U.S. Sports Betting Laws + Statutes

Sports betting and online sports betting in the United States isn't something that is free from laws and limitations. In fact, laws relating to sports betting are a central theme when it comes to the topic. That's because there is regulation at the federal and state levels that affect what can and can't be done from the standpoint of wagering on sports both on land and on the Internet.

These laws limit what can be done in the U.S., but contrary to popular belief it does not outlaw the practice entirely, especially when it comes to online sports betting. LegalOnlineSportsBetting.com is here to provide the details regarding the finer points of the most important laws facing sports betting today. Among the information you will find includes what laws have been formed, what these laws state, and the implications of those laws for sports bettors.

Important Laws To Know WHen Betting Sports Online or In-Person

From the federal standpoint there are three laws that bettors should concern themselves when faced with the question, "Is It Legal To Bet Sports Online?" These are the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the Federal Wire Act, and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)

The UIGEA was passed and instituted into law back in 2006. This law was passed as part of an attachment to a law known as the Safe Port Act. Your first question might be what the Safe Port Act has to do with sports betting? The answer is nothing. The UIGEA was added to this popular bill relating to the protection of ports because lawmakers knew that it would be passed with little opposition. The end result was the UIGEA went into effect and targeted gambling websites in the United States.

The UIGEA singles out gambling businesses operating websites and does not allow for them to accept money knowingly for the use of a bet that is made, or process any type of money wager. This essentially prevents the betting site from operating because it can't accept electronic deposits for the purpose of betting. What's still important though is that while gambling sites were forced to shut down, bettors who place the wagers were not in violation of the law. This left room for offshore sports betting sites to pop up and fill the void left behind by the sites in the U.S. that were shut down. These sites are legal for Americans to gamble with, and many accept U.S. bettors.

Federal Wire Act

The Wire Act goes back a long time, to the 1960's actually. Though its purpose today is much different than the money laundering through gambling it tried to stop during the Kennedy Administration, specifically relating to organized crime.

The Wire Act now only relates to betting on sports which was decided in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2011. The Wire Act and the UIGEA are in the same realm of law because they both target the business, leaving the bettors safe but out of luck when it concerns the ability to make a wager at a website based inside the United States. To do this, the Wire Act prohibited the use of wire communications from being used as means to help facilitate the actual placing of a wager. The penalties for this are very steep and no regulated bookmaker operating on U.S. soil will dare to violate it which creates the need for Americans to turn to offshore betting websites.

Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act

This Act was passed back in 1992 by the federal government banning sports betting in the majority of the United States at land-based sites. PASPA wasn't a complete shutdown of the practice from a land-based perspective though. There were caveats to the legislation. This included providing states the chance to apply for immunity if requirements were met. This included a 10-year history of licensed gaming, and a one-year window in which to formally apply.

By the one year timeframe, just four states had applied and been granted the immunity. Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon are the four states. Two of those states in Oregon and Montana do not have active land-based sports betting currently. Only Nevada and Delaware have legal sports betting. Of the two, Delaware can only offer parlay NFL betting during the season, whereas Nevada has the freedom to offer every type of bet covering every sport. Betting on sporting events is a huge revenue generator for the state. Even in Delaware it's been growing and expanding as well.

Land-based sports betting continues to be very limited on the whole though, with many states still abiding under PASPA having it banned.

State Based Laws That Affect Sports Betting Online + On Land

The room for state laws to impose other legislation is always there. One of the biggest state laws are the gambling ages required to use any of the sportsbooks that accept US players. Gambling age is decided at the state and not federally. Outside of the legal age to gamble, various other laws can be formed.

For specific laws relating to sports betting in your state it's best to consult your local governing regulations or an attorney in your area as they will have the information on any ordinances relating to it.

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