U.S Laws

Betting on Sports from U.S. Jurisdictions

Note and Opinion: To all US customers in regards to sports betting. We do not represent that it is legal to do so. Our site is an observation, interpretation and industry consensus that is not legally reviewed. We do not condone illegal gambling, but with no convictions of citizens or media – after 13 years of observation – it just seems not to be a top priority of the Federal DOJ or state law enforcement’s to enforce crimes amongst the people, just the gambling sites which usually simply results in a large monetary seizure for the government.

This is one of those instances that makes no sense to heavily prosecute aside from political influences on big money. The Feds make a ton of money off the seizures only at the expense of the sportsbook. Why shut down two profitable and harmless entities? I observed a statistical fact, people aren’t losing their house, if they’re losing, it’s because the other bettor is better, and the bookmaker charges a fee to “match” the bets. Paying the bookmaker a small fee in the amount of $10 (based on facts) a month is really how much people “lose” to sportsbetting sites in the form of a sportsbook fee. If someone can take a game and beat it thousands of times, I’d say that person is not lucky – they are good…

Quick Answer
Betting on American sports is against American Federal Law, unless stated otherwise by the State of residence.  The US Federal “Wire Act of 1961″ made it illegal.  The law was re-looked in 2012 due to its confusing nature to allow poker but not sports betting.  Despite all this betting sports online is hugely popular in the United States and being sought to do so online by states such as New Jersey.  Authorities do not arrest individual punters, only the bookie outfits – if they can find them. As the industry stands now, traditional style sports betting is being crapped on by the government to pave way for real money fantasy betting which has no ‘negative stigmatism’ and was outlined to specifically be legal in the 1961 wire act clarification….hmmm. How the world works…

In either case, I’ll touch a little on that down below but it’s really just to give you a summary, as what’s the point in writing a 5 page article that could be outdated by the time I finish. Here are some sites we suggest if you decide to bet from US land.

Most Recent Changes to Laws

In 2012 the US government changed the 1961 Wire Act to only apply to sports betting, and makes online poker clearly legal.  In 2013 various states such as Nevada and New Jersey are legalizing sport betting.  It actually wasn’t a recent change in law but the actual enforcement of a 2006 and 1961 law (which was changed in 2012) against online gaming that really changed the landscape. What happened was the US government attacked the largest gambling sites they could find such as Poker Stars, Bookmaker, Bodog, BetDSI and a bunch more. They successfully seized the dot-com domain names of these websites forcing players and operators to change their name.

Example:  Type in Bodog.com.  You will see an FBI warning only to have the company operating under a new domain, www.Bovada.lv and securing all funds safely which according to a recent study is the safest book to bet at within the US.  Needless to say the US Federal Government can not win this battle but instead run a “Scare” tactic against US bettors.

As for poker sites, many bowed and gave up but the sportsbooks simply changed their domain names to end in .ag, .lv. .com.pa where the domains are held outside of the FBI and are licensed to run legal gambling sites within the domain extensions. Other endings you’ll see now are .eu and .co.uk. As of today the sites are running business as usual except for those who made a deal with the US to get their domains back. Basically all US sports betting websites did not make a deal with the US and simply changed their domain.  The weird extensions may scare away some potential customers, but our statistics show the people don’t care.

As you can see in this chart below, sports betting terms searched in Google is slowly decreasing, but I believe due to recent legalization of internet poker that this will create a positive awareness to sports betting online. If you want to get into betting on sports here are some good handicapping sites we use.


To The Point

Ok, so what the US currently has at the time of writing this article (and I’ll try and update it during major changes) is a strong view against online betting on sports but now that online poker is becoming legal. Despite laws that try and forbid offshore gambling websites from accepting funds from players in the USA, nothing has stopped them in the 15 years they’ve been trying. Actually it wasn’t until 2006 until any “laws” were really brought out into the public eyes and ever since then the US government has been trying to put out a fire with a sprinkler hose. The American people are simply doing what they are programmed to do, and that’s feeling privileged to the personal freedom and right to do what they want with their lives.

While there are different forms of gambling, all are not treated equal. We have sports betting, casino gambling, and the oh so popular poker games you see running non-stop on television. What’s ironic is out of the three, sports betting which probably requires the most research and talent to be considered a sport and have a winning edge is actually the most frowned upon by the US government. You see, we wouldn’t want our favorite sports to be corrupt the online bookies now would we, although all the other countries seem to be fine. Oh, and don’t forget you can still fly to Las Vegas and Atlantic City and spend your money just as easily as you would on the internet. As you can see there is a large base of corruption that keeps online sports betting from being “non-grey” to squeaky clean.

Poker and its Legality

Now we’re moving onto poker websites specifically on the internet. This at one time was the fastest growing game on the internet, but due to large government seizures of funds and the power of the US DOJ to scare a lot of payment processors from doing business with poker sites, it’s become more and more difficult for the average Joe Blow to spend a few bucks playing a game of Texas Holdem on the internet. Online poker betting in the US has consolidated to a few major offshore sites that still accept US players because they can afford to loose a few million here and there to payment processor being seized while making sure you will always get your money.

Either way, the game is still flourishing and there are laws to make it legal on a state-by-state basis.  As updated above, in early 2012 the United States amended their laws to allow for online poker with licenses portals. Currently, there are three (3) states with legal state online poker; Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. We cover this in extent at pokerwebsites.com, our sister poker informational site about state laws.

Online Casinos and Legality

Lastly we have the US accepted online casinos. The big name casinos that stuck it out after the 2006 Law made billions of dollars, and because of that continue to flourish to this day. They also suffer from difficulty depositing from a player perspective but I still hear of thousands and thousands of people playing every day. It’s the same story, the US seizes a processor, and another one pops up. It’s not until the United States finally comes to its senses and realizes that online betting is here to stay, might as well make some money off it instead of letting it all go overseas, oh yea and the people’s freedoms to do what they please with their money is pretty important!

I hope this article gives you a little information about US online betting and our current situations we face in the US as gamblers. Please remember to gamble responsible and legally where allowed. If you feel you have a problem visit the gamblers anonymous q & a section of their site.