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Sports Betting Online: Is It Legal? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Sports betting or gambling has become more and more popular over the years. Its popularity has been further intensified by the growth of online sports betting, also known as Internet gambling. However, online sports betting has long been the subject of many controversies. And, one controversy in particular is its legality.

Usually, when it comes to talking about online sports betting, it is quite common for people to wonder whether they're breaking a local or state law. As you may know, sports betting has been deemed illegal in many countries in the world, and one particular region that strongly upholds anti-sports betting law is North America. In this area, most states and even the federal government have passed legislations about whether or how it is allowed or not to gamble online, and offline.

However, it is only until recently that the regulation of online sports betting was left entirely to the discretion of the individual provincial or state governments in North America, and to some degree, the advent of online sports betting created certain levels of confusion about the jurisdiction. One main question that continues is who runs the laws in the virtual world. As you probably know, some of the current gambling laws were created and enacted prior to the design of the Internet. This fact is what in fact makes the application of those established laws open to different interpretation.

Aside from the concern about the online sports betting laws, another question was raised by the concerned public, that is, if it is legal to run sports betting online or offshore and take business from clients in the United States? Well, the common answer to this by the U.S. government is that foreign or online sports betting are not legal.

So it is assumed that online sports betting are considered illegal by the U.S. government. However, numerous reports have revealed that no bills have been passed to prevent the custom of online sports betting. Much worse is that, several attempts to pass bills in order to thwart the enduring popularity of online sports betting dramatically failed. 

Perhaps one particular reason that caused the failure of those anti-sports gambling bills is that the federal government has placed much of the jurisdiction for gambling in the hands of individual states, in which some of those states have approved the practice of online sports gambling. Several of those states have actually voted on legalizing online sports betting, and North Dakota is one of them. In contrast, there are other states like Illinois which have added certain legislations that strictly prohibit the promotion of online casinos within the state.  Thus far, only three states in the United States have strongly prohibited their people from gambling beyond the state borders: California, Louisiana and Nevada.

Today, since some states have enforced anti-gambling laws, although loosely, several sports books online have opted to stay offshore in foreign countries.  And, to avoid breaching the laws, they instead set up their computer servers offshore as well. It is also important to note that although anti-gambling laws are passed, no citizen has even been arrested for participating in online sports betting. But things are changing quickly in this industry and in the legal arena, so keep your eyes on the law... and on the game!
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