Legal Sports Betting Sites and Overview of the Wire Act
There is some confusion over what legal sports betting sites players in the United States can access.
An overview of the Wire Act reveals that laws that are in place in the United States against sports gambling are used to target sports betting sites that are offering the wagers, not the players making them. These articles will help players to avoid misunderstanding the laws and how they affect sports gamblers in the United States.
Wire Act Before Internet Gambling
Robert F. Kennedy was the champion of the 1961 Wire Act, which would help to make interstate gambling illegal in the United States. His hope was that making interstate gambling illegal would negatively affect the organized crime syndicates that were running sportsbooks, and give law enforcers another tool in fighting against organized crime.
This law was not passed with the intention of going after bettors that were interested in making sports bets. Instead, it was meant to be a deterrent for the members of organized crime booking those bets on a large scale across state lines.
Wire Act in Internet Gambling Age
Considering how old the 1961 Wire Act is, there was a necessity for a legal overview of the Wire Act to determine how it applied to online gambling here in the United States.
Because of the language used within the bill that specifically mentions “bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest”, the US Department of Justice concluded in 2011 that interstate transmissions and wire communications that were not related to sporting events or contests fell outside of the reach of the Wire Act. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals came to the same conclusion, saying that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting and not any other types of online gambling.
The Supreme Court has never ruled on the meaning of the Federal Wire Act in relation to online gambling. So there is still some gray area from a legality perspective, but the reiteration that wire transfers around sports betting are still illegal under the Wire Act has ended online sportsbooks being run in the United States.
Betting With Offshore Sportsbooks
Fortunately for sports bettors in the United States, the fact that sports betting sites are no longer stationed in the USA doesn't mean that there aren't options available for bettors that want to bet on sports. There are many legal sports betting sites run out of other countries that offer bettors in the United States the chance to play.
The Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act can only be enforced within the borders of the United States. Other countries that allow sports betting sites to run legally in their country give these legal sports betting sites a safe haven to operate in, and many of these betting sites still offer their services to players in the USA.
Because the United States has never shown any desire to go after its citizens simply for making deposits to gamble online and the fact that the country has no jurisdiction on other countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, bettors have been able to safely play with sportsbooks overseas for years without any harassment.
Choosing a Legal Sports Betting Site
There are many options available to bettors in the United States looking for legal sports betting sites. Because of this, players can afford to be selective when it comes to choosing which sports betting site is right for them.
Deposit bonuses, interface, line availability and many other factors can be weighed into the decision. But as long as you choose a highly rated sports betting site, you can feel confident that your money will be safe and that your deposits and withdrawals will go smoothly regardless of which one you go with.
Deposit options vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, but most of them accept credit cards, pre-paid cards, and cash transfers. All of these options are easy and convenient for players, and should give you the opportunity to be betting at the legal sports betting site of your choice on the same business day.
Playing Online With Confidence
The overview of the Wire Act and other laws against sports betting consistently point to the businesses being under the government's microscope, not the players. While it would be nice to see the United States legalize online gambling and take some of the confusion out of the process for the general public, today's players should still feel comfortable playing online with the laws in place never having been used to prosecute anyone simply for betting on sports online.