Can I Get Arrested For Online Sports Wagering?
Online sports gambling in the United States does not come without rules and regulations... that much we can say for sure. But if done properly, there are plenty of great and legal betting sites that allow players from the U.S. to create an account and bet on all of the available lines that they have going. But still, with the fact that there are laws at the federal and state level against sports betting, it begs the questions relating to consequences of doing so. No one wants to get in trouble for doing some illegal, and furthermore, no one wants to get in trouble for something they thought was legal, but was not.
There are penalties that players in the U.S. need to be aware of when it comes to betting sports online, but fortunately, they are very easy to stick to. In other words, the likelihood of jail time for betting at an online sportsbook is zero if you do so the right way. This most notably refers to the operation of a sports betting site, and ensuring that you are the proper age to do so.
Will I Get In Trouble For Making A Bet Online? Make Sure Age Requirements Are Met!
There are only a couple of different ways in which you can get in trouble for betting online. Let's start with the actual process of making a wager. Online sportsbook accepting American players allow U.S. residents to sign up for accounts at their site. This is legal to do. But the requirement that must be met on behalf of the player's side to avoid trouble is the gambling age. The gambling age at USA betting sites is not flexible, nor is the gambling age in your state.
In fact, many times the website and state age requirement overlap which means both ages need to be met, or in essence, the higher of the two. That will almost always be in the state because there are many in which the gambling age is 21, but on most betting sites the age is 18.
As far as the penalties that you will be looking at for gambling underage, it can vary. This is because states have different sanctions that can be placed.
Can I Go To Jail For Underage Gambling?
It's unlikely that a bettor will receive any time in jail for underage gambling, but the extent of the crime could warrant such an action. What players who gamble underage are most likely looking at in terms of a penalty is a fine, closure of an account along with funds that were won, plus the potential for probation and community service. This is pretty standard punishment when in violation of this sports betting law when wagering online.
What Part Of Online Sports Gambling Is Illegal?
The other side of the equation has to do with the operation of a betting site, which is illegal under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the Federal Wire Act. This is where more trouble awaits those, because operating a gambling site that is not state-regulated is a felony. Here, jail time and serious consequences can be had, but at the very least very steep fines and sanctions. There are already examples in the past, such as 2008 where many gambling sites were seized by the federal government. More than $700 million had to be paid in penalties stemming from those seizures.
As a bettor though, you are safe so long as you do not gamble underage. If you meet the gambling age requirements, then you have met your end of the bargain. There is no federal law banning a bet that is made on sports from the player's perspective.
Local Sports Gambling Laws + Statutes
There is the potential for local laws to come in effect for online gambling as well, which players would be wise to consult a local attorney for any questions that they might indeed have as to betting online in their state.
Safe Online Sportsbooks That Are Open To Legal U.S. Residents