Land-Based vs. Online Sports Betting in the US
On the 14th of May 2018, a Supreme Court ruling struck down the 1992 PASPA Act (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection), which prohibited sports betting in the United States. Unless Congress passes a new law, it is effectively legal to bet online and at a registered land-based bookmaker throughout the US.
If you are deciding whether to go the online route or bet at your local bookmaker, this is what you need to know.
Betting at a Land-Based Bookmaker
Before the abolishment of the PASPA Act there were a handful of states that were grandfathered to allow legal wagering activities. Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon were all hotbeds of sports and gambling action. The legalizing of other states simply opens up a wider selection of choices for land-based wagering. Instead of having to drive to Vegas to place a bet, you can visit your nearest race track, casino or outlet providing your state has made the practice legal.
Betting at an Online Bookmaker
Betting at an online bookmaker is much easier and more convenient than driving to your nearest brick and mortar based operator. Some states have already launched mobile apps and licensed US websites where you can bet on the NFL, Ice Hockey, Baseball, Soccer and overseas sports. You will be required to sign up and register your social security number to ensure that you are legally allowed to bet within your state. However, you can also bet at overseas operators.
Can You Bet on Sports Anywhere in the US?
The simple answer is no. Even thought it is technically legal in the US, each state has the right to make the practice legal or illegal. Only states that have completed the legislative process for sports wagering can offer legal betting practices. US-based online platforms and mobile apps will use geo-location services to establish whether you are in a legal state.
What States Currently Offer Legal Sports Betting?
Since May 2018, a number of states have already passed legislation to allow for legal wagering practices. Of the states that were already legal, Nevada now offers online betting from locally based venues. Other states where it is legal include West Virginia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and parts of New Mexico. These are just the states that have completed the process. There are others that are currently waiting for passing of the legislative bills, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Ohio Minnesota, Iowa, South Carolina and Louisiana.
Is it Legal to Bet At An Offshore Sportsbook?
Betting at an online offshore sportsbook has always been a grey area. While there was no specific wording saying the practice was illegal, banks were ordered to flag and stop payments when deposits were made to overseas sites. This of course didn’t stop punters from using web-wallets or cryptocurrency. With the changing of the law, states that have legalized wagering will include local and overseas-based bookmakers. Some states restrict users to only locally based servicers while others make do not have any restrictions. In such states it is fully legal to be anywhere a license is held.
What The Future Holds
Unless Congress passes a new law preventing land-based or online sports wagers, we will see a huge growth in the industry, and a veritable explosion of local online operators. Already there are plans in the works to build dozens of new betting shops throughout the US, while major casinos and racetracks are gearing up to offer wagering facilities. Many of the major leagues are now also getting behind betting, despite being vehemently opposed to it in the past, and it looks like we can expect to see sportsbook sponsorships in NFL, MLB, NBA and other top leagues soon.
The biggest change however will come in the online sector where foreign-based bookmakers will face stiff competition from local start-ups, eager to capitalize on the new industry. In the next 10 years we will see a full transition to legalized practices. Only those states who have chosen to keep the practice illegal will be not be offering any land-based facilities. However, by then the prevalence of online sites will most likely render land-based wagering almost redundant.