Ever since man invented games, whether it be for sports or play, betting quickly followed as a sidekick and has been as old as many man-made games. In today’s modern age, things are no different except for the fact that betting as many other things are regulated. Gambling, in general, has become a multi-billion dollar worth business so it’s not a surprise that governments quickly decided to regulate it.
In this article, we will have an overview of the current situation regarding sports betting in the USA especially from a legal standpoint. This article or better said guide will give you all the information you will need to know how to bet, where to bet and generally what the legal implications of betting are in the state you are currently residing.
For the majority of recent history, betting was forbidden in the US, especially sports betting, but recent events have made it easier to bet and we will explain what happened.
Is Online Sports Betting Allowed in the USA?
The short answer to the question whether online sports betting is allowed in the US is yes, but there are some rules that you need to know and follow if you don’t want to have trouble with the State.
Firstly, the US Supreme Court removed the federal ban on sports betting in the USA making it officially legal on a federal level. Yet as there isn’t a formal bill allowing it on a federal level, but simply a lack of ban, it means that every state has the right to make their own laws on the subject.
Basically, since May of 2018, every state needs to craft and pass its own regulatory laws on the subject. Some have already done it, and some are following suit but the majority of them are not doing it yet. Keep in mind these events are recent events and legislations take time, especially tricky ones like this.
When it comes to the restrictions in the states that have allowed sports betting, they usually include a legal age (age greater than 21 years) and a permanent residence in the state where you want to place the bet. Specifics regarding online sports betting will be addressed a bit later in the article.
The Legality of Online Sports Betting in the US States
Online sports betting in the USA is legal in several states but is generally operated through the state lottery such as in New Jersey and Delaware. They don’t possess an online platform where you can place a bet despite it being the most famous and popular way of betting because of its simplicity and time-saving.
So how can US citizens and residents legally bet on sports on an online platform? This is how you do it legally.
Betting Online on Sports in the USA
When we talk about betting online, we mainly talk about betting that is done through different sportsbooks. Sportsbooks can’t be based in the US because it’s illegal so the majority of them offering services to US citizens are located outside of the US. Before we explain the reason behind that first we need to cover the main method of online betting used in the US and generally worldwide.
Sports betting online is mainly done through a method that is called “post up betting” which means that you have an online account provided by your sportsbook where you deposit money and use it to gamble in whichever way you like or see fit. Now when it comes to the legality of this type of betting it’s a lot of grey areas because on a federal level as stated above it’s completely legal but you have to pay close attention to the state you reside in. In some states, it’s actually considered a felony although cases of prosecution are virtually non-existent.
For the average US residents and citizens, it means that the act of placing a bet is completely legal but the person or company accepting a bet is committing a federal crime. For example if we take Bovada.lv which is probably the most used and best-rated sportsbook that accepts US citizens, it’s totally legal for you to use it and place a bet, but the US government consider them a criminal organization. However, because it’s located and operated outside of the US they don’t have jurisdiction over it making it quite safe for you to use. Technically these websites violate US gambling laws, however, the fact that they are located outside of the US protects them from any legal actions from the US.
Most of them are based in countries where it’s completely legal to run this type of business make the sportsbook a legal company that can’t be prosecuted in the country, they are based in.
Problems You Might Face
The majority of problems that one can face has to do with the fact that they haven’t been properly educated in how to bet as a US resident and they can encounter difficulties dealing with their banks.
Sportsbooks do accept credit and debit cards as a way to deposit money on your account but US law makes it illegal for banks and credit card companies to process online gambling payments which means that you might end up in a situation where the bank simply closes of your account and you automatically lose all your funds on it.
This problem occurred many times but mainly due to the fact that people weren’t aware of this which is why we will offer an alternative way to deposit and withdraw funds that are tested and completely safe.
How to Deposit and Withdraw Funds?
The most popular and safe way is what is referred as P2P (Person to Person) method which is basically sending money via Western Union or Moneygram or a similar service which can be done from any local supermarket or Walmart onto your sportsbook account.
When it comes to withdrawals this method is the one we recommend as well, because it’s simple and safe with many people trying it without any issues. The only thing to keep in mind is that when you withdraw funds this way you will be charged an expensive fee depending on the sportsbook and service of your choosing.
There is a second method which is cryptocurrencies and specifically Bitcoin which proves to be the best option in terms of low fees and fast payouts. The only issue may be that not all bettors have Bitcoin wallets or know how to use it.
There is the third method as well which includes paper checks but this method is a bit shady so we recommend P2P or Bitcoin instead.
Where to Place Bets?
This is the essential question as there are a lot of online sportsbooks on the market and the majority of them are not safe. That is why we have compiled a list of online sportsbooks that offer betting services to US residents which are legal and safe to use. The legality of them was explained on the Bovada example which will be the first sportsbook we’ll cover.
BOVADA.LV: It’s perhaps the most popular sportsbook giving services to US residents and with good reason. There is a ton of resources online as well as reviews which you can read and inform yourself in detail about it. What you need to know from this guides standpoint is that Bovada doesn’t accept players residing in the states of Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York.
MYBOOKIE.AG: Though MyBookie may not be as popular as Bovada, it’s still a trustworthy and safe sportsbook that offers services to US bettors. The betting opportunities that MyBookie offers may well be the most advanced and largest in the market. You can place bets on all US leagues, as well as European sports and other markets such as politics, entertainment betting, etc.
5DIMES.EU: There is a legend among gambling circles that 5Dimes offers the best odds in the industry and while we can’t confirm nor deny that they are certain sportsbooks worth your time because they definitely offer the largest market of all sportsbooks being able to bet on literally the lowest leagues around the world. It’s also worth pointing out that they accept players from all 50 states making it a good choice and alternative for players who can’t use Bovada.
The above-mentioned sportsbooks offer the P2P and Bitcoin method as a means to deposit and withdraw your funds and also are located outside the US making them legal to use from a US person standpoint.
US Sports Leagues
Something that might prove key for future events is also the involvement of America’s professional sports leagues. For this example, we’ll use NBA, NFL, and MLB because they have been the most vocal about the topic and it will highlight that just like many other things legalizing betting comes down to politics.
The NBA has been a longtime supporter of legalizing betting especially current commissioner Adam Silver who never shied away from publicly stating his support for the matter. He also added his league would want a share of profits from the gambling industry and their taxes in order to protect the integrity of the sport and League.
The NFL, on the other hand, has been a staunch opponent of legalizing betting. Throughout their history, they have always talked very negatively about it calling it to be completely shut down but when the Supreme court removed the federal ban they quickly turned their allegiance and stated they would seek a share of profits from any legal betting happening on their games.
The MLB was sort of in the middle ground of things never publicly taking one side or the other which is mostly true to themselves as they usually avoid these types of things but expect them to follow suit whichever way this goes because the MLB is one of the most popular betting sports in the US and generate ridiculous amounts of money on a yearly basis.
Even though the landscape of the gambling industry is slowly shifting by many accounts, we are actually witnessing a major change and rapid expansion of the gambling industry. More and more people are becoming interested in gambling and the industry is growing by the day. Historically the perception of gambling in the USA has gone through different eras fuelled by personal sentiments towards the subject. Early on it was seen as sinning act during a time where religion dominated daily life of many people. Nowadays where many people have a relaxed view on religion sentiments have shifted to the positive. More and more people do want betting to be fully legalized with certain restrictions similar to those existing in several European countries. A recent poll by the Washington Post and the University of Massachusetts Lowel has shown that 55 % of adults in the USA approve of legalizing betting fully.
It was actually the first time in history that a poll yielded positive results proving even more so that the general public’s perception is shifting towards completely legalizing betting. While we might not see US-based Sportsbooks soon it’s definitely coming sooner rather than later.
In this guide-like article, we explained the general landscape of sports betting in the USA and online sports betting which is two separate things. We also gave a comprehensive guide on how to bet online safely in order not to breach any US laws. We further explained the best methods for depositing and withdrawing your funds from your accounts as well as explaining why certain methods are safer and better to use. We also pointed out the legal implication by which users are protected in the case of online sports betting but we also encourage any reader to check up on those things again because legislation and laws can change over time.
The terms and conditions of each named sportsbook can be found on their own websites and should be carefully examined before signing up. The information provided in this article is correct at the time of its writing but might change over time so we once again urge readers to do a comprehensive fact checking before signing up for anything. We do not accept any legal responsibilities for somebody else’s actions. This is a simple overview and guide compiled based upon personal tests and multiple trusted user reviews. In addition to this, we also examined the legal implications of online betting which can be easily checked personally as well. We hope you found this helpful. Thanks for reading.