Sports Betting Laws In The United States

You've found our page dedicated to the Federal sports betting laws that regulate both online and land-based gambling. The goal is to provide readers with all of the information needed to make an informed choice when choosing an online sportsbook that is legal. All of the sports betting sites reviewed here on BettingIsLegal follow all of the laws needed to operate legally in the USA. These laws might sound complicated and harsh, but they are actually quite simple to understand. You will see that, as long as the site in question follows a few simple rules, almost anyone can use it safely.

There are a few of these laws that may be of interest to you and we will go into detail about each one of them so you can feel comfortable. We will also explain how state laws affect things concerning sportsbooks. There are certain age limits when wagering online and we will go over those as well. When we are finished, you will know everything you need to so that you can have a safe and enjoyable online experience.

Federal Sports Wagering Laws Explained

There are some intimidating sounding laws out there concerning online sportsbooks. We will break them down individually and show you how each apply to the industry. You will see that they have more bark than bite and that the sportsbooks follow all of them. These are the main laws that govern sports betting in America. Some of these laws have been around for decades while others have been around for just a few years. Let’s take a look at three of those laws.

The Wire Act – The Federal Wire Act of 1961 is a law that is over 50 years old and yet still somehow affects online betting. This law was first put into place during the JFK administration to help break the hold that organized crime had on the gaming industry. The Wire Act says that you cannot use a “wire communication facility” for the transmission of bets or wagers. This effectively forces companies that operate sports betting sites serving players from the U.S. to be physically located overseas. The site also has to be legally operating in the country in which it is based. All of the sites we review operate overseas and are legally functioning in their countries of origin, and are therefore not violating this statute.

UIGEA – The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 is a law that requires that sports betting sites operating for U.S. players modify their funding methods. This controversial law was tacked onto an unrelated Safe Ports bill on the last day of the congressional session. The Act prohibits gambling businesses from “restricted transactions”. The statute makes these restricted transactions any gambling business knowingly accepting payments through the internet. For our purposes, this means that the online sportsbook cannot send your winnings directly to your credit cards. These sites have figured out how to comply with the law by sending money in other ways so as to avoid the UIGEA prohibitions. You can find all of these funding methods on your favorite site. There is usually a list with all of the limits and other information in the cashier section.

PASPA – The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 is also known as the Bradley Act and it effectively allowed only four states to operate sports betting operations. The four states are Nevada, Montana, Delaware, and Oregon. These four states were grandfathered in when the law was passed since they had been operating existing sports betting enterprises for the preceding decade. This law only deals with state restrictions on sports betting and does not affect online sites. Because the states do not regulate online betting sites this law doesn’t apply to them. The great thing about online sportsbooks is that with most of them you can live in any of the 50 states and play them legally. There are a few that will not allow members from the four states listed above but you can find out by checking your favorite site to determine if you are eligible.

State Sports Betting Statutes

There are only a few states that have any sports betting laws in place and they are the states we listed above under PASPA. None of the state laws deals with the internet or online gambling so there is nothing to worry about when using the sites we review. There are no states that ban online sportsbooks so you can feel free to use them legally. If you are a player from any state, you can use the majority of sites out there. There is only one site that we review that does not accept players from all 50 states and the only states that site don’t accept are the four states listed under PASPA above.

Legal Sports Betting Age

Each of the legal sports betting states has their own individual age restrictions that must be followed before one places a sports wager for real money. Most of the ages range from 18 to 21 and the sites we review defer to the state when it comes to age restrictions. Therefore, most online sites will have an age limit of 18 before you can use their site, if your state says 21 then you have to wait until you are 21 to use the site. Some states don’t have set gambling ages and in that case, the age would be 18 when you can start using these sites.

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Is It Legal To Bet With An Online Sportsbook?

The simple answer to this question is yes, they are legal as long as they follow the laws pertaining to online sportsbooks. These laws have been setup to help curb some of the organized crime element and make your wagering safe and fun. All of the sites we review have been around for years, and some for decades. They are all licensed gaming institutions with millions of members from all over the world. These sites wouldn’t be adding new members all over the globe on a daily basis if they weren’t legal. We will introduce you to some of the federal laws these sites must adhere to and you will see that they all do.

Legal Sports Betting Sites For U.S. Residents

We hope that this page has been helpful to you in realizing the legalities of online sportsbooks for U.S. players. We have covered the main federal laws covering these sites including the Wire Act, UIGEA, and PASPA, and you have seen that in each of these cases the online sportsbooks are compliant. We also showed that individual states do not regulate online sites, and went over the age restrictions. Now we want to introduce to our favorite legal sports betting sites where Americans are assured of a hassle-free experience.

More: Can I Bet Legally on NFL Games?

  • Bovada Sportsbook
  • Only Accepts U.S. Players; 45 States Welcome Here

Bovada SportsbookIf you’re looking for a powerful and legal sports betting site that accepts U.S. players, consider yourself lucky. Bovada is the world’s leading sports wagering venue for players from almost every state. This site functions legally according to the federal and state stipulations, and is highly regarded by fans and media giants alike. Unfortunately, Bovada doesn’t accept members from all fifty states. If you live in New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, or Maryland, you will need to search elsewhere. There are plenty of other top-tier sites that accept these states, so take a glance at our other reviews to see your options.

Bovada is licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, and has a certificate of good standing from them which is very important. Online sports betting sites typically don’t receive these sort of official credentials unless they operate within the bounds of the laws. You will not find a more bona fide sports wagering site out there, and Bovada continues to enthrall new players every day with their vast selection of betting lines, and jaw-dropping bonuses.

  • Bovada Sportsbook
  • 50% Cash Bonus for New Players!
  • BetOnline Sportsbook
  • 25% Free Play Bonus! - Available In All 50 States!
  • SportsBetting Sportsbook
  • 50% Free Play! - Best Bonuses for New Players
  • 5Dimes Sportsbook
  • 50% Free Play! - Speedy Payouts - Mobile-Friendly!