The most frequent question we get from Americans is:
Is it legal to bet online in the United States?
As of 2013, the answer to that is yes - depending on where you live.
There are laws that make sports betting illegal in most states. Old laws that are heavy handed enough that they kept states like New Jersey – who happens to offer legal online gambling – from being able to offer sports betting.
However, after PASPA was repealed, more and more states in the US are opening up and allowing online cricket betting in states which has it regulated.
As of writing this, over 20 states have legalized online betting in the US, and many more are likely to sign it into law the coming years.
So if you are new to this and eager to learn then let’s get started.
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Note that you are only allowed to bet on cricket at the above betting sites if you are in a state that have legalized online sports betting. Make sure that you check your local laws and are sure the state you are in allows for online betting before you start.
There are a couple laws that make sports betting, online or otherwise, illegal here in the United States.
The first is the Wire Act of 1961.
This law prohibits how bets are made – namely by phone – which makes it a bit outdated in the day and age of cell phones and internet.
Here’s a snippet of The Wire Act:
“The term “wire communication facility” means any and all instrumentalities, personnel, and services (among other things, the receipt, forwarding, or delivery of communications) used or useful in the transmission of writings, signs, pictures, and sounds of all kinds by aid of wire, cable, or other like connection between the points of origin and reception of such transmission.”
It’s hard to say if this applies to the internet since it was made way before the internet existed. You could make an argument that it does.
Either way, it’s never been used to go after sports bettors.
There’s also the PASPA – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
This passed in the early 1990’s. It limited what states could allow sports betting within its borders. A few states were grandfathered in; this included Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana.
Those are the two biggest laws that apply to sports betting. There’s one more law, but it applies to banking. More on that in a few seconds.
One last point to make –
Even though the laws above may or may not make (online) sports betting illegal.
Again, we’re not lawyers
Each state also has their own laws which may or may not make sports betting okay. The only way to know for sure is to check your local laws, and perhaps speak with an attorney.
Are you wondering how people can bet online anyway – especially if it’s looked down up and/or even illegal in the states?
It’s pretty simple, really.
Most, if not all laws, target companies and not the customers.
The one exception I can think of offhand are in the legal states like Nevada or New Jersey – or upcoming states like California – that have laws that say customers are at fault for playing at off shore casinos.
Otherwise the laws speak to companies. And all companies that continue to accept US players are offshore. They’re out of the country, located in UK, Costa Rica or parts of Asia. Places the USA has no jurisdiction in.
Meaning …the US – as far as I know – cannot do anything about them.
On top of that most offshore sportsbooks use non .com domain names – like .lv and .eu. That’s because the US apparently has jurisdiction over .com domains, which is how they got ahold of PokerStars, Full Tilt, and all the others back in April 2011 (the day dubbed ‘Black Friday’).
That’s the simple version anyway.
Now with the PASPA being repealed and plenty of states legalizing online betting, many Americans are able to get started risk-free.
Before you needed to engage in risky behaviour with offshore betting sites if you wanted to bet online, but now you can find reputable companies like Caesars, DraftKings and many others that offer legal online betting in the USA.
Although it depends on which state you are in, the process is usually quite simple:
There is more to it than that, but it gets the basic point across on what steps is needed to get started with online betting.
The bottom line – things are looking much better in the United States. And I’d bet it is only gonna keep improving for more and more states.
So for those of you that are fortunate enough to live in a state that has already legalized: enjoy and good luck!
To the rest of you: