- U.S. Online Sports Betting Laws

Sports Betting Laws In The USA

Sports betting laws in the USA are complicated. There's no easy way to talk about the legality of placing sports bets in America. Fortunately for you, we've gathered all the pertinent details in one easy-to-read location. Here are answers to the most common questions about sports wagering laws in the United States.

All of the answers to these questions and laws that we have provided to you are important for you to understand. As we have said, the laws and bans surrounding sports betting in the United States is clouded, though hotly debated. People on both sides of the issue have strong opinions, and as it stands currently, the bans against betting sports online in the United States remain stronger. Though it really doesn't make sense because you can't watch a sports show, no not even SportsCenter on ESPN without mentioning about which teams are favored, and by how much. The fact of the matter is that despite some of the bans in place, there are legal ways to bet sports online, which will be mentioned as well here on this page. Look, sports betting is popular and continues to grow in popularity. And when there is demand, there will be a supply.

Below, we at have several questions and answers which will tell you all about the online sports betting statutes in the U.S. Read through the section and you will learn all you need to know about the laws surrounding legal online wagering in the United States.

UIGEA of 2006 - Wire Act of 1961 - PAPSA - State Laws - Age To Bet

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U.S. Legal Sports Betting Sites

Bovada Sportsbook

Bovada sportsbook is a site that our own writers and staff members use on a daily basis. Bovada is aimed at the North American market, which means that US players will find it very easy to fund their accounts, place bets, and withdraw their winnings. Bovada offers a decent match promotion that serves up 50% extra to as much as $250 as part of their sportsbook bonuses for U.S. players. Thanks to the fact that Bovada is aimed at US sports bettors, their customer service team speaks fluent English and is available toll-free and via live chat an email 24/7, even on holidays.

50% - $250 BONUS!

BetOnline Sportsbook

BetOnline is the other sportsbook that all of our USA-based writers and sports betting experts trust on a daily basis for wagers on sports, entertainment, and other types of sports-style wagering. Though BetOnline is not designed specifically for American gamblers, they accept bets from all 50 American states, and have customer service and U.S. friendly sports betting deposits to the American sports bettor. All the traditional bets Americans are used to are available at BetOnline, and the site offers its members a lifetime deposit match of 25% worth up to $900 for the life of their membership.

25% - $1,000

Frequently Asked Questions About U.S. Sports Betting Law

1) Does the UIGEA make online sports betting illegal?

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act does not make any sort of betting illegal. What it does is prevent certain financial institutions from processing deposits and withdrawals to and from sports betting sites that accept USA players. Nothing in the UIGEA explicitly makes these types of bets illegal - what it does is attempt to make online gambling from the USA impossible by preventing Americans from using their banks and credit cards to transfer money to and from betting sites.

2) Does the Wire Act make sports betting unsafe?

The Federal Wire Act was recently clarified to allow states the right to regulate and tax games of chance and games of skill on the Internet. States may now pass laws allowing for the licensure of online casinos, lotto sites, and poker rooms. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice still says the Wire Act makes sports betting on the Internet illegal. However, the government has made it plain that they're not after individual sports bettors, rather they're trying to take down illegal sports betting site hosts and operators. The Wire Act shouldn't make you feel unsafe; no one has ever gone to jail for placing a bet on sports based on the '61 Wire Act.

3) Can I go to jail for breaking the PAPSA law?

Like the Wire Act, PAPSA technically makes sports betting illegal in forty-six American state. But also like the Wire Act, PAPSA is not the kind of law used to arrest individual sports gamblers. PAPSA was designed to prevent sports betting operations on American soil, not as a way for the government to track down and arrest bettors that drop a few bucks on their favorite sporting events on the weekend. You should not fear jail time or fines based on PAPSA.

4) Is it legal to place sports bets in my state?

Because of a confusing lineup of federal and state laws, the legal status of sports betting in any given state is kind of up in the air. Aspects of the Wire Act of 1961 and PAPSA, passed in the 90s, appear to make sports gambling outside of four specific states totally illegal. However, some state laws also make ALL Internet wagering illegal, while others have moved to regulate online gambling. If you're unsure about the legal status of placing sports bets from your state, consult a legal professional to help you wade through the complex set of laws governing sports bets in the USA.

5) What is the legal betting age for sports betting online in the United States?

This is another question complicated by the sheer volume of legislation regarding online sports betting. On the one hand, you could say that there is no legal betting age for online sports bets in America, since the Wire Act and PAPSA make all sports bets illegal in most of the country. However, if you ignore the murky legal position of online sports betting in America altogether, it's safe to say that the legal betting age is either 18 or 21, depending on which American state you live in. Again, consult a lawyer for specific questions about online or sports betting law in your state.