Legal Sports Betting In The United States

Sports betting on the Internet is becoming widely available, with the increase in technology. But, many question it's legality. While we are not legal professionals, we are players and have done our research. This page exists to educate you on the realistic aspect of wagering sports online as opposed to providing strict legal definitions. You may not want to take our word for it (in which case we'd recommend consulting professional counsel), but we just want to show you what we know from first hand experience. You can learn all you want from a book but until you do it, you probably won't fully grasp the concept which is why we want to make this as real as possible to help bridge that gap.

Below, we've explained what we know and how it is applied. We've also recommended several betting sites that take U.S. players that are safe to use. It's worth noting that these sites can offer all forms of legal online gambling including horse wagers, casino games, and online poker.

Is It Legal To Bet On Sports In The US?

At this time, it is only currently legal to bet on sports in licensed bookmakers in several states when placing a wager WITHIN the U.S. Please notice the emphasis on "within" because that applies to wagers made between two parties inside the United States' borders... not necessarily when placing a bet with an online sportsbook located in another country.

Despite the recent change in attitude towards legalized online gambling at the state level, sports gambling still fall into a gray area which is why sticks to the sportsbooks that have always been open to players in the U.S., many of which can be viewed further down this page.

Top Legal Sports Betting Sites Accepting American Wagers

Remember, this site is written by people who actually use the sportsbooks (casinos and poker sites too) that we recommend on this site. We started out as newbies and learned the ropes the hard way. With our recommendations, we hope you can avoid the pitfalls we encountered and jump straight into what makes betting sports online so awesome. There are other places to bet on sports, besides the ones we list below, however we can not attest to their quality and trustworthiness.

Bovada Sports - No Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, or Nevada Allowed :(

If you're looking the site that has more betting odds on major sporting events than any other bookmaker, look no further than Bovada.

Having come into the game with a solid reputation in the industry (and it's only grown), this sportsbook offers players a wide variety of ways to make wagers including straight wagers, future odds, props, live betting and more. Plus, Bovada's sports betting bonus gives as much as $250 thanks to a 50% match of the first deposit.

Bettors in the U.S. are free to join and make wagers on the NFL, NBA, college sports, soccer and so much more here. Bovada does everything in their power to make it safe for players in the U.S. while keeping things easy.

USA Deposit Methods: VISA, Wire Transfers, Prepaid Cards

USA Payout/Withdrawal Methods: Check Thru Mail/Courier, Wire Transfer

BetOnline - Bet On The NFL, NBA, MLB, College Athletics, UFC, Golf, Tennis & More

With something for everyone (literally, everyone in the U.S.), BetOnline is sure to please those who have a lot of experience with betting and also with those who have never bet before. That's because it's laid exceptionally well and is easy enough to understand without being too dumbed down so that avid bettors can't use all of the sportsbook's functionality. Parlays, pleasers, teasers, if bets, and other types of wagers plus live in-game betting is also available here. BetOnline is built for the long haul and nothing is more evident of that than the fact that they have a lifetime bonus promotion in which users get reload bonuses for life that are worth up to $900 on each deposit. This comes by way of a 15% (for credit cards) or a 25% (for other methods) match bonus and there is no limit to the amount of times you can collect it. Use codes CCBONUS and TXBONUS for the 15% or 25% varieties respectively.

USA Deposit Methods: VISA, AmEx, Prepaid Options, Wire Transfers, Bank Wires

USA Payout / Withdrawal Methods: Bank Wires, Checks/Money Orders, Wire Transfer - All 50 U.S. States Accepted; Lifetime 15%-50% To $1,000 Bonuses

SportsBetting is one of the great sports betting sites that players from the U.S. have to choose from, offering bettors a ton of great sports odds that are usually available before other sites, this sportsbook aims to be fast and efficient. When it comes to their deposit bonuses, SportsBetting is almost second to none, offering either a 15% or 25% reload bonus (to $900) on every deposit made into your account. The amount of the match will depend on what deposit method you use. If you use a credit card, you will get a 15% bonus when using the code "SBCARD". All other deposit methods get a 25% match but the code used is slightly different "SBCASH". Sportsbetting allows users to make deposits with most major credit cards including American Express and VISA plus Mastercard can be unlocked after a player has earned trust with the book. If cards fail, players will have no trouble finding another method that will allow users to make deposits with cards or cash.

USA Deposit Methods: VISA, AmEx, Wire Transfers, Prepaid Cards, Mastercard (after time), Book to Book

USA Payout / Withdrawal Methods: Check Thru Mail/Courier, Wire Transfer

Reviews Of Legal Betting Sites
Deposit Bonuses
Live Bets?
Visit Sportsbook
Bovada Sportsbook Review $250 Max - 50% Match Yes Go To Bovada
BetOnline Sportsbook Review $1,000 Max - 50% Match Yes Go To BetOnline Review $1,000 Max - 50% Match Yes Go To Sportsbetting

Sports Betting Laws

As we said above, there are actually laws in place, both state and on the federal level that dis-allow online sports betting but they do nothing to hold the user accountable. In reality, they are to scare player away from betting real money on sports and many legal analyists debate whether they even apply to the bettor but rather the companies that accept wagers from U.S. residents. Below are the laws which you need to consider when betting on sports:

Wire Act - This is the main player when it comes to betting online as it deals directly with electronic bets or those made through "wire" communications. While deemed not to apply to casinos or poker, sports betting is the only form of gambling this law enforces. However, with most online sports betting operations outside of the U.S. and this law not being applied to it's citizens, the U.S. pretty much does nothing about betting on sports until games start being fixed or some type of fraud is occuring like with online poker's Black Friday.

PASPA - The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 pretty much just says that sports betting is only allowed in four states; Oregon, Montana, Delaware and of course, Nevada. Lately it's been under pressure to be repealed so that other states can take advantage of the lucrative market of regulated and taxed sports betting.

Right now, all of the sports betting action outside those four states as well as a lot within them is going online where PASPA has no jurisdiction, where betting isn't regulated, and where it cannot be taxed. In fact, the only online betting PASPA can go after are unapproved, online sports betting operations that are based in the U.S. for which other gambling laws already that aspect covered.

UIGEA - If your credit card deposit gets declined, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act would be why. It forbid banks in the U.S. from facilitating transactions with known online gambling sites. It only affects the user but it is illegal for banks to do which is why transactions could be declined. For that reason, electronic payments to betting sites are often disguised under odd sounding names which have not been flagged for sports gambling.

State Laws - These actually do not say much about online sports betting outside of the states where land-based betting options are available. As we said earlier, those states regulate and tax sports betting revenues so you can see why they would want all the action within their states to stay off the Internet. Those states definitely forbid and will issue punishment for operating a bookmaking establishment within their state's borders but do nothing to prevent those who bet sports online instead of in their books from doing so. >> Read More

How Old Do I Need To Be To Legally Bet On Sports?

The legal age to bet on sports for players will vary depending on which state you are in, but it's also important to remember that in order to be 100% safe, meeting both state and sports betting site requirements is a good idea. As long as both requirements are met, there should not be an issue.

Do know that you can usually join a sports betting site at 18 years old as that is usually the age to own/use the funding methods those sportsbooks accept.

Checklist For Using Legal USA Sportsbooks / Bookmakers

  • Must Accept Players From The U.S. - Only Site Listed Excluding Certain Players Is Bovada
  • Easy To Deposit / Put Money Into Your Account
  • Easy To Get Payouts / Withdrawal From Your Account
  • Deposit Bonuses For New / Returning Players
  • Legal Age To Make Wagers At Betting Site
  • Wide Variety Of Major Professional + Amateur Sports
  • Different Ways To Bet On A Sport
  • Numerous Different Odds Types For Various Sports
  • Non-Sports Odds (Entertainment, Politics, Financial, News, etc...)
  • Other Ways To Gamble At Site - Casino, Poker, Racebook

Online Sports Betting Deposit Methods

There are several methods that online sports betting sites will offer when it comes to depositing into an account. Most players in the U.S. automatically try to use major credit cards such as VISA, Mastercard, and American Express which are accepted in prepaid forms as well. However, players in the United States might have some trouble with credit cards, because some banks do not allow for online sports betting site transactions (thanks to UIGEA). However, there are other methods, including wire transfers from a service like Moneygram or Western Union. There is also the option to deposit using money orders, cashiers checks, and prepaid vouchers/cards. Whatever methods are available for deposit should be clearly listed in the sportsbook cashier where you can also get help (if needed).

Sportsbook Deposit Bonuses

Sports betting sites like to offer their players and prospective players free cash in the form of a sportsbook bonus. The type of bonus at a sports betting site that will be found most often is a sportsbook deposit bonus.

This bonus hinges on the deposit made into your account, and in most cases, the initial bonus. However, there are deposit bonuses at sports betting sites that span multiple deposits. Regardless, they center are the same format. A deposit made into the sports betting site is able to receive a bonus amount based off of it. The sportsbook will designate a percentage to match it. For example, a 100 percent deposit bonus up to $500 means that the site will match the depositor dollar for dollar for every dollar deposited up to $500. A 50 percent match up to $500 in bonus cash would then translate to a $1,000 deposit to receive the maximum bonus.

These deposit bonuses will come attached with a rollover requirement. This requirement says that the bonus, in addition to the deposit amount, with have to be played a specific number of times set by the site before being able to be withdrawn. It prevents a player from getting a bonus, and then just cashing out without making a single wager... it just doesn't work that way as one could understand.

Online Sports Betting Payout / Withdrawal Methods

Similar to depositing, online sports betting sites will offer several ways to get paid when wanting to cash out. A check through the mail will always be a way to do just that. This will typically take the longest, however the fees are typically low or none and the process is tried and true... you can rely on them. Other ways to receive money include bank wires, and wire transfers. Different sports betting sites will offer multiple ways because one method doesn't work for all players. It's important to check with the sportsbook's cashier or ask the customer service departments as that info should be readily available.

The Future Of Legalized Online Sports Betting In The U.S.

As we've mentioned on this site, U.S. states are warming up to the idea of having legalized online gaming in their states in the forms of bingo, casino games and online poker. What isn't included in that, at least right now, is online sports betting. In reality, U.S. regulated online sports gambling will be the last of the major forms to go online.

This could be for many reasons from keeping the integrity of the games to having bigger hurdles to clear such as PASPA. When it comes to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, one would think that Nevada and Delaware (two of the forerunners for regulated gambling sites) would be able to offer this type of wagering first, and they might be able to do so in-time.

It's our bet that this is going to happen. If you consider the that money is wagered upon sports being at least equal to the revenue projected to flow through the other forms of online gambling, it probably won't take but a Super Bowl or two for the Federal and state governments to kick things into gear.