Residents of the United States have to pay special attention to various laws regarding sports betting operations. This is a very complex issue on the western side of the globe, be it horse racing, legal sports gambling, or online gambling.

There are many disagreements about what the sports betting laws actually say and how to interpret them. Until all of the concerning and cloudy issues are resolved, and everybody has clarification, we are forced to interpret them in our way.

In order to understand the issue of the legality a bit better, the best thing we can do now is to take a quick peek at the anti-gambling legislation history.

What Does Federal Regulation Say?

As for Internet gambling, the Interstate Wire Act has been adopted in the United States, which prohibits sports gambling via telephone or any other wire devices.

Now, at the time this law was created, there wasn’t even a trace of the Internet. Having this in mind, numerous legal experts questioned the Wire Act and its connections to online gambling and the websites which offer sports betting.

Yet another question emerged: is this law pertained to every form of gambling or just the sports wagers?

The year was 2002, and the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling. The main topic was the lawsuit that brought two online gamblers on one side, and the credit card companies on the other. The gamblers’ issue was the fact that they run up in debts after they placed a bet on online casino games one after another. The lawsuit ended up as a dismissed one. The court ruling stated that the Wire Act was only applicable to sports events. Is Louisiana the only state that understood the Wire Act in this manner?

Well, in 2006, Congress passed the SAFE Port Act that covered the US ports security. However, it was attached to the legislation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This one prohibited US citizens from using credit cards, checks, or electronic fund transfer to finance online gambling activities.

Restricted Financial Transactions

There is one thing you should bear in mind here, though. The Gambling Enforcement Act only deals with the way Internet gambling actions are funded. They do not say anything about the actual betting. After the act was adopted, Lawrence Walters, a gaming attorney, stated in an interview for PBS NewsHour that the bill has nothing to do with the players’ activity. It is centered on restricting electronic financial transactions.

At the same time and in the same interview, Keith Whyte, the executive director of the National Council of Problem Gambling, agreed with the previous statement and added that this bill is interesting. The bill itself doesn’t make online gambling illegal. It merely makes your wager funding unlawful.

Many sources had confirmed that despite the laws, up to this point, no individual has been charged with using online sports betting sites to place a bet.

States That Allow Sports Betting

 Sports Betting

Last year, in May, the US Supreme Court reversed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, better known as PASPA. This decision opened the door for many US states to try and pass their legislation so that they can authorize sports betting. PASPA enabled Nevada to continue the sports betting the way this state already operated, so it didn’t require any additional fresh legislation.

Additional six states decided to board on time, with their legislation. In 2019, many more will pass their completely new gambling laws.

Currently, legal sports betting exists in some form in all of these states, so you can go ahead and relax while you try your luck here. If you are in Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, you can place your sport bets without any problem whatsoever.

However, this isn’t final, just temporarily. Many predict that over the next couple of years, twenty other states will follow this example, one of which will be California.

Is It Illegal Across the Pond?

Our sources claimed that the only way for the US bettors to play is to do so offshore, while we are talking about online gambling. The casinos of this type are based in Netherlands Antilles and Antigua. The way they take deposits is to process them under international codes. This left them with a loyal and significant number of followers.

Even though the authorities never chased after individual players, they did, however, charge the online casino operators. In 2012, Forbes mentioned that the federal authorities charged Calvin Ayre, who is the founder of Bodog. This company operates and owns Bovada. In 2017, five years later, the feds dropped most of the charges against Ayre. This was after he pled guilty to some smaller charge.

Seventeen individuals were charged with running an illegal gambling ring in the US back in 2013. Their operations were primarily based in the United States, and this is illegal. However, online gambling houses are pretty much legal across the pond.

Another example is Antigua and Barbuda that filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization in 2003. This one was against the United States, based on the Government’s prohibition of online gambling. Antigua and Barbuda claimed that this violated their WTO membership rights. Eventually, the US lost, Antigua and Barbuda won. The United States had to pay $1 million in damages, as the ruling wasn’t enough.

Yes, it is much easier if you happen to live on the east side of our planet, but with all these new bills and laws passing the Congress, the chances never looked better than they do now. Hopefully, more than twenty states will amend their laws, so we wouldn’t have to bang our head against the wall in order to figure out how and where to place our sports bets. After all, is sports betting really that different than the state lottery? They are both games of chances, but we don’t see the authorities chasing after the granny with the lottery ticket now, do we?

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