The Legalities of Online Sportsbook Betting
Legal confusion in the United States have always clouded the issue of legal sports betting in the country through an online betting account at an offshore sportsbook, like America’s Bookie. While this past May’s US Supreme Court decision concerning the legal rights of individual states when it comes to sports betting within its borders might have affected the future of sports betting all across the country, it had no bearing on the fact that US residents in any state can bet on sports at any online sportsbook catering to US sports bettors.
Previous federal sports betting laws were always geared towards the sportsbook and not the sports bettor. It is still illegal to operate a sports bookmaking operation on US soil, unless it has been made legal within a specific state. All of the top offshore sportsbooks taking action online from US players do so under the laws and regulations specific to their country of origin.
It is perfectly legal to run a sportsbook in the country of Costa Rica under that government’s rules and regulations. The US government has no legal standing to try and enforce its gambling-related laws on an company legally operating in a country that offers a favorable business environment.
Most of the issues in this matter go all the way back to the 1961 Wire Act and more recently the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The Wire Act was created to stop money from being wired across state lines for the purpose of betting. This law was aimed directly at organized crime, who routinely engaged in the act of operating illegal sportsbooks.
The later law was viewed as an update to the Wire Act with the recent proliferation of the Internet. This extended the ban on wire transfers for the purpose of betting to an international level.
The most important thing to remember is that neither of these laws were ever targeted at stopping someone from betting on sports. It was the act of bookmaking itself that came under fire.
As mentioned, neither of these laws apply to any sports betting operations outside the US. Sports betting is legal in quite a few jurisdictions around the globe; most notably Canada and the UK. Going back to 2005, the countries of Antigua and Barbuda challenged the US government’s right to interfere in their sports betting industry as it pertained to global trading. A settlement was eventually reached in the case and, since that point, the US government has softened its stance on the rights of a legal offshore sportsbook’s ability to operate online by accepting sports betting customers from the US.
For years, the lone sticking point in the legality of sports betting in the US through an online sports betting account at an offshore book was the actual transfer of funds in and out of that account. The expansion of the ways that money can be moved in and out of an international account has alleviated most of the roadblocks surrounding this issue. This has given rise to Bitcoin and other forms of digital currency that are not tied to a specific financial institution.
The simple fact that the online sports betting industry in the US has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry over the past decade or so points to just how ineffective the US government has been in trying to impose its will on offshore sportsbooks operating in legal jurisdictions.
Fortunately, there are a number of top-rated online sportsbooks that do cater to US players. It is always best to perform your own due diligence when it comes to finding a suitable online betting venue to place your bets, but there is no shortage of favorable options to choose from.