Since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 earlier this summer, the eyes of all those interested in online gambling are firmly fixed on the USA. For the first time ever, many Americans will be able to wage real money on their favorite teams without resorting to some shady backstreet or offshore operation.
The legislative change brings bookmakers inline legally with the approach taken to online casinos in the US. Whilst most States still do not allow for state licensed online casinos and sportsbooks, some are taking the lead in bringing the joys of betting to the masses. However, with Donald Trump in the Whitehouse, there is renewed hope of a general relaxing of Federal attitudes towards gambling. Such a change will allow for even greater freedom for those wanting to gamble from the comfort of their own home.
In the original PASPA legislation, sports betting was forbidden at the state level. This has since been repealed in May of this year on the grounds that the Supreme Court deemed the act to be unconstitutional. Now, the States themselves will be responsible for deciding whether to allow the pastime in their own borders.
This is great news for bettors and gambling firms alike. In fact, some claim that after all States planning to legislate on the matter of online sports betting do so, the market could be worth between $4.2 billion and $20 billion annually. These figures are courtesy of Oxford Economics.
With such a profitable market opening, both domestic gambling operators and those from further afield are scrambling to get a good position for when more states open their borders to legalized internet gambling.
There isn’t a whole lot you can do to prepare yourself for the wave of online gambling action that could be heading Stateside in the next couple of years. That said, here are a few pointers to help you be as clued up as possible.
The first and most important thing to consider is the legality of the kind of gambling you want to do online in your jurisdiction. This will help you to understand the options available, as well as the risks you might be taking to gamble online in the first place.
The following states already have some form of legalized online casino (and/or poker room): Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. However, politicians hungry for a slice of the huge revenue stream that could come from legal online casinos are constantly introducing new bills in various states. It’s therefore important to stay as up-to-date as possible.
The following states have moved quickly to legalize sports betting in their territory too (Nevada, of course, has had a long history of sports betting): Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Rhode Island. It should come as little surprise that the same names that allow legal casinos also don’t mind a punt on the football or baseball.
There are also several states that have some form of legislation over sports betting and/or legalized online gambling in the works. These are: Michigan, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. If you live in one of these states, a keen eye on the legal developments will help you to stay on the right side of the law and take full advantage when it changes.
Of course, if you’re fortunate enough to live in one of the legal States, you will have (or will soon have) many different licensed venues to play at. Playing at a regulated online casino offers you a sense of safely that an unregulated online casino cannot. You’re not going to suddenly find that the casino or bookmakers has disappeared with your cash, for example. The games and odds are also audited to ensure fairness at fully regulated offerings. The best part is, if the site tries to screw you in any way, you have many more options to pursue the injustice in a legal capacity.
If you’re still waiting for legislation to emerge, or you live in the likes of Utah where gambling legislation is highly unlikely anytime soon, you might have to turn to one of the offshore companies targeting US shores.
Since the UIGEA legislation makes no inclusion about players or bettors themselves, you’re not actually breaking any rules by using an offshore site. Many of these sites have a decent presence elsewhere and have a long history of serving the US market. You might have to be a little more creative than you’d like to with depositing (many only allow deposits from eWallet services) but you will still get a quality betting or gambling experience.
There are plenty of examples of offshore sites to choose from. Read reviews of the various services and if something seems dodgy about a company, don’t go with them. Use due diligence and you should be just fine whilst you wait for your State to legislate itself out of the gambling dark ages!