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USA

USA

Strictly speaking, betting is illegal in the USA. But the laws are not straightforward and hence it is a confusing situation which makes way for a lot of loopholes. States like New Jersey offer level online gambling but there are certain rules that prevent this from applying for sports betting.

The main law that makes betting illegal in the USA is the Wire Act of 1961. This law prohibits bets from being made over the phone which has become irrelevant since the advent of the internet. Here is a part of the Wire Act:

“The term “wire communication facility” means any and all instrumentalities, personnel, and services (among other things, the receipt, forwarding, or delivery of communications) used or useful in the transmission of writings, signs, pictures, and sounds of all kinds by aid of wire, cable, or other like connection between the points of origin and reception of such transmission.”

Since this was passed before the internet came into existence, it is not sure whether it still applies. Either way, this has never been used against sports bettors.

The other law that needs to be mentioned here is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or the PASPA which was part in the early 1990s. This law dictated which American states could allow betting within its borders. A few of the states that it mentions are Nevada, Delaware and Montana.

But the reason betting thrives in the USA despite it being illegal is that the law goes after the companies and not the players. And most of the companies that offer online betting are based out of countries like UK, Costa Rica or Asian countries, where American laws don’t apply.

Another law that needs to be noted is the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 or the UIGEA. It prevents banks, credit card processors and third party processors from making transactions with offshore gambling companies. It does not make gambling illegal but since money transactions are disabled, it handicaps the process. Banks will not work with offshore companies once they find out that they are betting companies.

This can result in delays in payments and can also mean that players might never get paid. If the site you bet on refuses to pay up, there is hardly anything you can do about it. You cannot take them to court or file a complaint as the whole betting process is illegal anyway.

Long story short, online betting with companies that are not licensed or regulated come with its own set of risks in the USA. These companies also take your personal information for the registration process including your bank details so that is something you want to be wary about. So one should only reveal the basic details and bet money that one can afford to lose.

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