Most Americans who have placed sporting wagers will have heard of the ‘Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.’
Enacted in 1992 and better known as PASPA, it was the Federal law that prohibited sports betting for a quarter of a century in 46 of the USA’s 50 states.
Some bettors would also have heard of the Federal Wire Act that prevents cross-border sports wagers being made by wire, telephone or online.
But only a very few will have heard of a third, newer act affecting sports betting in the USA. Known as the UIGEA (The unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) it was signed into law by President Bush as recently as October 13, 2006.
Want to know more?
To know more about the three acts; what brought them about; how they work and the impact they have made on American society, you can click here.
In the meantime here are some points about sports betting law in the United States that might whet your appetites to know more.
PASPA hit the headlines in May 2018 when the Supreme Court shot it down on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The Garden State had led the court battle to have it ousted
In June 2018 New Jersey also became the first previously-banned US State to start taking sports bets, both via in-person wagers at casino and race track betting windows or online on laptops and smartphones.
In its first year of sports gambling in New Jersey – June 2018 to June 2019 – its 14 or so online sportsbooks, its dozen Casinos and its two licensed Race Tracks stunned the gambling world. Between them, they took in nearly $3.5 billion in legal sports bets, 80% of it via the internet.
The Wire Act
And yes, the above-mentioned achievement came about in spite of the Federal Wire Act of 1962, a much older law that originally prohibited betting from being conducted across state lines by wire or telephone – and more recently via online betting.
It restricts sportsbooks to only accepting online bets within their own state. They may not legally accept wagers from any other US State or from outside the country.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, to give it its full name, was created to keep the US gambling businesses from ‘knowingly accepting payments’ for bets and wagers over the Internet that are ‘unlawful under any federal or state law’. Basically, it’s an anti-money laundering law.
It was included as a last-minute rider to the Safe Port Act of 2006 initially created to enhance Port security throughout the United States.
State betting laws
When the Supreme Court killed PASPA they did not replace it with any other law. The decision to legalise sports betting and the manner in which it was to be regulated was left up to the individual states themselves.
To date, 11 states have legalised and implemented sports betting and their betting laws do vary, in some cases quite considerably. This being so, it is advisable you give the sports betting laws of your state a good read. And yes, do it even if you are an experienced punter.
To go to the full report on the laws of sports betting in the United States, click here.