Laws Regulating Sports Betting in the U.S.

Sports betting is a lucrative industry that brings in billions and billions of dollars annually. Many people think that by participating in sports betting in the US, they are somehow breaking the law. I’m here to tell you that’s not true. Although there are laws in the United States that prevent sportsbooks from operating in most states, that does not mean that it is against the law for an individual to place a bet. There are plenty of legal avenues to place your picks, and this page will tell you about some of them. It will go into detail about three of the major laws that pertain to sports betting sites in the US. It will also explain the conflict between state and federal law, and most importantly, why you will not get in trouble for playing the odds.

Is Sports Betting Legal In The United States?

Yes, sports betting is legal in the United States, although there are several laws in place that make it difficult to participate in. Because of federal law, you will not find any land-based sportsbook unless you live in Nevada or Delaware. Anyone from any state can go to Nevada or Delaware to bet on sports, but most people do not have the time or money to do that every time their favorite teams are playing. You’re not out of luck, though. There are a whole bunch of legal online sports betting sites that function outside of the United States, and thus do not have to follow US law. Don’t let the fact that these sites operate overseas deter you. Trust me, they are completely legal and safe, used by millions of people all across the world, including the US.

Best Legal Sportsbooks

If you have been searching for a legal sports betting site but have come up empty-handed, you can stop looking. We have tried out every sportsbook under the sun. There are a few great ones that we have complete faith in. These sites function outside the US, so they are in compliance with the law. You will not find safer, more reputable sites than the ones that we recommend. So take it from us: these online sportsbooks are the bee’s knees!

  • Bovada Sportsbook
  • 50% up to $250 First Deposit Bonus

For over twenty years, sportsbook numero uno has been Bovada! It has a great selection of games and sports to wager on, plus easy deposit and payout methods from some of the most trusted money transfer services. When sports bettors want to wager on a particular game, they always go to Bovada, because they are usually the first bookmaker to post the odds, which are much more accurate than other sites. Bovada also has the best sportsbook bonuses, customer service, and extra features. The accolades, licenses, and certificates can assure you that Bovada is a legal and safe US sports betting site.

Bovada has a reputation of perfection in the world of online sportsbooks. It operates out of Quebec and has a license issued by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. It also is the recipient of the Kahnawake Certificate of Good Standing, an award which is given only to the finest gaming establishments in Canada. Bovada works very hard to make sure that its millions of members are satisfied on a daily basis. The fact that it operates outside of the United States means that you will not get into any legal trouble. So what are you waiting for? Join Bovada today take a ride on the money train!

  • 5Dimes Sportsbook
  • 50% up to $520 For New Players!

Online sportsbooks are a dime a dozen these days. There are so many new ones popping up that it can be a bit perplexing trying to figure out which are legit. We’re here to deliver the good news: 5Dimes is a legal US sportsbook that you can trust. It is packed with all the features you want, including sportsbook deposits, bonuses, live in-game play, and mobile betting. You can trust 5Dimes with your life, because it is legal and safe.

5Dimes is a fully licensed site that operates out of Costa Rica. Since it operates outside of the US, it does not have to abide by US law. There is no way the average bettor will ever get in any legal trouble for using the site, because all of the laws that govern sports betting target the stateside bookmakers, not the players. As long as you are old enough to bet in your state, you are free to join 5Dimes and start your winning streak. You will be rolling in dough in no time at all!

Is Sports Betting Safe In The United States?

Yes, sports betting is safe in the United States. You will not have any problems whatsoever. I’ve already explained that overseas sites function legally. Beyond that, though, they are well-established sites with stellar reputations. The best sportsbook sites that we recommend always treat their members fairly, paying out in full and on time, every time. These online sportsbooks also are invulnerable to intrusion from cyber hackers who want to get at your personal information. If you’ve ever heard of encryption but aren’t sure what it is, it’s a way of coding sensitive information so that it appears unreadable to unauthorized users. Most of the sites that we like have cyber security teams that are constantly coming up with new safety measures.

What Are The Laws That Pertain To Sports Betting In The US?

All of the laws in the United States that apply to sports betting have the same basic function: to prevent organized crime. These laws do not target individuals for making bets. Rather, they target underground bookmakers for taking bets. There is big money in sports betting, and ever since the mid-20th century, organized crime syndicates have gained a major foothold. Unfortunately, it is debatable whether these laws have worked. Some critics say that unlawful bookmaking has not disappeared, it’s just gone underground. Whatever the laws’ intentions, the end result is that it is more difficult for the average person to find a safe, legal sports betting site. Let’s look a little deeper into the history of these laws.

The Wire Act

In 1961, Congress passed this law. The purpose of the Wire Act was to prevent the transmission of information related to wagering across state lines using a wire communications facility. This law has undergone several amendments over the last few decades. Politicians are still fighting over the law even today, with lawmakers attempting to restore the act to its original language and intent. This attempt to roll back the Wire Act is known as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. It has been heavily criticized, however, and probably will die in Congress.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)

The second and most important law that applies to sports betting is PASPA. It is the main reason why sportsbooks have to operate outside of the US in order to comply with the law. The only two states that are exempt from PASPA are Nevada and Delaware. It is quite possible, however, that in the future we may witness the death of PASPA. New Jersey lawmakers recently fought the bill in Congress. Although they lost, they did bring national attention to an issue that few Americans know very much about. The times may indeed be changing, and there may come a day when we will see sportsbooks in every state. That day may be decades away, unfortunately. In the meantime, there are plenty of great legal sports betting sites for US players.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement act (UIGEA)

The third and perhaps most controversial law is the UIGEA. It affects the transfer of money from one site to another. This law only deals with the sites we suggest in one way: under UIGEA regulations, you cannot use a credit or debit card to make a withdrawal. That’s it. Do not fret, because there are plenty of other legal, safe ways to make a sportsbook payout. The reason the UIGEA is so controversial is because it was pushed through Congress without being read first, a last-minute addendum to the Safe Port Act, a completely unrelated law. Many critics say the UIGEA is unfair and unconstitutional. Either way, it doesn’t stop you from using a reputable overseas bookmaker.

What State Laws Affect Sports Betting?

Although federal law affects sports betting more than state sanctions, each state does have its own statutes regarding wagering. Some states refer explicitly to sports betting, and some are completely silent on the issue. Even the states that do include language pertaining to it are only after underground bookmakers, not individuals. And that’s the bottom line: state law doesn’t punish people who place bets, but rather the bookmakers who take bets. The point of the law is to prevent anyone from operating a bookmaking business in their jurisdiction.

There is one other way state laws affect sports betting, and it has to do with the legal betting age. Each state has its own age laws. It’s always somewhere between 18 and 21, although there are a few states that do not have any age laws, and a few that use vague language that puts the legal betting “somewhere between 18 and 21.” In these cases, look at how old the sportsbook says you need to be. As long as you just use your best judgement and do not obviously break any laws, you will have nothing to worry about. Which leads us to our last section.

Is There Any Way I Will Get In Trouble For Betting On Sports?

No. I can’t stress this enough. Sports betting is legal, it is safe, and it is secure. There is absolutely no reason for the authorities to come after you unless you are engaged in some seriously shady business. Millions and millions of people play the odds every day at online sports betting sites, and none of them has ever gotten in trouble for it. As long as you use your head and make sure you are old enough, no harm will come to you. At the end of the day, the government does not care if you won a few bucks betting on the Super Bowl. They have more important things to worry about, like prosecuting serious criminals.

  • 5Dimes
  • 50% up to $520 For New Players!
  • Bovada
  • 50% up to $250 First Deposit Bonus
  • BetOnline
  • Start With a 50% Bonus up to $1000!
  • SportsBetting
  • 50% up to $1000 Welcome Bonus!