Legal Sports Betting In The United States

Law Book With USA FlagWe 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, violating any gambling laws, or being taken advantage of. As gamblers ourselves, we fully understand how crucial it is 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 personal financial information. If a questionable or predatory site chooses to take advantage of this, it can simply steal your money and leave you with no real legal recourse. The same is true for a site that is operating illegally in the USA.  The operation can simply shut down and leave you without any options for getting 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 withdraw their funds.  But others just shut down services and left Americans without their money, especially some poker sites.  We want to help you avoid these types of situations while still enjoying all that legally sanctioned online sports betting has to offer.

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 that are legally sanctioned and operating legitimately within the industry. 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 sports betting laws in the US.

Top Rated Online Sportsbooks Legally Licensed For US Players

Each of the following sports betting sites is legally licensed and regulated offshore in a jurisdiction where sports betting is considered legal.  This allows them to legally accept American players. We have also vetted these destinations for compliance certification, reliability, quality of customer support, an efficiency of their banking suite, and more.

Betonline Sportsbook 50% Bonus

Site NameCurrent BonusU.S.Visit Site
Betonline Sportsbook50% Max $2,500USA Players AcceptedVisit Site
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Bovada Sportsbook50% Max $250USA Players AcceptedVisit Site
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The Legality of Sports Gambling in America

*Update* May 14th, 2018. The Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the PAPSA act violated the US constitution and ruled in favor of New Jersey in the New Jersey vs. NCAA case. As of now, it is unclear how this will affect sports betting in the USA, but it looks like states will have the option to decide if they want to offer domestic sports betting to their residents. This is a developing story, make sure to check back for further information regarding sports betting in the USA.

To put this as simply as possible, the legality of sports gambling in America is primarily focused on the owner/operators of gambling businesses and does not target individual bettors. In other words, there are laws prohibiting the operation of sportsbook in the US, but there are not any laws prohibiting American bettors from placing bets on sports through legally sanctioned bookmakers.  There are two primary US federal gambling laws that dictate what is and is not legal in the USA regarding sportsbook gambling.  PASPA, also known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, makes it illegal to own or operate a brick and mortar sportsbook anywhere in the United States with the exception of four specific states that were exempted from the law.  Those four states are Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana.  Of those four states, only Nevada offers full-service sports betting services.  If you want to place sports bets in person in the US, then you would have to travel to Nevada.

The Federal Wire Act prohibits anyone from operating an online sportsbook on US soil.  While it is illegal for anyone to run online sports betting site in the United States, this law does not prohibit American residents from placing bets online at legally licensed and regulated offshore sportsbooks.  Federal gambling laws in the USA do not have any reach or application for international bookmakers. Since PASPA and The Federal Wire Act deal only with the act of accepting sports bets, there are no federal laws preventing American citizens from placing bets, as long as the destination at which they are placing those bets is operating legally within the industry.  In 2011 the DOJ Formal Opinion on the Federal Wire Act clarified that its application only pertains to US-based online sports betting and is not applicable to an online casino, poker, lottery, bingo, or horse betting.

Is Online Sports Betting Actually Legal in the USA?

There are actually some online gambling sites that operate legally in the United States. After the Department of Justice reinterpreted the UIGEA in 2011, three states, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, took it upon themselves to legalize online casinos and online poker sites in their jurisdictions. However, the DOJ's formal opinion clarified that US-based online sportsbooks would remain prohibited across the nation.  At this time, it is illegal to own or operate an online sports betting site within US borders.  Offshore sports betting at legally sanctioned destinations that are licensed and subject to regulatory oversight is not prohibited in any of the federal gambling laws in the United States.  Only Washington State makes it a crime for its residents to gambling online. No other state specifically prohibits its citizens from gambling online at licensed offshore gambling sites.

Due to the federal prohibition on US-based online sports wagering, bettors in the United States have opted to place their bets with legal, US-friendly offshore sportsbooks. There is nothing illegal or questionable about this type of gambling entertainment.  These offshore sportsbooks offer attractive incentives, a wide range of betting lines, odds and wagering options, and are comparable to the odds offered at the Vegas bookmakers.  Their paylines are competitive as well.

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.

Will The Legal Status Of Sports Betting Ever Change In The United States?

While our crystal ball seems to come up short on this topic, we are confident that legal, US-based sportsbook gambling will expand throughout the United States.  The existing Supreme Court case involving New Jersey's efforts to legalize limited sports betting in their state will likely set a precedent for moving forward with legalized sports betting in the United States. Many states have already passed legislation that legalizes some form of sports betting in anticipation of a favorable outcome to the case for New Jersey. The professional sports leagues are actively lobbying in states as they attempt to secure a royalty fee to make sure they cash in on state-regulated sports betting when it happens.  All signs point towards an expansion of sports gambling entertainment in the United States.  Because it would require a nullification of both PASPA and the Federal Wire Act, we are skeptical that the changes would include US-based online sportsbooks initially, but we hope we're wrong on that.

Why Offshore Sportsbooks Are So Popular

Sportsbooks are definitely experiencing an uptick in their popularity, and this means more and more bookmakers are welcoming 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 access.  Technological advancements have made it possible to experience secure, high-quality sports betting through the Internet from our computers and our mobile devices. Technology provides the opportunity for sports events to be broadcast on a global scale, ensuring more of the world's population is engaged.  Most people cannot just drop what they're doing and run to Vegas to bet on a game, match, race or event. Most people can log on to an online sportsbook and place bets on sports events taking place on the other side of the world if they so choose. Technology has expanded the sports betting market to most corners of the world. In addition, online sportsbooks also offer inviting bonus offers and promotions that sweeten the deal quite a bit.

What We're Here to Do for U.S. Sports Gamblers

Our primary goal here at sports betting.legal is to offer a comprehensive and up to date guide about betting on sports legally throughout the world. Currently, we have a focus on helping players in the United States since it's one of the most confusing markets from a legal perspective.  However, in time we will cover many different countries with the goal of being a one-stop shop for anyone looking for reliable information about legal online sports betting. 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 and most reliable online sportsbooks with which to bet. It works out better for everyone that way.

So we're going to direct you to the leading offshore sportsbooks that are licensed and trustworthy, 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.