Let’s not kid ourselves; to find the best betting sites in the US requires you to have the right information at your fingertips. Before you proceed to select a betting site or commit to any bookmaker, you should know what makes the industry tick.
Though the betting industry has come a long way in the past two decades, there is still a lot of restrictions in the US. Because of these restrictions, there is a lot of talk and debate surrounding the legality of US betting. The short answer to the debate is yes, betting is legal in the US. However, the long answer is a little complicated and covers a multitude of legal acts that shed light on the matter.
Because of all the research involved, many beginners shy away from getting started on betting in the US. But before you join the statistic, below is a quick overview of everything you should know about the betting industry in the US. We’ve also compiled a section detailing the legality of betting sites in the US.
Now, without wasting any more time, let’s dive into it.
Note: Different US states have different rules governing the betting sites. As a result of these rules, you’ll find a betting site operates in one state and doesn’t in another. This is all boils down to the rule and regulations prevailing in the region.
How betting sites work in the US
By now, you understand that the fate of a betting site in the world is tied to the bookmaker pulling strings behind the scenes. This means that the quality of service and the experience you get is determined by the bookmaker offering the service.
So we shall not delve deeper into that. Instead, in this section, we find it more important to focus on the legality and safety of betting sites in the US. Understanding this puts you in a better position of understanding what you need to do, and what you should be on the look-out for when considering the best betting site.
Given that you are reading a guide on US betting sites, it’s safe to assume that you are American or, at the very least, reside in America. In addition to this, we shall assume you know that betting (and hence betting sites), is only fully legalized in Nevada. However, you might not be aware of all the governing laws so this seems like the best place to start.
Let’s kick things off with the Interstate Wire Act of 1961. The federal government made this act and in the process, made it illegal to run certain types of betting businesses. Moreover, the law also made it illegal to receive wagers through wire communication which at the time was the telephone. But on the bright side, the Act didn’t make it illegal for individuals to place wagers.
The other important law is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection, which was also passed in 1992 by the federal government. This law took away the sovereignty of individual states when it came to authorizing betting sports in their jurisdiction. However, this law exempted Nevada and a couple of other states which currently permit some types of betting. This act as made to protect the sporting industry. To understand how it intended to protect the industry, you need to understand the concerns of top and powerful men in the sports industry at the time.
You see, Paul Tagliabue, an NFL commissioner then, was worried that when gambling became a widespread pass time activity, and if Americans were allowed to place wagers on American sports, it would result in game fixing and deep-rooted corruption in the industry. He feared that the Black Sox Scandal (in 1919) would repeat itself. In the scandal, the Chicago White Sox team was accused of intentionally losing the World Series after receiving payment from gamblers at the time.
But just like the Interstate Wire Act, the PASPA didn’t forbid individuals to place wagers. This point is important for the debate.
The two acts did not address betting on online platforms because they were made before the internet was a thing. However, it has been made plenty clear that the Wire Act applies to providers of online betting services. And because of this act, it is illegal for a sports betting site to operate within the US. This is the reason why many betting sites do not accept players from the US.
But there’s a loophole some betting sites take advantage of. Sportsbooks that are located outside the US do not have to comply with the Interstate Wire Act or the PASPA. They are only required to comply with the rules of the regions where they are based. So does not mean that if a betting site is operating from an area that online betting is legalized, then they aren’t breaking the law? Unfortunately, this is not quite clear, but as it stands, it seems to be okay.
But what is clear is that you will not get into trouble for using a betting site that is outside the US. So far, no one is behind bars for doing this. We are not lawyers, but you can proceed to indulge your betting spirit without fear of being arrested. You just have to choose the right betting platforms.
- Sports betting sites aren’t permitted to operate from within the US
- Offshore sportsbooks are legal if they comply with the local rules and regulations
- It’s not illegal to place wagers on offshore betting sites
Criteria Used to Rank Betting sites
The betting sites on this list have to be nothing but the best option for punters living in the US. However, before we proceed to list them, it’s only right that we detail the criteria we used to come up with the list, right?
Below are the most basic considerations we made when choosing betting sites for the best betting site list.
- Trustworthy and reputable
- Licensed by a renowned body in the industry
- Operating legally in the US within a known gambling jurisdictions
- Safe to use
We would never recommend a site that is illegal and that isn’t properly licensed. We are confident in the betting sites we availed below. With that said, you should also note that a betting site isn’t necessarily great because it is safe, trustworthy, and licensed. Several factors go into determining the performance of the site and the experience you receive (we shall detail more of these factors a different section of this guide).
Best Betting Sites
What to Look for in a Betting Company
If you come across a betting site not on this list, you should first ensure it checks the criteria mentioned above first. If it does, proceed to determine if it checks most of the factors on this list.
Extensive coverage of US sports and relevant events
At the very minimum, a US betting site needs to cover the NBA, MLB, and the NFL. These are by far the major sports in the country and therefore attract a lot of interest. In addition to this, the betting site should have extensive coverage including college basketball, college football, and professional leagues including golf, tennis, MMA, boxing, and soccer. It’s also an added plus when the betting site covers the minor sports and events as well. The variety ensures that punters have an event to wager on the all-year-round.
This is important, and we cannot stress it enough. Many of the offshore sportsbooks are terrible when it comes to processing withdrawals and deposits. This is very frustrating for punters. You don’t want to be waiting for long periods for a deposit to reflect on your account when you are almost running out of time to place a wager. Even worse, you don’t want to wait for an eternity to get your winnings.
But if we are being fair, we admit that processing payments for US customers is not an easy task. The legal situation we outlined at the start of the guide makes it a challenge. And actually, there is legislation known as the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act) which makes it illegal for US banks and other financial institutions to handle the said transactions.
But even with this hurdle, it is the responsibility of the betting sites to find a creative way around it. Most of the best betting sites offer different options to deposit funds. These methods ensure that the money is processed fast without problems. Moreover, they focus on ensuring the payout process is smooth and painless. Sure, you might not get your money within a day (lie it is in other countries), but you will not be forced to wait for weeks.
One of the ways US betting sites are solving this problem is by using Bitcoin. If you aren’t familiar with this mode of payment, you should pay close attention.
You want the betting site to offer the best odds in the industry. Sure, the sites don’t have to have the best odds for every market but it should at least have great odds in the markets you care about most. Note that odds will affect how much you win. Therefore, they are important.
Attractive bonuses and rewards
Bonuses and rewards offer great value which helps in boosting the bankroll. If you know how to use these, they will give you an advantage. Most sites offer generous rewards. However, you should pay attention to the underlying details. A bonus is only as good as the wagering requirements (the fine print).
Good customer support
Most punters tend to overlook this factor. It is important for a couple of reasons.
- There are several situations you may need assistance with. It may be an issue logging into the account, or any other technical problem. You might even have a question about the wager you are about to place.
- The quality of service offered says a lot about what the site thinks about you – where they value you or not. Great customer support is a clear sign the company values you.
Now, this list of things to consider may not be exhaustive, but they will at least get you started on the right foot.
Pros of Betting Sites
- Easy access – you can access the website from anywhere provided you have an internet connection
- Wide range of sports – you benefit from a wide range of local and international sports
- Better value for money – sportsbook platforms don’t have the expense of running betting shops. They, therefore, pass on the savings to customers through promotions.
- Promotions and loyalty – there are many deals to take advantage of. Punters have a hard time finding one that works for them.
- Financial convenience and reliability – you don’t have to worry about walking around with large amounts of money because every transaction is done online.
- Responsible betting is easier online – betting has the potential to be addictive. As such, punters are advised to do it responsibly. Betting websites have features that limit the money you can spend on the platforms.
- More innovations from sports betting – new and exciting tech and features are being released every other day.
Though there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding betting in the US, the information is readily available. And once you have learned how to work the system, it suddenly becomes easier to handle. With the above betting sites, you are guaranteed to have a great experience and to make your money worth something if you employ the right strategies.
Do I pay tax for winnings from betting sites?
All winnings from lottery bets are reported when filing taxes (even if they are below $600). Note that this does not refer to the profits alone – it’s the total winnings.
In which states is gambling legal?
Currently, it’s Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware
How do players from other states still gamble?
Many punters bypass the laws by signing up for betting sites outside the US. This means that the deposits and withdrawals don’t go through banks in the US.
How can I be sure I am playing on a site that is 100% safe?
First and foremost, the betting sites should be licensed. Second, the site should have safety measures, including using SSL technology on the website.
Can new betting sites in the US be trusted?
A new betting site could be more trustworthy than one that has been around for decades. But like with everything new, there is always a shadow cast on new sites before they can prove themselves.
How old do I have to be to bet online?
The minimum betting age depends on the state you are in. But generally, the legal betting age varies between 18 and 21 years.