Is Online Sports Betting legal or illegal? This has been an ongoing issue for most sports bettors and gamblers, especially in the United States. The answers are Yes and No. It will now depend on the different circumstances. This article will present the risk involved in the different activities so we can determine when to consider the legality issue.
There is little to no risk for players making bets online, poker rooms buying advertising and smaller media accepting online gambling ads. There is no federal law against playing online. Players can relax for now because it is relatively safe to continue such activity. Casinos, poker rooms or affiliates buying advertising should not worry, as well. To date, only offshore sportsbooks have received attention from the government. Small publishers accepting online gambling ads are also not the target. So far, they have been spared from any form of penalty.
If you are taking bets on a server located in the U.S. and taking sports bets over U.S. phone lines, then you better stop and think twice. These activities have the most risk because both have been considered illegal. Let us use BetOnSports as a perfect example. They took sports bets over the phone and even advertised their number on billboards. They took in $4.6 billion wagers from 2001 to 2005. The CEO, the Founder and his siblings were all fined, arrested and imprisoned on different occasions. This means that big time advertisers and operators in the United States should watch out.
Now, let us take a look at some past events that have affected the law on Internet Gambling. In 2002, the court ruled out that the Wire Act of 1961 pertained only to sporting events. In 2004, the court dismissed another case and stated that they are geared towards illegal activities which include Internet Gambling. In 2006, The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act prohibited Americans from using credit cards, electronic funds transfers, or checks to finance Internet gambling activity. The act was focused on how Internet gambling accounts are funded, not the actual betting.
If you noticed, the question on legality remains to be complex. We all have different opinions and interpretations. The law is constantly changing and we will never know what will happen next. So far, no arrests have been made in the United States for simply placing bets online. We will all remain in the gray area until the law gives specifics on what is legal or not.