The Legalities of Online Sports Betting

Posted by abie on 3:23 PM in ,
Online sports betting (gambling) has become popular in recent years, now that the Internet is so prolific. Thousands of onion bookmakers accept wagers (bets) on sporting events worldwide.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal?

The question of legality in regards to Internet gambling is a complex issue for United States residents.

Opponents of sports betting fear that this type of gambling threatens the integrity of professional and amateur sports because when wagers are made, the temptation to fix matches becomes a possibility. The United States government attempted to prevent illegal bookmaking with the Federal Wire Act of 1961, but this Act does not apply to online gambling because the Supreme Court has not ruled on whether the Federal Wire Act pertains to online gambling. However, in 2002 a lawsuit brought by two Internet gamblers was dismissed because the court ruled that the Wire Act was only applicable to sporting events.

Meanwhile, due to the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, it is illegal in all but a few states in the United States. Some states have been threatened. European nations regulate bookmaking, but it is not criminalized.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 does not affect an individual who gambles online; rather, it addresses the financial transaction of gambling. It addresses how Internet gambling accounts are funded in order to restrict certain financial transactions. In other words, banks must identify and block transactions that come from internet gambling sites.

In 2009, Barney Frank submitted a bill to legalize online poker, but unfortunately this bill does not affect sports betting. Delaware's plan to offer legalized sports betting was shut down by the major sports leagues.

In summary, to be safe, Internet gambling should be considered illegal currently, although no arrests have been made in the United States just for placing bets online.


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