USA punters unfamiliar with the online betting world often have questions about the legalities of these bets. They may be familiar with the legality of bets placed in well-known gaming jurisdictions, such as riverboat casinos or the big gaming floors in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, but not comfortable with questions about the legitimacy of laying wagers online.
The answer to questions about Internet gambling legality is complex, and depends on at least three different factors:
- Local (State or Regional) Gambling Laws
- Federal Gambling Laws
- Licensure and Regulation of Gambling Websites
Bettors in some parts of the United States contend with state laws that explicitly outlaw wagering over the Internet – for these people, placing bets over an Internet connection is technically illegal, though instances of state action against individual bettors is very rare. If there are no state or regional laws that apply to a bettor’s jurisdiction, they must then look to the federal level.
The US gambling market is one of the largest in the world and contains some further legal complications. Though it is not explicitly illegal for individual Americans to place wagers over the Web, it is illegal for some financial institutions to make funds transfers to “known gambling operations.” These restrictions make it slightly more complicated for US bettors to fund their accounts but not to legally participate in online gaming.
Other countries besides the United States have laws against the practice of placing any type of bet over an Internet connection. Gamblers concerned with the legal status of an online sportsbook or casino betting should consult a legal professional familiar with gaming law in their jurisdiction.
Obviously, the use of a online betting site that’s legal, holding a current license to provide Web-based gaming, and under regulation by a third party is a factor in the legality of wagering via an Internet connection – sites that follow the rules and post appropriate information regarding their legal status are easy to find and make their auditing details public and easy to access. Illegal gaming sites don’t offer this information and are to be avoided.