With the threat of a “Dark Winter” ahead, and lockdowns returning to the northern hemisphere during the season, people are spending more time working from home and staying inside instead of going out. The lockdowns continue in many states to varying degrees, with public gatherings limited in hotels, restaurants, and casinos.
The casino industry saw its worst year on the books ever, with revenues down across the board as venues closed doors amidst the spread of COVID. Likewise, going to the track or betting on the Sunday football game evaporated as stadiums shuttered, and teams sat on the sidelines while leagues shut down seasons across all sports.
Betting action dried up with the closure of professional sports, and bookmakers took a beating. However, in recent months, we’ve seen the re-start of sports leagues, and bookies are starting to get more bet requests from action-starved punters.
Casinos remain closed, as do physical betting locations. Online casinos and bookies now dominate gaming and sports betting. The shift was dramatic and fast, leaving the industry shocked at how seamless the transition was from the physical to the virtual.
However, just because online gaming and sports betting took off online doesn’t mean it’s legal in your state. Several states in the US still outlaw the practice of online sports betting and gambling. In this post, we’ll unpack where it’s legal to gamble in the United States.
What are the Gambling Laws in the United States?
According to azBookmakers, several gambling laws affect how states handle individual regulations around the activities of gaming and sports betting. Each state sets its new rules per the guidelines.
Some of the influential gaming and sports betting legislation affecting Americans include the following.
PASPA – The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act prohibits gaming and betting activity in all states except Nevada. A few other states received exemptions, with strict limitations, but PASPA essential gave Nevada a monopoly over sports betting. The Supreme Court struck this legislation in 2018, paving the way for online legal gaming in all states across America.
UIGEA – This legislation prevents offshore gaming companies from accepting American passport holders as clients. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 prohibits any financial institution from processing transactions relating to unlicensed gaming sites.
The Wire Act – The Interstate Wire Act of 1961 prohibits the use of “wire communications” assisting in the placement of sports betting wagers across US state lines. The original purpose of the legislation was to prevent the mafia from using wire transfers to place bets.
States Where Sports Betting is Legal
As mentioned, each state regulates its gaming laws. However, since the abolishment of PASPA, states are fast becoming lenient with new legislation aimed at expanding the industry across the country.
During the PASPA years, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibited all but four states from authorized sports betting. Of the four, Oregon and Delaware got a limited exemption, and Montana allowed sports betting run as not-for-profit organizations.
When the US Supreme Court declared PASPA unconstitutional, abolishing the legislation didn’t legalize sports betting in every state right away. Instead, states must create independent legislation governing the handling of gaming and sports betting in its state.
Many states are leaping at the chance to accommodate gaming venues and legalize online gaming and sports betting. Legalizing these activities would generate much-needed state taxes. As a result, the following states are currently fast-tracking new legislation around legalizing gaming.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Washington DC
- West Virginia
States with the Best Chance of Legalizing and Expanding Sports Betting
While many states are quick to act to the situation, many are lagging, especially in the US’s populous regions. Some of the states with new legislation currently under review are the following.
- New York
In Closing – Do Your Due Diligence when Choosing the Right Sports Betting Bookie
With more states coming online, legalizing sports betting for punters, we can expect a boom in new betting sites in 2021. Before signing up with any online sports betting service, make sure your state complies with the relevant legislation surrounding gaming.
However, it’s just as important to do your due diligence on the company. Search the internet for recommendations on the best sites offering the best action. Make sure you’re working with an established company and not a fly-by-night organization.