Is Online Sports Betting Legal?
Sports betting has come a long way from the days when a bettor would need to walk into a brick-and-mortar casino or talk to a bookie in a shady backroom of a local bar to get in some action. Because of that, most of the glamour and dangerous element to the hobby has gone away thanks to the introduction and rise of the internet and smart phones.
Much like many newspapers who have gone away from print copies on a daily or weekly basis, the sports betting industry has also adapted to the ways of today and are trying to push people to use their apps or online systems. These avenues are very easily trackable and the offer up the company a way to track people's usage and monitor what they are doing for future reference or to simply better their product.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that yes, online sports betting is legal in today's world because sports betting companies are simply pushing their product via social media in an attempt to get app downloads and mobile deposits. Books like 5Dimes, who offer bettors the option of reduced juice (this is a must have), Bovada/Bodog who offer play to Canadian residents and have a very wide range of betting options including an entertainment options for things like Game of Thrones, WrestleMania and movie debuts, and Bookmaker who are usually first on the scene by establishing lines that the rest of the sportsbooks follow.
I understand that we have readers who will be read our stuff from all over the world, so I am going to get very specific in terms of what's allowed and not allowed within your country of residence. Keep in mind, I am just passing on facts as we know them to be true. I am not providing legal advice in any way and what's below is open for your own interpretations.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in the United States?
If I wanted to answer this question in the least amount of words possible, I would simply say "yes" and move on. However, I feel like it would be a better idea to elaborate on why it's legal and hopefully it will give you peace of mind knowing that you won't end up in prison for placing a futures bet on the Cleveland Browns to win the Super Bowl.
There are simply no federal legislations in place that make it illegal to place a bet online. There are a few different 'acts' in place to help catch the people in charge of accepting wagers i.e. Bookmakers.
The first act is the Interstate Wire act of 1961. This act made it illegal to place or receive wagers on sporting events using 'wire communications. In 1961, that simply meant the telephone, but today that can apply to the Internet. In theory, the act targeted those 'engaging in the business of betting or wagering', with the key word being business. This means that it focused on sportsbooks or bookmakers who took action, not the individuals who placed the wagers.
There is another act that goes by the name of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which is in place to prevent state governments from passing new laws that authorize sports betting. There are four states, and soon to be more based on the newer legalization of sports betting, that are already exempt from this PASPA act and those states are Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana.
If you do choose to bet online, it's important to make sure that you use a betting site that's operating legally. Since it's currently illegal to offer online sports betting within the US (excluding Nevada), you need to use an offshore site that's based in a jurisdiction where online betting is legal and regulated. If you do this, you will have no repercussions.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Canada?
Canada is a completely different story from the United States. However, there are simply no references to online sports betting within the Canadian Criminal Code.
In said code, it states that it is illegal to own and operate a 'common betting house' without government approval, it is illegal to visit an unlawful 'common betting house', it is illegal to operate any form of bookmaking business (without government approval) and it is illegal to place bets on behalf of someone else.
In Canada, there are government run sports operations for each providence. In Ontario, it's called Pro-Line, and in Quebec it's called Mise-O-Jeu. These government-run scams only allow you to wager on a minimum of three games per wager and single game bets are prohibited. However, for online wagering, Canadians are more than welcome to use offshore sportsbooks without fear or consequences. There are simply no laws in place that prevent a bettor from placing a wager on his favorite team via the Internet.
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