The legality of online sports betting is in a state of flux right now and the recent Supreme Court decision which, basically, legalized sports gambling seems to be causing even more confusion. But then again, the legality of online sports betting has always been quite confusing.
While no one can say it’s out-and-out illegal to place a wager on the internet, no one can say it’s necessarily legal either. Most of this will be resolved in the coming years as states begin to regulate online sports betting. However, until then, we have the information you need to protect yourself and find the best online sports betting site for you.
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Legal Sports Betting Laws
The question on legal online sports betting spawns from two different laws. One is the 1961 Wire Act. This law was created to undermine organized crime’s sportsbooks by making it illegal to transfer money across state lines for the purpose of gambling. The second is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Sounds more on the nose, doesn’t it?
This is basically an updated Wire Act since the internet is new and borderless. What the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act does is make it illegal to take a bet and process the payment within the United States. It does not make it illegal to place a bet on the internet. This in-turn makes it completely legal to bet online if the site is based outside of the United States. In other words, you can be a gambler, you can’t be a bookie.
Obviously, with the online sports betting only beginning in the 1990’s, laws, regulations, and best practices are still being ironed out. New laws are made when loopholes are found and exploited. It’s a learning experience for gamblers, gambling sites, and the laws that govern them which only leads to a general lack of regulation.
Because of this lack of regulation or rather, lack of up-to-date regulation, the research for a legitimate sports betting site is as important as the research for a wager. There are no laws protecting your money so there are basic rules to follow and certain tells to look for when choosing the place to do your wagering.
Choosing a Legal Online Sports Betting Site
When choosing an online sports betting site to place your wagers there are many things to look for right off the bat to know if it’s a legitimate gambling site. Sports betting is big business these days and there are new sites everyday looking to score your action. Some are legit sportsbooks while others are not. Know the difference because there is nothing to safeguard you once you’ve committed to a site. Learn and follow these bullet points to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate and legal online sports betting site.
Age of Site
You want to find a site with years of experience, at least five years old is a good rule of thumb. If a site is ripping it’s members off, whether it’s with non-payments or bad lines, it doesn’t last long. Word travels fast in the online gambling community so sites that are just money traps don’t last long. If a site has been around for more than five years, it must be doing something right.
Having a license from a known jurisdiction is another good sign. Sites based in the Caribbean, Canada, and Europe will usually provide licensure. This does not mean that a license is a guarantee, but the lack of one is a definite red flag. You want your online sportsbook to be on the up-and-up and doing all the little things to prove its legitimacy.
Another way to tell if your online sports betting destination is legit is simply with the look of the place. Outdated, silly-looking sites should be avoided. Again, we want to see effort from the sportsbook. Older sites with new, slick interfaces are what we are looking for. Remember, always judge a book by its cover.
Be sure the site has multiple ways for getting in touch with their customer service. A site with no customer service has no interest in you, only your money and should be avoided at all times. Unfortunately, customer service links leading to nowhere are quite common on these sites. Be sure the site has customer services and that they work.
“For Entertainment Purposes Only,” is a disclaimer you will see quite often and site’s with it should be avoided. Disclaimers such as this or in this vein are a way for sites to grab your money anyway they can. Upfront, they all look normal. They will accept your cash, give you bonuses, and offer you promotions. However, when it comes time to cash out, they’ll hit you with every fee they can contrive to be sure you receive nothing, not even your initial deposit. These are lose-lose sites and not the places we want our