Sports betting in the USA is a grey area at best. There are very few states which have legalised online wagering and the country is one of the most serious when it comes to enforcing rules. The United States has some of the most antiquated laws surrounding online gambling with some dating back almost 50 years.
With all of this taken into account the four states with regulated online sports betting industries are Delaware, Nevada, Oregon and Montana. This is because they had laws in place when the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act came in across the country – effectively banning sports betting.
This means the majority of the USA is forced to wager at offshore bookies, but rest assured there are plenty of safe and reliable options, including Bovada and BetOnline, our no.1 and 2 bookies for sports bettors in the USA.
So how can U.S. citizens have a punt on sport’s online with safety and security?
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Betting laws in the U.S.
There is a common misconception that online gambling in the United States is completely illegal. This misconception is perpetuated by two pieces of Federal legislation: the wire act and the UIGEA.
The Federal Wire Act, 1961, prohibits bank wires or transfers of information between states for the purposes of sports gambling.
The UIGEA – or the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 – does not prohibit online gambling perse. However it does make it a crime for any financial institution to knowingly fund online gambling in any way. This limits your average American punter’s choices for transferring and withdrawing funds.
Of course there are side steps and ways around these pieces of legislation. The Federal government has even gone so far as to state that not all forms of online gambling is illegal, just sports betting.
Hence the reason all online sports gambling providers are off-shore from the United States.
States you can bet online in
At this point in time, three U.S. states have legislation legalizing online gambling. New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. Delaware legalized online gambling in 2012, while New Jersey and Nevada passed state legislation legalizing online gambling in 2013.
These states now licence online gambling operators, ensuring fairness and player safety to their residents who indulge in online gambling.
There are predictions that New Jersey’s online gambling takings will come close to $500 million in 2017.
Sportsbook deposits and withdrawals
Given the complexity of American legislation prohibiting transfers to fund an online gambling company/account, transferring funds to an online bookie can be difficult and fraught with peril. That is why it’s important to wager with certain sites that have a good reputation.
The USA is of the few countries in the world that stop people wagering at offshore bookmakers by blocking their financial transactions. This means that some bookies will accept your card one day, only to find it won’t work a few days later. But it is improving all the time as bookies get smarter.
While the main way to deposit funds is still Visa, there are several other methods that are popular including MasterCard, Bank Wire, Check, MoneyGram and several others we don’t recommend using.
Withdrawing money from your betting account is much harder in the USA than it is in other places. It is generally done by sending out a check or making a bank transfer to your account. There is usually hard caps on how much you can withdraw from a US betting site per month. You can read more about each website and their banking limitations in their individual reviews.
Popular US sports to bet on
Some of the most popular sports to bet on in America are:
NFL: comprises of 32 teams. The regular season kicks off on Labor Day and runs through to the week after Christmas. Then the playoffs culminate in the Super Bowl.
MLB: comprises of 30 teams. The regular season starts in April and runs through to October. Then the post season begins, culminating in the World Series.
NHL: comprises of 30 teams. The regular season starts in October and runs through to April, when the Playoffs for the Stanley Cup begin.
NBA: comprises of 30 teams. The regular season runs from October through to April, when the Playoffs for the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy.
MMA: the two most popular MMA leagues to bet on are the UFC and Bellator MMA.
MLS:comprises of 20 teams. The regular season runs from March to October before the Playoffs begin for the MLS Cup.
Horse racing: Thoroughbred racing in the USA largely centres around the prestigious Triple Crown, although it happens all year round. It is not as popular to wager on as it is in other places in the world, but expect this to change as more states regulate gambling.