States With Legal Sports Betting Available
There is no more popular facet of gambling than wagering on sports, that is the simple truth. There is a reason that millions of dollars are wagered every year in the U.S. on a variety of different sports both inside the U.S. and abroad. This is also a reason that it's surprising to learn that sports betting in the United States has several federal regulations that prohibit and limit the practices.
As it stands, there are two different aspects to tackle betting on sports. They are land-based sports betting, and online sports betting. In general, betting sports on the Internet appeals to a much wider audience and demographic than land-based sports betting. This has to do with the fact that there are just two states that currently have forms of legal sports betting on land, though the potential for four states is possible.
The world of online sports betting is much broader because of the availability and access that people have to the Internet.
But it's important to understand the fundamental differences between the two, and why sports bettors in the U.S. have a much easier time betting online than they would in the U.S. It comes back to that word we mentioned associated with the Internet; accessibility. But before we get into that, let's explain about the federal laws that relate to betting on sports in the U.S.
Federal Sports Betting Laws
There are three laws that bettors should be familiar with. They are the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and the Federal Wire Act.
Let's begin with PASPA. This was a law passed back in 1992 which dealt with land-based sports betting. In general, PASPA banned betting on sports across the United States except in four states. The four states in which it could be legally done are Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. This was because the four applied to be grandfathered in under the immunity clause that was offered to any state that had a specific history of licensed gambling and met the criteria installed by the law.
Nevada is a sports bettor's best chance for wagering on a variety of sports at a land-based sportsbook. Nevada is much less restricted in what they allow. In other words, many different bets can be made over many different sports.
For Delaware, it's limited to parlay wagers for the NFL. But this type of sports betting generates plenty of revenue in the state, and the plans to expand the betting opportunities in Delaware are in the works.
But as you can see, the limitations for land-based sports betting in the United States are obvious, which is where online betting comes into play.
But the UIGEA and Wire Act cover some specific areas here as well. Beginning with the UIGEA, which was passed in 2006, stating that Internet gambling businesses could not accept and process a monetary transaction made for a wager, nor could they pay a winning wager out. Essentially, the bet was not illegal, but accepting and processing was banned. The end result meant that gambling sites (not just sports betting sites) could no longer operate in the United States.
What the UIGEA left room for however was offshore betting sites outside of the U.S. popping up and marketing to USA players. Because of the fact that the UIGEA did not make betting sports online illegal, only the monetary transactions from the standpoint of the business, American players are able to sign up at these sportsbooks and bet real money legally. Many offshore sports betting sites allow U.S. players from all 50 states, which is certainly more than the two states that currently offer land-based betting.
This goes back to our theme of accessibility. Virtually everyone has some access to the Internet, which means that bets can be made from all over the country to these offshore sites. Online sportsbooks where Americans are accepted feature a ton of U.S. sports, spanning the NFL, college football, NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA Tour, NASCAR and many more.
For the last of the three federal laws, the Federal Wire Act, it applies only to sports betting. But just like the UIGEA, the Wire Act targets the business and not the individual bettor. The use of wire communication aiding bets and wagers made and the transaction of the dollar amount is illegal under this law. The Wire Act also was ruled in 2011 to only apply to sports betting. But here again, it leaves room for bettors to go to the offshore sites.
As a result, when examining the states that offer legal sports betting, it's important to discuss both from the perspective of online betting and land-based. As you can see, there is quite a difference in what can be done. There is the option for bettors in every state to lay down a legal wager.
While the majority of states abide by the terms and conditions set forth by the federal laws like PASPA, the UIGEA, and the Wire Act, they can choose to incorporate further sanctions or argue a case to implement legal betting (though no state has been able to successfully do that). We've established that PASPA allows for legal land-based sports betting in Nevada, Montana, Delaware, and Oregon. It's also been established Wire Act and UIGEA still allow for legal online sports betting. But the most recognizable state-implemented law relates to the legal betting age. Each state regulates the legal age to bet sports and other gambling-related activities.
There are quite a few online sportsbooks that specialize in American bettors and the sports that are most popular in the United States. There are a couple of those sites directly below, with some information on the bettors they accept and the betting lines that are formed. But more importantly than that, they are here because they are legal for American sports bettors to sign up and bet real money at them.
Bovada Sportsbook represents everything great about legal online sports betting for bettors in the U.S. This sportsbook was created specifically with USA bettors in mind, and is a great legal option. There are 47 states that are able to legally create an account and bet here. Washington, Maryland, and New York are unable to create accounts, but aside from that bettors are good to go.
Sports across the United States and the rest of the world can be found at Bovada, but bettors will instantly recognize the extensive selection dedicated to leagues in the U.S. A wide range of betting lines are formed which makes it great for all types of bettors.
There are few online sportsbooks that resonate through to U.S. sports and U.S. sports bettors than BetOnline. It starts with the fact that the site accepts players in the United States from all 50 states. BetOnline is located in Panama and operates outside of any federal legislation, which makes it legal to create an account and place real-money bets.
BetOnline makes it very easy for American bettors to wager because funding sportsbook accounts is easy thanks to the wide variety of payment options that are available. Furthermore, there are numerous leagues and sports featured here that have betting lines available for all types of wagers include straight bets, parlays, live betting and much more.