Sports Betting Laws In The United States

As explained under the PASPA section, state sports betting laws in the United States are set on the state level. This can cause very different industries offered despite states being neighbors to each other. For example, bettors in Rhode Island can begin wagering at 18, while those in New Jersey must be 21 to get started. Likewise, bettors in Iowa are not permitted to wager on prop bets involving collegiate athletes, while a state like Oregon allows for betting on any collegiate sport, depending on which sportsbook in the state you use. Finding out these differences can be a challenge but we have designed this entire page for your benefit. Use them as your reference but as always, consult a legal professional about your current situation if you are unsure.

One major thing to understand is that, while some restrictions are placed on the sportsbooks (for example, Iowa’s rules against prop betting), some restrictions are placed on you (for example, legal gambling age). The restrictions that are placed on the sportsbooks can be resolved by using a sportsbook outside of the US, but the restrictions that are placed on you cannot be resolved. Using those examples, if you wanted to bet on college prop bets in Iowa, you could use a sportsbook located outside of the US, that was not subject to those restrictions. However, if you wanted to bet before you turned 21 in New Jersey, you cannot do that regardless of where the sportsbook you are using is located.

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Legal Sports Betting Across The Nation

As of 2020, there are 23 states in the country that have some form of state-sanctioned legal sports betting. More states are in the process of trying to legalize industries of their own since PASPA was overturned in 2018. But, with or without a legal sportsbook presence in any state in the nation, gambling on sporting events is still legal. How? With the use of  offshore internet sportsbooks. These sports betting sites have been in business for decades and are available nationwide for a safe, legal, and regulated sports betting option for the people of the United States. Regardless of where a state lies on the issue of wagering on sports matchups, these platforms will always be legal for sports bettors to use for gambling on sports.

Legal Sports Betting Age In The United States

No matter what state you live in, you must adhere to the legal sports betting age in the United States. While most people think this is generally set at 21, they would be incorrect. Most states do permit players to enter casinos and other gambling establishments at age 21 to bet on sports, but there are a handful of states that allow players as young as 18 to gamble. It doesn’t matter whether the sports bettor is using a mobile device or visiting the land-based facility, the sportsbook age is set by the state.

This includes when players use offshore betting sites for their gambling needs. Nearly every sportsbook will allow those who are 18 to sign up and begin wagering at their sites but it is up to the player to determine their own legality. If one is betting on horses, they would legally be permitted to wager at 18, however, those who are attempting to bet on sports should wait until they are following the local laws. Despite being able to wager, those who are 21 and caught underage sports betting will have their account terminated and potentially may have their winnings confiscated as well.

How Old Do I Need To Be To Play NCAA Tournament Bracket Games For Cash?

Playing bracket games or Super Bowl squares may come off as gambling and, in a technical sense, it is. For those playing for smaller prize pools and are entertaining a group of friends, it is unlikely that anything will happen to you when setting up and playing these types of games. Nobody’s going to call the feds on your office pool. Even if large prize pools are involved, the state can determine the game to be considered gambling. However, in most cases, these setups are considered social gambling, where states may limit how much a buy-in or how much the total winner can collect from the game.

The basic rule is that as long as the house isn’t taking a cut, there should be no issues when looking to play NCAA tournament bracket games for cash. Similarly, there are plenty of online sportsbooks that offer NCAA tournament bracket games, and those sportsbooks are generally legal to use. When it comes to age, you’ll want to be above the legal gambling age in your state. If your state does not define that age, assume it to be 21. Most states do have a defined legal gambling age, however, and it is usually either 18 or 21. If you’re older than 21, you’re good - just make sure you’re obeying the law.

Federal Wire Act And The Effect It Has On Internet Sports Gambling

The Federal Wire Act was put into law in 1961 and is one of the biggest issues in the sports betting industry today. As the law was established in the 1960s, it is quite outdated, yet the US government still uses it to crack down on gambling establishments. In short, this law prevents sportsbooks from accepting a wager from those who are not physically located within the state – and this includes the use of mobile betting.

States that have approved mobile sports betting will geolocate a user’s phone before accepting their wager and there is literally zero way around this law. The Wire Act does not target the gambler, so those who are attempting to wager from outside of state lines should not worry, but instead, it focuses on the sportsbook itself. This law was established to prevent mobsters and underground sports betting operations from hiding their money and transferring it across state lines. While this is not the issue that the law control today, it still holds true and may inhibit your ability to bet on sports. As for the offshore betting sites, this US law has zero jurisdiction over the overseas sportsbooks, so they will accept bettors from anywhere within the US.

Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act

Perhaps the most important law in the sports betting world, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) seemed like the end of the gambling industry in the country. This law (in order to protect the integrity of professional and collegiate sports) made it that states could not offer a state-operated sports betting industry. States like Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana were exempt from this law, as they already had sports betting laws on their books and were grandfathered in. However, as Nevada was the only state that accepted single-game wagering and not a parlay style game, it quickly became the sports betting monopoly it is known for.

Now that PASPA has been repealed (May 2018), states have the right to facilitate their own sports betting laws and regulate their own industry how they see fit. With PASPA gone, many states were quick to legalize sports betting and a handful more are researching the best methods to bring the industry into a tax contributing necessity. This law being repealed is the only reason why the sports betting market has continued to grow immensely since 2018.

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) may seem like a law that prevents sports betting from happening but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Designed to scare bettors, this law worked for many years until sports bettors realized just exactly what the law entailed. Despite the strong wording in its name, UIGEA only prevents US banks from knowingly processing payments to offshore gambling sites. This includes sports betting sites as well as horse racing betting sites and even online casinos.

UIGEA may be a deterrent for sports bettors but there are many ways around it. To know if you have been a victim of UIGEA is quite easy, as your credit card will be declined when you attempt to deposit with one of our recommended sites. Don’t worry, your card will still be operational and nobody will be coming knocking on your door. Instead, call up the desired sportsbook and they will explain their various deposit (and withdrawal) methods that are welcomed without a bank being the middle man. Methods like Bitcoin, Money Orders, and other possibilities exist, as the sportsbook and the gambler can make their connection and get you, the sports bettor, started.

State Sports Betting Laws In The United States

As explained under the PASPA section, state sports betting laws in the United States are set on the state level. This can cause for very different industries offered despite states being neighbors to each other. For example, bettors in Rhode Island can begin wagering at 18, while those in New Jersey must be 21 to get started. Likewise, bettors in Iowa are not permitted to wager on prop bets involving collegiate athletes, while a state like Oregon allows for betting on any collegiate sport, depending on which sportsbook in the state you use. Finding out these differences can be a challenge but we have designed this entire page for your benefit. Use them as your reference but as always, consult a legal professional about your current situation if you are unsure.

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