Legal sports betting is allowed in many countries in the world, however in the U.S. the laws are downright prudish on these matters. We shall now look at the U.S. legislation for betting online.
According to American federal law, all kinds of Internet gambling is basically illegal in the U.S. Even if the 2002 Wire Act does not clearly prohibit internet wagering, the American Justice Department consider that it covers all forms of gambling. A new enforcement act on Internet gambling from 2006 explained and expanded the 2002 Wire Act, bringing on more constrictions for the Internet sports betting and gambling sites. According to the FBI website it is illegal to place cyber bets on sporting events inside the U.S. as well as wagering offshore for the U.S. residents. The only recreational interests allowed are some fantasy leagues and some free online games.
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Current federal regulations however do not stop individual American states from passing their own legislation that is superseding federal statutes. The result of this situation has been state by state rules that, for example, disallow online casino games and poker but may allow legal sports betting on horses. Online gambling is officially legalized in three states: Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. Other states such as Pennsylvania and California have online gaming proposals.
There are some visible efforts to legalize online gaming and sports betting at the Federal level. A Republican Congressman from New York, Peter King has introduced the Consumer Protection Act of 2013 on Internet Gambling Regulation. This bill is trying to create a common federal standard for legal sports betting and online gambling.
Fantasy Sports the Only Legal Sports Betting Option?
For now, the only offering area in the gaming arena are Fantasy Sports, dominated by CBS Sports, YAHOO Fantasy Sports, and ESPN. The niche of online fantasy sports is divided between the daily fantasy sports and season long fantasy sports. The daily fantasy sports are preferred by gamblers because they offer instant gratifications. Daily fantasy sports allow you to design your team and place your wager. This is still considered a niche in the sports betting industry but already covers football, basketball, PGA MLB, NHL, NBA, and NFL sports. However, the debates surrounding the issue of legalizing online wagering in the U.S. still focus on the unintended consequences. In the meantime, season long fantasy sports in Canada and the U.S. together have already around 32 million estimated players, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Season.
In our opinion, it is inevitable to have a federal law approving online sports betting and internet gambling, sooner or later. As more and more American states will ratify their own legislation, the pressure will intensify nationally to impose a federal law for uniformity. Gambling is a primordial human instinct, and the endgame for the states is revenue generation.
For now, the legality of Internet gambling and sports betting still appears to be a complex issue for U.S. residents. Even the lawyers have disagreements regarding what the law actually says. Until all these issues are cleared up, the issue is going to be confusing for gamblers. In order to better understood the question of online sports betting and Internet gambling legality we can take a look back at the history of the U.S. anti-gambling.
The United States argued for a number of years against legalizing online sports betting and Internet gambling by citing the Wire Act of 1961, which was passed long ago, before the Internet era. In order to interdict sports betting between states by using the telephone. However, a number of legal experts questioned whether or not this law pertained to the online sports betting and gambling, after the Internet had been invented.
Another question about the Wire Act of 1961 was whether or not the law pertained just on wagering on sporting events or to all forms of gambling. In 2002, the U.S. Court decided that the Wire Act was only pertinent to sporting events. However, the U.S. Justice Department interpreted the law differently and started to apply the Wire Act to all forms of Internet gambling. But, in 2011 the Department of Justice reversed its position and issued a ruling that states the Wire Act relates only on sports betting.
US Legislation and Online Gambling
The American Congress passed in 2006 another Bill which prohibits Americans using electronic funds for online sports betting and Internet gambling. Even if the act deals only with how online gambling is funded and not with the actual betting, it leaves it virtually impossible to finance online gambling accounts.
In 2009 the four major American sports leagues, the NHL, NFL, NBA, and the NCAA rallied together in order to push shutting down the plan of Delaware to offer legalized sports betting.
For now, the only option for American residents who want to enjoy legal sports betting online is to wager at offshore sportbooks. However, those who want to take advantage of this option have to be aware of the fact that according to the FBI website it is illegal to place cyber bets on sporting events at offshore wagering websites. You also have to be careful because there are some rogue offshore sportbook websites and others have slow payout times. Among the most reliable offshore spoortbooks in 2016 are Betonline, and Bovada.
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