Most sports bettors in the United States understand that finding high quality, legal betting options is half the battle. Resourceful gamblers recognize the value of a single destination that not only provides recommendations for legally participating in sportsbook wagering, but that also provides insightful and current information that helps us to understand the legalities and specific laws that govern this industry and the options that are available. This guide is one of those pieces to the pie that brings the full flavor forward.
Best Legally Licensed Sportsbooks
Open To USA Players In 2018
The following is a compilation of the most trusted USA online sportsbooks that are legally licensed to provide their services to bettors in the United States. Each of these sites has been carefully evaluated by trained experts and has been verified to be operating legally within the industry, in possession of legitimate licensing, compliance certifications and regulated by a respected governing body. They each are also high-quality operations that deliver the optimal sports betting experience.
Legal FAQ's Related To Sports Betting In The US
Is Online Sports Betting Legal In The United States?
There are different laws that apply to different types of online betting. In the United States, state and/or federal laws apply differently to online lottery ticket sales than they do to placing a bet on your favorite NFL or MLB team. And while there is currently not one single piece of legislation found anywhere on the law books which hinders or otherwise takes away your individual, personal right to place a wager on a sporting event or contest as a citizen of the USA, there are stringent sports betting laws which can be applied to any US-based website that markets online sports betting to US residents.
So to summarize, as long as you are betting with a sportsbook that is licensed offshore outside of the US borders, then betting on sports is 100% legal. And all of the sites we recommend are in fact licensed and regulated abroad, so you can feel confident that you are staying within the legal lines of sports wagering in America. There aren't any US based online sportsbooks anyways with the exception of the State regulated sites located in Nevada and New Jersey, both of which can only operate within state lines.
Laws That Impact Sports Betting In The United States
What entails legal online sports betting? In every country, the answer could be different. Currently, in most of the United Kingdom, wagering on your favorite sports teams over the Internet is not only legal, its one of the biggest cash producing industries for many countries.
In the United States, there are several pieces of legislation which frown upon online gambling of most kinds, especially sports betting. This has to do with the history of organized crime in the USA, as well as a lot of other reasons. However, in 1920 America saw the outlaw of the manufacture, transport, and sale of alcoholic beverages. Yet now, companies can make, sell and ship alcoholic beverages in the U.S., so laws can definitely change when the public desires them to.
Currently, in the United States of America, legal USA online betting is undergoing a metamorphosis. As early as 2011, the Department of Justice decried all Internet gambling as illegal. But late that year, certain forms of wagering via the World Wide Web and the Internet were deemed as acceptable by the very same DOJ that interpreted the Federal Wire Act of 1961 in a way that they never had before.
Now there are states in the US which legally deliver state-based online poker and/or casino gaming options for real money. Can legal online sports betting offered by American-based companies be far-off? It is already legally provided by offshore, non-US bookmakers. We will frequently update this section of our website to keep you informed about your legal Internet sports betting options, and any developments regarding USA sports betting laws which relate to this sensitive legal issue in the US, so check back often.
Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act or UIGEA
This is the only major piece of online gambling legislation which actually identifies the Internet in its title. When this legislation was passed back in 2006, PartyGaming, the owner of PartyPoker.com, saw its publicly traded stock drop nearly 60% in 24 hours. In April 2011, on a day known as Black Friday, this legislation was used by the United States Attorney in New York to shut down the three largest Internet poker companies that accept US players. PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker had all player accounts frozen, which directly affected millions of Americans. And it covers sports wagering as well.
On the sports betting side of this legislation, a November 2002 US Federal Court opinion upheld that US-based online sports betting was made illegal by the UIGEA due to the regulations issued concerning gambling related transactions. But Lawmakers in the state of New Jersey disagreed and legalized online sports betting, although the feds moved in and stopped the New Jersey online sports betting industry before it got started. All past, present and future applications of UIGEA as it applies to the Internet sports betting industry are covered here. UIGEA
Interstate Wire Act of 1961 or Federal Wire Act
This is a United States federal law which prohibits the operation and management of some types of gambling businesses across state lines in the United States. Most commonly referred to as the Federal Wire Act, this piece of legislation consistently refers to "wire communication facility", "transmission of wire communication" and "information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers". The basic nature of this US law which was created in 1961 was aimed at policing the powerful organized crime syndicates.
Illegal bets and wagers were sent and received over wire telegraph and other wired communications means, and this law looked to end these criminal operations. While this still has applications to today's sports betting industry in the US, it is slowly losing a lot of its power. In 2011, the DOJ stated that this should only apply to sports betting, further bolstering the movement of significant online sportsbook operations to outside of the United States. Federal Wire Act Of 1961
PASPA or The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992
Just about the time the Internet and the World Wide Web were becoming mainstream, PASPA was introduced. Sometimes known as the Bradley Act, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was developed because Congress decided that "... sports gambling is a national problem. The harms it inflicts are felt beyond the borders of those States that sanction it."
PASPA was repealed in 2018 after the US Supreme Court declared the ban unconstitutional. Once PASPA was ruled out, US states were given the right to enact their own domestic sports betting laws. However, at this time they still have to abide by the Federal Wire Act and the UIGEA.
List Of States That Offer Legal Online Sports Betting
Our state section offers detailed information on each state regarding any laws that pertain to online sports betting. We will cover which states currently offer regulated sports betting, and for those that do not, we will guide players to where you can bet on sports legally if you live in a particular state. We will also offer interesting tidbits about each particular state, popular sports teams to bet on and much more.