We have one simple goal here at sportsbetting.legal, and that's to help you find the most trusted legal online sports betting sites on which you can bet without having to worry about scams, breaking laws, or other negatives. As gamblers ourselves, we understand fully the need to find trustworthy sites. After all, you're not simply handing your email addresses over to these sites. You're putting real money into your accounts in hopes of winning, and you're also giving them financial information. If a site chooses to take advantage of this, it can simply steal the money and you have no legal recourse. Or even if the site is operating illegally in the USA, it can shut down and leave you without any way to get your money back.
Don't think that this sort of thing can't happen? When the UIGEA hit in 2006, millions of dollars were lost when several gambling sites immediately banned US-based players. Some let the US-based players know in advance and gave them time to withdrawal their funds. But others just shut down services and left Americans without their money, especially some poker sites.
Not that we're out to talk ourselves up as the best thing in the industry since sliced bread, but we do feel we come to the table with a unique position. For starters, we're avid gamblers and take very seriously the process by which we find legal, trustworthy gambling websites. Secondly, we don't beat around the bush with purple prose and lawyer-level legal jargon. If you want to know about the legality of sportsbooks in the United States, we deliver this information to you in streamlined fashion without the fuss and filler you'll find elsewhere on the 'net. Lastly, we're simply aiming to help our fellow gamblers, specifically American gamblers, find a home they can trust so that they can bet just like everyone else while not running afoul of US law.
Top Rated Online Sportsbooks
Legally Licensed For US Players
Each of the following sports betting sites are legally licensed and regulated offshore in a jurisdiction where sports betting is considered legal. This allows them to legally accept American players.
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The Legality of Gambling in America
To put this as simply as possible, the legality of gambling in America is broken down into two parts: There's the business end, i.e. creating a sportsbook, and then there's the gambler's end, i.e. the act of actually placing a bet. The first part is what's considered to be illegal on a federal level, and also in most states. One cannot create a website or in any way accept money for wagers without being in violation of at least a dozen laws. Though for the second part, you are perfectly free to gamble where gambling is legal. Think of it like taking a trip to Las Vegas. Is anyone there stopping you from going? Or how about purchasing a lotto ticket from the convenience store; are there any cops telling you not to? That's because the act of gambling is actually perfectly legal in the United States, though the laws and jargon can be so complex and confusing that not many people realize that they're actually free to gamble.
The only “trick” here, if you could even call it that, is finding a legal location at which you can gamble. Yes, you're going to need to find a website that's operating legally. Theoretically speaking, if someone in Virginia decided to open up a sportsbook, you could most likely still sign up there and deposit your money. However, when that site gets busted—and it will get busted—you're going to lose your money and be shut out because the site is illegal. That's why it's so important to heed our advice when it comes to licensing and regulation information. We're going to tell you which sites are operating legally and which are to be trusted, so you won't have to worry about being shut out after a raid.
Our US gambling laws section provides greater insight into what these laws aim to accomplish, and what they mean for USA players.
Is Online Sports Betting Actually Legal in the USA?
There are actually some sportsbooks that operate legally in the United States. After the Department of Justice reinterpreted the UIGEA in 2011, states like Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware took it upon themselves to legalize some forms of online gambling. However, those sportsbooks that are licensed and regulated by those three states will only accept players living within the state's borders. So if you're living in Maryland and have an ISP from Maryland and are trying to sign up with a Delaware or New Jersey sportsbook, you will likely be turned away at the gate. This is because every state still needs to adhere to the federal interstate regulations, so they have to keep things confined to their own states. Pennsylvania and California are rumored to be thinking about legalizing online gambling, though it could be years in the making.
For everyone outside of the aforementioned states, what you'll have to find is an offshore sportsbook. An offshore site simply means that the site is located outside of the United States. Being outside of the USA means that all the laws, rules and regulations American can think of don't matter one iota. If a site is operating out of the Caribbean or in Canada, it doesn't matter what the US has to say about it. That site can let Americans play as much as they want, and the American government's hands are tied due to free trade. These offshore sites are going to be the ones we rate and review for you. So when you find a site with us, you can be sure that it's a tested, secure offshore site that the US government cannot leverage or control. This means you can legally play there as often as you want without any worries about it being shut down or that you are stepping outside of the confines of the law.
Check out our section about states that offer legal sports betting. We cover all 50 states, which laws are in play and which online betting sites can legally accept players from that specific jurisdiction.
Why Offshore Sportsbooks Are So Popular
Sportsbooks are definitely experiencing an uptick in their popularity, and this means more and more books are opening up that allow US-based players to participate with real money. Although you could likely run down a list of 50 legitimate reasons, the number-one reason for the expanse in popularity is the globalization of sports. With today's Internet technology and thousands of broadcast satellites in space, sports are now global. This global trend has given the world a lot more sportsbooks, and also a lot more sports on which to bet. The NFL, College, Olympics, the Euro and Copa soccer tournaments, and so much more; you can bet on it all from a quality sportsbook.
What We're Here to Do for U.S. Sports Gamblers
Again, we're not trying to sell you some roulette strategy for $49.99 at the bottom of the page here. We're simply trying to get correct, up to date information out there about the wide and wonderful world of sportsbooks. That's what we're here to do for you, to guide you to the right book so that your money is invested wisely. It seems simple enough in premise, but you would be surprised at just how many networks out there give you the runaround instead of straightforward info, or try to make you buy X to learn Y, or simply have wrong, outdated information on their sites. We, as gamblers, take great strides to be better than that. Sports betting is not a zero sum game. The more people who bet, the more money there is to be won! So we want you to find the best sportsbooks with which to bet. It works out better for everyone that way.
So we're going to direct you to some of the best sportsbooks on the Internet, and we're going to thoroughly vet them from head to toe. We're looking at reputation, security, banking options, betting lines and options, software used, where they pull their lines from, and so much more. When we find a quality sportsbook for you, we'll offer our recommendation along with a detailed review. All you have to do is read the info and make your decision. It's that simple.