American Sports Betting Laws – Is Sports Betting Legal in America?

This guide will look closely at the legal status of sports betting in America, and explain what types of legally sanctioned sportsbook gambling opportunities are available for USA players. On this page we will take a look at how the federal laws that govern US based sports betting affect your options, and how you can legally bet on sports without having to travel to out of state destinations in order to comply with these laws. There are key components that are critical to keeping your sports betting legal, and we want to make sure all American bettors have access to this information. Each of our sportsbook reviews also provides information on the licensing and legal compliance of each brand.

Online sportsbooks compliant with American gambling laws

Bovada Sportsbook $250 Rating 5 Stars Review
Betonline Sportsbook $1000 Rating 5 Stars REview
Bookmaker $2500 Rating 5 Stars Review

How American Sports Betting Laws Help You Bets Sports Legally

American sports betting laws are intended to protect US citizens. The three biggest and most important pieces of legislation which dictate your sports betting options as an American began back in 1961. That is when the Federal Wire Act was passed. Telephones were the primary method of placing sports bets at that time. This law was adopted to keep illegal bookies, often mob associates and other criminals, from taking sports bets over a "wire communication facility". The Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) came along in the early 1990s. Its intent was to limit which states could offer sports gambling options to Americans. And the most current American sports betting law was passed in 2006. The UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act) is concerned primarily with US companies processing transactions on Internet gambling sites. Let's take a look at these three important pieces of legislation individually. This will give you a better understanding of how the legally licensed offshore sports betting industry was created.

The 1961 Wire Act – What it Means for Sports Betting in America

Chronologically, the Wire Act of 1961 was the first American sports betting law with any teeth. That law clearly states that wired transmissions are disallowed for US companies if they are processing or taking sports bets. Obviously, the Internet was not around more than 50 years ago. Recently, the Department of Justice even stated that the Federal Wire Act is not applicable to poker rooms, buying lottery tickets online and certain "games of skill". When the Internet and the World Wide Web became popular in the early 1990s, this law joined PASPA as the two major reasons sports betting companies set up shop outside of the United States. This allowed them to obtain legal licensing from governments and online gambling regulatory bodies for legitimately offering US citizens sports betting options online.

How Does PASPA Benefit the US Sports Bettor?

The next important American sports betting law did not arrive until some 30 years after the Wire Act. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, also known as PASPA, attempted to clarify the legal status of sports betting in every US state. Since sports lotteries were already being conducted in Delaware, Montana and Oregon, those states were immune to PASPA legislation. Sports betting in Nevada was also exempted. Gambling on jai alai, as well as pari-mutuel horse and dog racing, also fell outside the scope of this law. PASPA is a federal law that excludes all but those four above-mentioned states from offering sports betting to US citizens. The problem with PASPA has been pointed out by multiple state senators and congressmen. They claim that this law tramples individual state rights to govern themselves. This is another reason that it is so important to find legally licensed and reputable offshore sportsbooks which support US players until this law is repealed.

UIGEA Does Not Outlaw Sports Betting for Americans

The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act was passed in 2006, and is commonly referred to as UIGEA. This American sports betting law was an attempt by the federal government to keep US-based financial institutions from processing payments and deposits that were going to Internet sports betting sites. But there is some confusion. Some United States citizens believe the UIGEA outlaws online sports betting. That is not the case. It is only aimed at payment processors. And again, it has no hold over non-US companies. Reliable and established offshore betting sites now offer credit card, prepaid card and bank wire options so that you can get money into your sports betting account quickly. Wire transfers and other money transfer services are safe and secure for funding your Internet sports betting account as well. That is, as long as you frequent reputable and licensed sports betting sites that are certified for supporting US sports bettors.

Where to Enjoy US Sports Betting at Legally Certified Sportsbooks

None of the three American sports betting laws mentioned above makes it illegal for a US citizen to bet on sports. No law exists in the United States where the federal government tells you that you cannot wager on NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL and NCAA sports, or any other sporting contests for that matter. What these laws have done is empower responsible and established offshore sportsbooks to cater to US citizens. That brings us to the purpose of this site. We have been betting sports for decades as US residents. We strive to uncover the best possible Internet sportsbooks where you can enjoy the greatest sports betting experience as a citizen of the USA. But we only recommend a handful of sites. We personally know these are the top rated spots for American sports bettors, where you benefit from legal licensing, generous bonuses, competitive lines and odds, and a great all-around experience. We also provide helpful information about understanding American betting lines as well as a page dedicated to American sports betting tips to help you improve your results.