Sports betting in the USA was a grey area for many years, but recent legal developments have paved the way for several states to open fully regulated sports gambling industries. However, there remain a few federal blockades when it comes to online gaming and wagering.
So how can US citizens have a punt on sports online with safety and security? Read on to find out.
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Betting laws in the U.S.
For years there was a common misconception that online gambling in the United States was completely illegal. This was perpetuated by two pieces of Federal legislation: the Wire Act and the UIGEA.
The Federal Wire Act of 1961 prohibits bank wires or transfers of information between states for the purposes of sports gambling. This was designed to foil organised crime syndicates that conducted much of their unlicensed gambling operations via telephone. The US Department of Justice once declared the Wire Act did not apply to online gambling, but that opinion was reversed under the Trump administration.
The UIGEA – the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 – does not prohibit online gambling per se. 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.
There was also PASPA – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 – which prohibited gambling on sport in all but a handful of states. The US Supreme Court struck down this piece of legislation in May 2018, thus opening the door for several states to legalize sports betting.
States you can bet online in
While more and more US states are now moving to legalize sports betting, only a few have legislation that permits online gambling:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Delaware legalized online gambling in 2012, while New Jersey and Nevada followed suit in 2013. These states now licence and regulate online betting operators to ensure quality, fairness and player safety.
Several other states – including Mississippi, New Mexico and Rhode Island – have regulated sports betting industries and could legalize online gambling in the near future, so watch this space.
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.
More articles about the USA
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