Sports Betting Laws In The United States
Think of this section as our 'public announcement'. While online sports betting can legally be done by USA players rather easily, in the interest of being thorough and covering the issue completely, we want to address sports betting laws in the United States at the federal and state levels. The federal laws are the main issues here, because they do extend to both land-based and online gambling extending across the country. But states play a role as well, highlighted by the legal age to bet, plus various local laws that could come into play in your area.
Discussed below will be a montage of legal concepts in layman's terms, because at the heart of the betting laws in the country pertaining to sports, it's actually quite simple to understand. The reason why online sports betting can still be done legally is explained in these laws as well. As such, we felt it was necessary to dedicate a page to the explanation of important USA betting laws to give a complete understanding of the legal status of USA betting sites today.
The three federal laws that we are going to talk about are the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the Federal Wire Act, and the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act. All of these laws attack sports gambling from a different angles, yet online sports betting is still very safe to do especially if you know why...
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
Targeting online gambling businesses and site operation, the UIGEA states that these entities are no longer allowed to knowingly engage in allowing funds to be transferred to or from the site for a bet that is made. As an attachment to the Safe Port Act, the UIGEA was not the main law voted in at the time that is was passed. It was a mere attachment to a very popular law, which is a reason behind its inclusion in such a vote.
There are stark positions on both sides of the UIGEA, even in Washington. Some have called for its repeal, but as of now it still has the support it needs for the time being. It was passed back in 2006 and was the primary law behind 'Black Friday' in 2008 when the government seized more than 100 U.S.-based gambling websites.
But while it bans site operation, the UIGEA actually has language within the context of the law that excludes the intermediary computer. In other words, bettors who place the online wager are still allowed to do so, just not at a U.S betting site. This is where offshore sites come into play, and the backbone behind the legality of an online sports betting site for U.S. players.
Federal Wire Act
Stop organized crime. That was the original intent of the Federal Wire Act passed back in 1961. Decades later though, that intent has been shifted... In today's age, organized crime is more of a thing of the past, and to make it more relevant a 2011 ruling said that the law applies only to sports betting. Sure, sports betting might take a hit from outward appearance, but the Wire Act is essentially the same type of law that the UIGEA is where it relates to businesses, not bettors. For the American sports bettor, it's great news. For betting sites though, it's not good news at all.
The transmission of bets or wagers, or the aiding in a bet or wager through the use of wire communication in any form is banned for betting businesses under the Wire Act. Businesses in the gambling industry in the U.S. take the biggest hit. Bettors continue to skate free.
Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act
Land-based sports betting is the primary focus of the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act. Passed back in 1991, and implemented in 1992, this law banned sports betting in the country, trying to protect the integrity of sports across the U.S.
Not all was completely lost however. You can probably guess that based on the fact that there is still sports betting that can be done in the U.S. Most all of you know about the sportsbooks in Las Vegas, which are completely legal to place a wager.
If a state had been operating licensed gaming for at least 10 years, they were able to apply for what was essentially immunity under this law. You might think that many wanted to take advantage of this, but the opposite was true. At the end of the day, there were just four. Nevada was obviously one of them, as was Montana, Delaware, and Oregon. One might think that New Jersey would have been one, but they chose not to participate.
The legal age to gamble is the most well-known state law decided by them. But many would argue the fact that all gambling-related activities should be decided by the states, and whether or not they want to be included in having licensed gaming. There are actually many in Washington with this view as well. That is not the case currently for sports betting, though come poker rooms and casinos online are making progress for advocates of the practice.
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