Sports Betting Laws

Legal Sports Betting Sites & Online Sportsbooks

As with any topic relating to betting in the United States, it's important to know the laws that affect it. In the case of sports betting, it's the only area of gambling in which all three major federal laws relate to it. But before American sports bettors go into a panic, it's important to understand exactly what the laws themselves say.

The three biggest federal laws relating to sports betting and legal sports betting sites in the United States are addressed right below, in effort to give you the necessary information for your future betting endeavors. Rest assured that even though the laws dealing with sports betting are in effect, legal sports betting can still be done. The laws we are going to talk about are the Federal Wire Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act, and a brief mention about state laws and how those can come into play.

Sports Betting Laws That Affect USA Players

Federal Wire Act Of 1961

The Wire Act actually goes back several decades, all the way to the 1960's. The original intention was not related to sports betting at all, but was geared towards the elimination of organized crime. And one of the ways thought to be able to do that was to strike at gambling. But if we flash forward to 2011, the Wire Act was then said to apply only to sports betting, and is a far cry from focusing on organized crime. So what does the Wire Act do?
The Wire Act targets the way in which a bet can be made or process, or even assisted in making is banned under this law. No form of wire communication can be used by a gambling business to facilitate such transactions. As a result, gambling businesses in the United States don't really have much of a choice but to cease operation.

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

The origin of the UIGEA goes back to the Safe Port Act, a piece of legislation passed in 2006. The funny thing about the Safe Port Act is that it was not gambling related. The UIGEA was a mere attachment to this popular piece of legislation, and passed easily, must to the chagrin of gambling advocates.
Dealing specifically with gambling on the Internet, the UIGEA does not only target online sports betting. What it does do though, is prevent a gambling business and website from allowing payments over the Internet to be made for a wager that is placed. No financial transaction can be done for the purpose of making or paying out a bet.

Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act

PASPA is the only one of the three federal laws that doesn't relate to a gambling business online specifically. This more strikes right at the heart of sports betting in general. In other words, PASPA is the main law banning sports betting in the country in states where they were not grandfathered in under it.
But the majority of states were not included. In fact, just Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware were implemented under the PASPA immunity clause. The other 46 states in the U.S. did not take advantage, or were not able to take advantage of the language within the law that allowed states with a 10-year licensed gaming history to apply for immunity.

Laws In The Individual U.S. States

What can also come into play however are the state laws. In essence, PASPA could be broken down into a type of state law because it applies to some and not to others. But in terms of actual state laws against sports betting, each one has the option to have their own set of legislation to add on to it. A state could choose to impose harsher restrictions on sports betting. If you are curious about the betting laws in your area, a local attorney would be able to answer those questions for you.

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