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Legality Of Sports Betting In The US

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Many United States residents are confused about the legality of sports betting in the US. Since the legality question does not have a definite yes or no answer, US bettors need to stay on the safe side by knowing the sports betting laws in their country.




Article Highlights:

PASPA   |   Wire Act   |   UIGEA   |   Latest Attempts To legalize   |   How To Bet Legally In US


The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which was enacted in 1992, attempts to protect the integrity of collegiate and professional sports by preventing all US states, except Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware, from legalising sports betting activities in their jurisdictions.

While Montana and Oregon have not taken advantage of this exemption, Delaware and Nevada have done so. Although not exempted from the PASPA, New Jersey has legalized sports betting, a move that has been challenged in court by a group of sports leagues and associations, which are not in favor of intrastate sports betting legalisation. The group claims that New Jersey has acted in violation of the PASPA.


Wire Act

The Wire Act, which was enacted in 1961, criminalises the use of the Internet or telephone to bet on sports events, but does not clearly state whether it criminalises the act of placing bets or the act of receiving bets. This law also does not apply to offshore online sportsbooks because the US federal government cannot penalise sports betting businesses that do not operate within its jurisdiction.



US bettors generally tend to get confused about the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. No part of this law criminalises the action of placing sports bets online; instead, the law makes it illegal for US banks and financial institutions from processing funds related to gambling.


Latest Attempts To Legalize US Sports Betting

Federal lawmakers have been making many attempts to legalize sports betting, especially in New Jersey. Representatives Frank Pallone and Frank LoBiondo have proposed separate bills in support of legalising sports betting in the country. Titled “The New Jersey Betting and Equal Treatment Act of 2012,” Representative Pallone’s bill proposes to exempt New Jersey from the PASPA. Titled Sports Gaming Opportunity Act of 2012, Representative LoBiondo’s bill proposes to give freedom to individual US states to legalize intrastate sports betting.


How To Bet On Sports Legally In The US

Residents can place bets at offshore online sportsbooks. None of the US state or federal laws make it illegal for individual bettors to place bets online. Since offshore online sportsbooks are licensed and regulated in foreign jurisdictions, they do not have to comply with US sports betting laws. This makes it relatively safe for US residents to sign up at offshore online bookies.

US citizens who want to bet legally on sports can also visit Delaware or Nevada, the only two US states where sports betting is legal. Since sports betting services are limited in Delaware, Nevada is the best place for sports betting enthusiasts. Besides offering a wide range of land-based betting facilities, Nevada also offers online and mobile sports betting facilities. Nevada’s sports betting facilities, however, are available only to those located in the state.





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