check in the mail.

Q: Does the UIGEA ban online sports betting?

A: No, it does not. The UIGEA only affects payout methods. The title of the bill is scarier than the actual language that is in it.

State Sports Betting Laws

State-to-state sports wagering laws comply with the federal policies. For instance, the PASPA only allows land-based sports betting events in Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon, so there are not going to be any on-land sportsbooks in any other state. The UIGEA and the Wire Act do not factor in to state laws, and citizens from every corner of the nation can use the many legal USA sports betting sites safely.

We have dedicated law pages on this site that will explain more about the individual state laws, as well as the federal policy. Check out those pages to learn more about the world of sports betting in our current age.

Facts About The Best USA Sportsbooks + Sports Betting In The United States

  • None of the sports betting laws in the USA make it illegal to bet on sports online
  • There are dozens of countries all over the world that have regulated sportsbooks
  • All of the sportsbooks that accept US players are licensed in another country
  • You are not breaking any laws by betting on sports online if the sportsbook is located offshore

Online Sportsbooks are Legal and Safe for USA Players

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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