Legal Online Sports Betting

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Each state law regarding betting sports online all have one thing in common: They will not prosecute the bettor for doing it on an offshore site. Some state laws prohibit you from betting with an unlicensed bookie, or even betting online inside the country. Offshore is either not prohibited or the law is written so vaguely as the bettor, you shouldn’t feel too concerned about it. It’s not for nothing that nobody has ever been prosecuted for betting sports online with an offshore site.

Of course, there are some other inherent risks you take by betting with sites outside the country. If the site folds up you have no recourse. If they turn out to be shady and don’t pay you, what can you do? The laws may keep you from being penalized just from doing it it, but there is nothing protecting you should anything go awry. This makes it imperative to put your research in and really see which online sites are legit and worth giving your action to. There are a lot of sites out there but only a handful of them are extremely popular.

Even though each state law varies as to what will happen to you for betting sports with a bookie or online within the country, you probably would not be prosecuted for anything as the government is mainly interested in going after those running the site. It takes a lot of time to go through the processes of prosecuting people and it costs a ton of money to do. That said, would it be worth taking the risk? That is something that remains up to the individual. Regardless, it would be very unwise at this point to start a sports betting site in the United States. Since it is illegal it is only a matter of time before it gets shut down and everybody loses anyway. The knowledge of this risk would deter most people from wanting to sign up anyway when they believe they can find a reputable offshore site.

History of Online Sports Betting

The emergence of Internet gambling took a while to get itself going but it started during the 1990s. Antigua and Barbuda were small Caribbean countries that created a free trade zone 1994 which permitted United States bookies to take bets via phone calls for horse racing and other sports. Since they were doing this offshore, the laws against gambling that had been established for years were irrelevant. By 1995, gambling software was now fully developed and ready for the next step.

A site called Gambling Club was the first out there although at first real money wasn’t being wagered. You could engage in certain casino games just for fun. A site called Intertops Casino began coming up with odds on games and had toll free phone numbers available for people to call their bets in. Another site called InterCasino was the first of all the sites that allowed you actually place your bet online. This was in 1996. From this point on, more and more sites started popping up. Over the next few years the number of sites reached the dozens and then the hundreds. All of which were based in either European or Caribbean countries where it was legal.

The more sites there were the more money was pouring in. Internet gambling was clearly something people had been wanting for a long time whether they knew it or not. By 2002 the number of gambling sites set up was in the thousands and generating revenue in the billions, compared to only hundreds of millions a few years earlier. The Internet gambling fad spread to poker by the late 90s and other games. The party went on until October of 2006 once the UIGEA was passed which brought everything to a screeching halt.


One of several turning points to take place concerning Internet gambling started in 2006 with the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Up until this point, Internet gambling of all forms was essentially a free for all. Any supposed law was not being enforced and Americans were doing whatever they wanted.

The UIGEA was designed to regulate Internet gambling and prevent anybody who had been operating an online gambling site from transacting any money to or from the site from would be gamblers. Any previous gambling activity that had been illegal or legal remained illegal or legal. The passing of this act shook up everything. Once it was, online gambling stocks instantly plummeted, losing over half of their value. As one would expect, a lot of companies vacated the United States. 

State and Federal Attorney Generals were granted authority to stop those operating unlawful Internet gambling with no require of proving criminal activity. The Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve board were also required to regulate inside of 9 months after enactment, accepting that financial systems will intercept payments for Internet gambling.

The UIGEA did not actually close down any sportsbooks, it was effectively a massive road block for getting money in and out of online sites. Instead of regulating all the Internet gambling that’s been going on and taxing it to make a profit, all it did was force everything into the underground world. Gambling was obviously still going to commence, except now more than ever it has to be done chaotically and age no longer matters.

One of the main purposes of the UIGEA was to protect Americans from having their money stolen from the websites. The UIGEA was proposing the sites could do that any time they wanted. Regardless of how true that was it would make no sense for these gambling sites to do that from a business standpoint seeing as they would just keep making a lot more money long term by doing the job they advertise.

The UIGEA was also added to the end of what was known as the SAFE Port Act. This was created to set up a Domestic Nuclear Detection Office in the Department of Homeland Security as well other means to stiffen security maritime.

Nevada Sports Betting Apps

Since Nevada is one of the few states that allows land based sports betting, in the last few years its availability has expanded because of the emergence of smart phones. With the use of sports betting apps on mobile phones, gamblers can make bets from anywhere within Nevada state boundaries. The apps are not their own independent gambling sites. They are directly affiliated with the casinos that you can just walk into. Basically, the board in the sportsbook is now viewable on your phone. Other than that, it is the same thing. The lines are synchronized and you do all the depositing and cashing out inside the casino itself whom the app is affiliated with. There is no shady activity to fear or any possibility of the app folding up without giving you notice leaving you with no recourse. The apps are created by CG Technology, William Hill, NV Sports Books, Boyd Gaming, Aliante Casino, MGM, and Stations Casinos’ Sports Connections.

Montana and Oregon are 2 of the other 3 states where sports betting is legal. This is a lesser known fact to the average bettor since they have not been active in running sportsbooks. Delaware, however, is. The laws are far less flexible than Nevada where you can bet on just about anything. Delaware does not take bets on every sport and you cannot make straight bets. In the fact, the only sports Delaware takes bets on is NFL and it must be in the form of at least a 3-team parlay. The 3 locations that accept sports betting legally are Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway and Casino’s Murphy Race/Sportsbook and Grill, and Dover Downs Hotel and Casino Race and Sportsbook. There are no apps linked up to any of them.