Online Sports Gambling Laws


fencingPrior to delving into the world of sports betting online, many people stop to wonder if they are breaking any state or local laws. In most states, and even the federal government, have legislation about whether its legal or not to gamble online.

Who Regulates Sports Betting?

The regulations of gambling in the US were entirely discretionary per state until recently. The start of online gambling created confusion about jurisdiction. Who runs the laws of cyberspace? Most current gambling laws were meant to apply to general gambling laws, long before the internet existed. Thus the application of those laws to online gambling are open to broad interpretation.

US Regulation of Sports Betting

Most people ask “Is it legal to run a ports betting operation offshore and take action from clients in the US?” The US will most likely argue it is not legal. However, no bills have yet been passed to prevent any such activities from happening. In recent years, attempts to pass bills of this sort have failed.

The government has placed responsibility of gambling legislation at the hands of individual states. Some states have considered legalizing online gambling but have failed. Some states also have added legislation that prohibits the advertising of online casino (Illinois is one such state). Only three states – Nevada, Louisiana and California prohibit citizens from betting beyond state borders. Such laws are loosely enforced. In fact, most states consider gambling violations misdemeanors with the majority focusing on operators as opposed to the gamblers themselves. To avoid breaking US laws, most internet sportsbooks are located offshore in foreign countries along with their servers!

To be clear, the US government has been trying to pass legislation to deal with the regulation of online gambling. But, because there are so many grey areas regarding who has authority over cyberspace activities, these attempts have been unsuccessful in passing. It’s becoming clear that the US will not be able to effectively legislate online gambling as of now but that’s not to say what the future may hold…

So, Can I Bet Sports Legally?

The simple answer is there is an explicit law against online betting in only three states – Nevada, California, and Louisiana. Even so, NO American citizen has been arrested for betting on the internet as of yet. Again, that’s not to say what the future may bring…

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