Federal Sports Betting Statutes

Ever since the early 60's, the days when organized crime was rampant, there has been much confusion over the federal laws that touch on gambling in the United States. Many of these laws were created as a response to the ever-growing corruption involved with the wagering industry. Additionally, while many of these regulations are outdated, they still target the same elements; the criminals, not the average bettors.

We're here to help clear up a lot of the confusion that lingers over this subject in hopes of letting you not only breathe easier about picking up a sports betting hobby, but to make it even more fun for you. Wagering stress-free is the name of the game, and you will feel relieved to know that you have many safe options even with the laws that exist today.

Can I Get Into Trouble For Using Sports Betting Sites?

The first and most important thing to understand when it comes to legality issues facing online sportsbooks for U.S. residents is that it is not illegal to use them. No law has ever been passed or interpreted to prevent honest American citizens from making wagers on any sports events, no matter how large or how small. The confusion comes from the fact that there are in fact laws in place that prevent the facilitation of sports betting, meaning any bookmakers or business owners that would stand to profit from sports betting without actually placing any wagers would be able to be legally prosecuted, but the bettor, no matter how casual or serious is free to participate in his hobby free from any fear of legal repercussions.

Learn More: Is Sports Betting Legal For US Residents?

Federal Laws for Sports Betting
The Federal Wire Act of 1961

Efforts to crack down on sports betting from a legal perspective really began in 1961 with the Federal Wire Act. As mentioned earlier, this was a law written with the intention to bust up the prominent underground racketeering rings that were happening throughout the United States, and passing a law like this was seen as the easiest way to go about outlawing them. What this law states is that it is unlawful to use a state or private wiring facility to wire money or information related to sports betting. Again, it's important to understand that the intent of this law is to go after the bookmakers, and that the federal government has no interest in going after the bettor. Rest assured that the best betting sites for U.S. residents know exactly how to work around this law, and that as long as you follow their instructions for deposits and withdrawals (mentioned here) not only will you be at no risk of legal prosecution, your money will remain completely safe.

Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act

The second law to drastically affect the sports betting climate was the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) passed in 1992. This law picks up where the Wire Act left off by declaring that not only is it illegal to transfer money related to sports betting across state lines, it is flat out illegal to host sports betting. As of the publication of this webpage, the only states exempt from PASPA are Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. (For more detailed information on betting laws in these states, check here.) As a result of this law, not only is it illegal for agencies and bookmakers to transfer funds related to sports betting across state lines, it is illegal for them to host sports betting altogether. Just like the Federal Wire Act, this law applies strictly to the facilitators of sports betting, and not to bettors themselves. You'll notice that all these good, U.S. friendly online sportsbooks we recommend are based on foreign territories, thereby already working around the regulations of PASPA.

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 was the federal government’s reaction to the plethora of unregulated wagering sites that were proliferating in the mid-2000’s. This law was really targeting poker sites, so it doesn’t really involve itself with sportsbooks. Additionally, the sites that you will be using are all located overseas which place them out of the jurisdiction of most US laws. The only way that the UIGEA affects these sites is that it restricts the kinds of payments that can be sent back in to the US.

You will find a plethora of withdrawal options at a legal US sportsbook; however, one of the methods you will never see is by credit/debit card. This is because the UIGEA restricts them, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t collect your winnings. Quite the contrary, you have plenty of safe, legal, and fast options to choose from. This is the only way that the UIGEA will affect you, so in essence it doesn’t really affect you at all.

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Best Legal Online Sportsbooks For USA Players

There is plenty to keep in mind when seeking out an online legal US sportsbooks, so we will save you some headaches by showing you the most reputable, legal, and powerful ones out there right now. Most of these sites have been going strong for a decade or more, and they have each amassed a loyal following of US sports fans. They all operate overseas, and are not subject to US federal laws. You can join any of these sites as long as they accept residents of your state and you are old enough. So find your new favorite sportsbook today, and make the games more exciting.

Bovada Sportsbook - Top Legal Sportsbook in the USA

If it's legality and legitimacy you crave from your online sportsbook, you could look far and wide and not find yourself a better service provider than the Bovada sports betting network, and it's why we consistently recommend them so highly to all of our visitors. Bovada has been in business for over a decade, constantly working hard toward their reputation as not only a legally run sportsbook, but one of the most legitimate. Over the years, not only have their legions of satisfied customers stood up and took notice, but several major news outlets from right here in the United States like CBS sports and the USA today have taken note of Bovada's hard work, citing their odds over even the land based sportsbooks in Las Vegas when it comes time to.

In all this talk of Bovada being a legal and safe place to put your money, don't get to thinking that they've forgotten what makes a fun sportsbook. Bovada plays host to some of the most complete odds and betting lines in the business, with a constantly refreshing set of game, team, and player propositions to bet on live. When you have an account in the Bovada network, not only will you never need to worry about the security of your money again, you're bound to have a great time forgetting you were ever concerned in the first place.

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State Sports Betting Laws

The majority of state laws don’t have much to say about sports betting. This is because the federal laws do the job for them. Some states, such as Nevada and Delaware, to have regulations on bookmaking since they allow sportsbooks to operate. However, very few other states have anything to say about it. One thing you will want to keep in mind is your states legal betting age. Each state will either have a set age, or they will not have anything to say about it. The thing to keep in mind is this: if you join an online sportsbook, you should follow your state age laws, whether that is 18, 21, or no age. If your state does not have an age stipulation, then follow the sites’ rules, which are usually 18 and up. You can learn more about both the state laws and the age regulations at our state laws page and our betting age page.