Legal Sports Betting In The United States

If you are interested in learning more about legal sports betting in the US then you have came to the right place. The general consensus out there in the United States is that sports betting is illegal except in Las Vegas. But that is actually not true at all. In fact, there are several states who have taken measures to make sports betting legal, as well as a number of online sportsbooks in operation who accept players from the United States. The fact of the matter is that there are a variety of legal ways to bet on sports.

If you are a sports fan who likes the idea of making some side cash by betting on game, but aren’t quite sure about all of the sports betting laws and statutes surround online sports gambling, this should be your go-to website. Here at, we discuss a number of different topics as it relates to online gambling, as well as hopefully answering all of your questions about the issue.

Is Sports Betting Legal In The United States?

It's really not a simple answer as of now as to whether sports betting is legal. The answer is really twofold. Yes, and No. In some states, like Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Delaware and perhaps soon to be New Jersey, they took it upon themselves to move forward with legislation to legalize gambling in licensed places. The most famous example of this are obviously the Las Vegas casinos and sportsbooks.

In 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was passed by Congress which banned betting on sports in every state except for those in which it was already allowed, whether full-scale or only some forms. Those states include the ones previously mentioned minus New Jersey.

But then we also have online sportsbooks, some of which operate outside of the United States, but do accept U.S players. However, it is important to note that you must meet the gambling requirements for these online sportsbooks, such as age. But the fact of the matter is that there won't be a clear cut answer until the laws surrounding sports betting and online gambling become more clear.

Latest Legal Sports Betting News And opinion

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Legal Sports Betting Sites For U.S. Players

When choosing which sports betting site you would like to wager at, it's important to do your research. You want to check the reputation of the site, make sure they are legit, have easy to use sportsbook payouts, accepts US players, etc - you can do that by reading up on 3rd-party reviews of the websites such as the ones you will find below.

Credible sports betting websites will have all of that information available to you either on the site itself, or a help section where you can simply ask the questions and get the answer you are looking for. We simply try to give you all the general information so that you dont waste your time with the junk sites and the ones that are not legal for US players to bet on sports. All of the sports betting sites are located offshore that we list and we strongly suggest that you do not venture to any oddball sites that your local bookie runs or something.

Bovada Sportsbook

Bovada Sportsbook is one of the foremost names in the online sports betting industry. This sports betting site offers a wide range of sports that users will be permitted to place real money wagers across all of the major sporting events in the United States and around the world. It really doesn't get much better at online sports betting than Bovada especially with their new 50% match which carries a limit of $250 for all new players.

BetOnline Sportsbook

BetOnline has been in the online gambling industry since back in 1991 and operates out of Panama City, Panama. They accept USA players and have betting odds for all of your favorite sports, including the NFL, CFB, MLB, NBA, college b-ball, soccer + more. BetOnline also offers their own stats center where you are able to track recent betting trends. As one of the best online sportsbooks out there you can be confident in getting some of the best odds.

SportsBetting is based out of Panama and has been servicing bettors for years without incident or a distruption of service. They welcome players from all 50 states as they know the secret to their success is the American Dollar. Speaking of money, has one of the best deposit bonuses found anywhere and it keeps giving every deposit made into the book. Get as much as $500 each time thanks to a 50% reload granted for the life of your account.

5Dimes Sportsbook

5Dimes Sportsbook launched in 1996, and is based out of San Jose, Costa Rica. This online sportsbook offers a ton of betting lines, some of which are not offered by any other online sportsbook on the Internet. In fact, 5Dimes might have the most unique lines around outside of the typical sports odds. It's what makes 5Dimes one of the best online sportsbooks in the business, as you can find just about every betting line you seek.

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Online Sports Betting Laws In The U.S.

When it comes to betting laws for sports, there are really three main pieces of legislation that cover the topic from a legal standpoint. The information we list below is just for reference simply because these laws can change as well as their interpretation. The main thing to remember is that you are not going to go to jail for simply placing a bet on a sporting event. Betting and depositing within the limits specified by the sportsbooks will not raise suspicion and the sportsbook will never report your winnings to the government so you really have nothing to worry about. Plus, there is nothing stopping you for going to these sites in the first place...

UIGEA - The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was put in place to prohibit those in the United States from using credit cards and other electronic forms of payment to help finance gambling related activity. However, this only deals with how the gambling sites are funded, and not the actual money placed on a specific bet. The law does not make it illegal to gamble on the Internet. There are several ways to get around the UIGEA and still use credit cards to deposit into sports betting accounts. Many opt to use third party ewallets or buy prepaid online vouchers however some can still deposit directly with their plastic. Sports betting sites often change processors which haven't been flagged as gambling therefore transactions through those processors are usually successful.

Wire Act - Unlike some other laws relating to gambling and online gambling which recently came about over the last two decades, the Federal Wire Act has been are for quite a bit longer. It dates back to the Kennedy Administration. The Federal Wire Act was passed in 1961, which targets various types of betting businesses, and prohibits them from using any form of wire communication to place or receive a wager or a payment for a wager. In 2011, a ruling was handed down saying that the Wire Act only pertained to sports betting, and not the other types of gambling such as online casinos and poker rooms. This ruling was made by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court Of Appeals. This law also only applies to businesses and not the individual bettors.

PASPA - The Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was a monumental ruling for sports betting in the United States. Essentially, this law made betting sports in the United States illegal. There were some states excluded from this law, like Nevada. There were also states given the opportunity to receive immunity. These states needed at least a 10-year history of a legally licensed casino or sportsbook, and they had a year to apply for this once PASPA went into effect on January 1, 1993. There were just a handful of states that took advantage of this. Since its inception PASPA has been the subject of many pleas and cases by state governments to the federal government to repeal the law. As of 2012, no repeal plans have been made, though states continue to actively campaign change. This most notably includes the state of New Jersey.

States That Have Legal Sports Betting - Online + In-Person

Legal sports betting on the state level is a little confusing, but at the end of the day the answer is the same for almost every state. First of all, the only state that has land based sports betting is Nevada. There are a few states that run some types of parlay sports betting that is more like a lottery, but the real answer is that you can only walk up to a window and place a bet in Nevada.

The good news is that citizens from all the US states can find legal sports betting online as long as the sportsbook you are betting at is located offshore. As long as you do not live in Maryland, New York, Washington State, or Utah then you have absolutely nothing to worry about. And to be honest, even players in other states do not have to worry about getting into trouble. There has never been anyone that has been arrested for simply making a bet at an online sportsbook, and that is not gonna change.

Read our page about states with legal sports betting if you are confused and need a better explanation.

States That Have Banned Sports Betting - Online + In-Person

Online sports betting is a hot topic at both the state and federal level. We can see this in the states who have recently challenged the federal government to legalize sports betting. The two laws in place at the federal level (Wire Act, UIGEA) are designed to make it difficult for U.S.A. players wishing to bet on sports online. However, it does not make it illegal. Many online sportsbooks which accept US players do not operate in the United States.

Players that live in Maryland, New York, Washington State, and Utah may have a hard time finding a legal sports betting site. There is laws in place in these states that make it illegal to bet on sports over the internet.

Future Regulation Of Legal Sports Betting

The good news for online gambling is that there are numerous laws in the works that will be voted on that will regulate legal sports betting. Most of them are at a state level, but there are some federal statutes in the work as well. To be perfectly honest, it will be a number of years before sports betting is legal in the USA, but it will happen.

The Feds know that US residents bet on sports online and that there is nothing they can do about it. So, if all goes well then they will finally realize that Americans are going to bet on sports no matter what and they will legalize and regulate legal sports betting. It is simply a matter of time before it is legal. We just have to get the right people in office to make it happen and quit letting these Vegas casino companies control everything.

Read our article "Is sports betting legal in the USA?" for a better explanation and for some general information about legal sports betting in The United States.

Online Sports Betting FAQ
Are Online Sportsbooks Legal For US Residents?

The federal legislation enacted makes it very difficult to operate an online sportsbook in the United States. As such, online sportsbooks have begun to operate outside the United States in places like Costa Rica and Panama. These betting sites are legal for US players to wager on, with the majority of these sportsbooks. You want to make sure you are of legal age to bet on a particular online sportsbook, as those laws still apply even if you bet on sites operated outside of the United States.

Will I go To Jail For Betting Sports online?

The short answer of it is that it is highly unlikely that you will go to jail for online sports betting in the United States. The legislation enacted at the federal level such as the UIGEA and Wire Act deal with the operators of online gambling businesses. Many of the sports betting sites that are legal outside of the United States are completely legal to bet on and accept players from the United States. Most importantly, there is no federal law against online gambling. The issue with online gambling is still a murky one, but there are several legal ways in which you can bet on sports online with no problem.

What Is The Legal Sports Betting Age In The U.S.?

The answer to this question is twofold. First, the online sportsbook in which the player will visit to place the bet will have a legal gambling age of their own. In most cases, this is 18 years old. However, there is then the issue of the legal gambling age in your state. Gambling ages are decided at the state level, and can vary. They are either 18 or 21. If the gambling age in your state where you live is 21, you must meet that in order to gamble at the online sportsbook, even if you meet the minimum age requirement at the sportsbook itself. It's important to consult your gambling age laws in your state.