If the answer is no, then offshore betting is safe. In most Western countries, betting on sport is either expressly legal and regulated, or even if it is criminalized — the penalty is typically a minor offense — that is rarely enforced. The sportsbooks located offshore are operating against the Federal law by taking American residents bets. The FBI released a memo in that online gambling was illegal. Still, they outlined that their focus was the operators running the sites, and not individuals placing bets online.
In , the Obama administration reversed the view that the Wire Act applied to all forms of gambling, casino gambling, such as online casino games and poker was now legal, provided a government-licensed operator offered it. Sports betting still fell under the Wire Act, and offshore sportsbooks and offshore betting were, and still are, the focus of law enforcement, regarding the Wire Act. Yes, despite what the FBI has said in previous memos and other statements — no law Federal law criminalizes an individual from placing an offshore bet from the US.
The legality of US offshore betting will vary by state , but even then, these laws are almost never enforced. Utah, and several other states, including Washington State, have outlawed all forms of online gambling, which includes placing offshore sports bets from the US. In Washington State, the law is rather draconian in that gambling online is a felony.
However, no one has ever been arrested, let alone charged with the crime. In fact, no one has ever been charged with the simple act of placing offshore sports bets from the US. The overall legality of US offshore betting is a grey area for bettors in many jurisdictions, but enforcement is nonexistent. Many offshore gambling sites are located in the Caribbean or Central America.
The term is more of an all-encompassing one, for sites that offer online betting to U. Bonuses are much better for U. Offshore betting sites operate in countries where they pay little to no taxes and overhead is quite cheap. There are no bonuses when you bet with local bookies. Bonuses are one of the critical advantages of offshore betting and online betting, in general.
Online offshore sports betting bonuses will give your bankroll an immediate boost in the range of several hundred dollars to several thousand. There are some great local bookies out there, but they are still not as trustworthy as most offshore betting sites. Not only that, but there are usually far more betting markets, along with bonuses and other perks when it comes to offshore gambling.
Payment processors were a significant issue for offshore sportsbooks, but that has changed drastically in recent years due to crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin or Litecoin. Sportsbooks accept other cryptos and are adding more regularly. This has stabilized the offshore business and allowed sportsbooks and players to take advantage. There are plenty of positives about offshore betting markets, but lack of regulation is ultimately an issue with being paid.
In countries such as the United Kingdom, bookies bets are guaranteed to be paid, or they would be forbidden from operating within the country because their gaming license would be revoked. The best use of a local bookie or offline betting options compared to offshore betting is larger limits on proposition bets or smaller markets.
Some fruits of the commercial track have already arrived. All three deals afford MGM the ability to use the respective leagues' "official data" and trademarks in connection with their sports-betting products. But the other track, as Spillane put it, has proven rockier. State lawmakers have strongly resisted an "integrity fee," and offshore sportsbooks view such a fee as another disadvantage a state-licensed sportsbook may have to overcome.
Taken as a whole, there are a lot of taxes and fees with potential for more fees to come for legal operators to face before paying a single employee or the electric bill. In the offshore world, sportsbooks face no such state or federal taxes, and certainly not fees from the sports leagues. I've done analysis on even just the Super Bowl," Roberts said. The trickle-down result is that legal sportsbooks may be forced to pass along the costs of taxation, licensure and compliance to customers in the form of inferior pricing.
For example, it could lead to a moneyline of on Team A to win at a local sportsbook versus an available line with an offshore sportsbook. Savvy sports bettors attuned to margins may not be willing to part with superior prices. In June, even the NFL joined the chorus opposing prohibitive tax rates, becoming an unlikely, albeit qualified, ally for the gaming industry. Moore writes that that these costs in Pennsylvania may "render legal market participants unable to effectively compete with the illegal market" and suggests the state "reconsider laws and regulations that could have unintended consequences of advancing illegal sports betting.
There's also the matter of mobile sports wagering and the breadth of sports-betting menus. Handle has steadily increased in Nevada through mobile and online wagering. Some state lawmakers have expressed that such functionality is essential to compete with offshore operations. In addition to ease of access with offshore books, there are also far fewer limitations for what sportsbooks can offer, for Super Bowl props or otherwise. While Las Vegas sportsbooks can post odds on Bryce Harper's landing spot via free agency, other novelties such as Academy Awards odds remain off-limits, according to Nevada regulations.
With the offshore books, the ability to offer such wagers are not subject to scrutiny or regulation. Establishing accounts is another matter. New Jersey's young market currently has eight sportsbooks offering mobile and web-based options. Laws in each of these states allow patrons to sign up for accounts remotely using verifications through digital platforms and wager as long as they are located within a state's boundaries. As currently constructed, Pennsylvania and West Virginia regulations will allow similar functionality.
But some states may require customers to register in person for sports-wagering accounts, or limit online wagering so that it can only happen on licensee properties. This has long been the process in Nevada, and it's also the case now in Mississippi and the newly launched Rhode Island books -- all patrons must be on casino premises to make a wager. No such limitations exists for offshore operators, and like most options that tend to win out in life, it's a simple matter of convenience.
Deposits, registrations, verifications and withdrawal requests all occur online. In New Jersey, for example, betting handle online has surpassed brick-and-mortar betting, and the divide is widening. We live in a digital age. Meanwhile, some pieces of legislation may create a mechanism for leagues to control or restrict such wagering that leagues deem "riskier" than others, such as live-in-game wagering.
The leagues have submitted, scant on evidence, that such wagers would pose greater integrity risks to their game. It's yet another potential hurdle for licensed sportsbooks to reach maximum competitiveness.
Another limitation? Both New Jersey and Delaware laws prohibit wagering on college teams located within the state. Mississippi bucked this trend, but other states may impose similar local restrictions. And let's consider the "plight" of the winning bettor: In the United States, he'll pay taxes on those winnings. Profits offshore? It won't be reported by the offshore books, and in many cases taxes could go into the wind unpaid -- a point driving many lawmakers' efforts to legalize.
It's easy to read everything preceding this section and think that this new wave of licensed sportsbooks in the United States can't hold a candle to offshore operators. But there are likely to be millions of potential customers -- people who have only ever wagered among friends, if at all -- who will or already have sign up for a legal U. The public really dictates our results, and when the popular teams [college or pro] fare well, it's a red day for us.
Overall, I would categorize the season [as] just below expectations, but we have a long way to go. Patrons entering legal markets such as Nevada's will do so with the comfort of knowing they're not dealing in any gray area, that there's no doubt they will get paid their winning wagers, and that they will not have to receive a payout check routed through Canada or another foreign country. In response to that payment-processing challenge -- one of the largest stumbling blocks to attracting new customers -- offshore operators have found one new way to circumvent laws restricting financial institutions from managing transactions: cryptocurrency, which does not flow through traditional financial institutions.
Many, if not most, sportsbooks now transact in currency such as Bitcoin, with some operators working to integrate cryptos such as Litecoin and Ethereum. Even that process can be more of a headache than it's worth for those just hoping to make the occasional bet.
There are many customers who aren't married to their existing offshore sportsbook provider, who may migrate to a state sportsbook when that becomes an option, or simply use that account as a backup option as they play at a new state-licensed book.
There's a process [in Nevada] through regulation that oversees that. How do you do that in an offshore book located in Costa Rica? You don't know if your offshore book is going to be shut down by some government tomorrow. You never know, there's never that guarantee, though many have been operating for years, but that's a risk you take with your money. One other thing offshore sportsbooks cannot offer to U. A nice sportsbook lounge, free drinks and a quality in-person customer experience.
It remains to be seen how much new state-licensed operators will invest in such spaces and amenities. It could certainly help, as long as states and leagues are not pulling too many dollars from their pockets. Furthermore, state-based sportsbook operators are seeing a huge influx of investment into this nascent market.
Such companies are ready to compete -- and each is armed with a considerable war chest. State-licensed sportsbooks also have the backing of, well, each state, which has skin in the game in the form of tax revenue. New Jersey's top regulator, the director of the state's division of gaming enforcement, has made clear his desire to stamp out offshore websites that might take business from New Jersey. He has warned operators doing business with offshore entities, as well as sportsbook marketing affiliates, "You will not get licensed in NJ," and "I will fight you to get licensed in any state.
Other states are following New Jersey's lead in regulation and may take a similar tack to protect their licensees and state coffers. In , barring federal intervention, it's likely that as many as a dozen more states could follow, including Kentucky, Michigan and New York. This will open up state-licensed sports-betting options to millions of new U.
Millions, to be sure, but that's still a far cry from a majority of Americans. California and Texas' combined 68 million residents may not see legal sports betting until , at the earliest. Who will service those customers in the meantime? The offshore sportsbooks, same as always, and the results seem to speak for themselves. The average sports fan in Texas wants to place a bet on the Cowboys now because sports betting is legal, but she can't because the state isn't ready.
So she goes online and finds a U. We are likely going to see parallel markets operating side-by-side. Early on in this dual existence, mainstream publications and TV networks continue to reference lines originating offshore -- and many people in the U. In Central America and the Caribbean, sportsbooks have prepared for and expected this turn of events in the U.
Offshore sportsbooks there, old and new, will not back down from a fight for new and existing clients -- and for the future of their businesses. In this new era, there's optimism both in the U.
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While they do not have licenses to operate in US jurisdictions, and therefore are not regulated by a US governing body, many people still bet safely on these kinds of sites. The Legality of Offshore Betting. Offshore betting falls into a grey area because even though sportsbooks located offshore are operating outside Federal law, each state in the US has different laws when it comes to online gambling.
Being the focus of law enforcement, offshore sportsbooks and betting were and are virtually illegal and fall into the category of unlawful gambling, because no government-licensed operators offer them. However, that is not all there is to it, because the enforcement of these online gambling state laws is almost non-existent.
Since the focus is put on the operators running the sites, not individuals betting online, no one has ever been arrested, let alone charged with a crime. The Process of Offshore Betting. The first step in offshore betting is choosing a reputable online sportsbook — one that has a good reputation, excellent customer service, and a rock-solid financial base should always be prioritized.
Look at reviews and recommendations from honest review sites before choosing the sportsbook that best suits you. After that, signing up for an account is pretty straightforward, and you can start to deposit funds into your offshore betting account. There are numerous deposit options offered by different books such as bank wire, Western Union, Visa, MasterCard, and money transfer through online companies, so do your research to see which one works the best for you.
Gambling is hugely popular throughout the world and a massive number of gamblers are flocking to online gambling sites for convenience. In offshore betting, you can make wagers in a relatively quick, easy, and secure way, and so it is a very attractive option for many gamblers.
Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. Our opinions are our own. Editorial Guidelines : We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related.
We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts. The bad news: No, you cannot legally bet or gamble on offshore or overseas websites or sports books. The longer version : You cannot legally place bets on any website or use an out-of-state or overseas account if you are physically placing the bet online in a state which bars online gambling. This applies to both international and interstate online betting. For example, Delaware has legal online gambling; neighboring Maryland does not.
Legal betting requires that it be legal in both the place where the bettor or gambler are and the place where the casino or sports book is located. While the Internet may have tied the world together to a degree not even imaginable by prior generations, physical presence is still paramount for certain things, and one of them is determining whose laws you are subject to. Long story short, you are subject to the laws of the place you are located. Most things are either legal or they are not legal.
If your state allows them, it allows them for all state residents. But gambling is not like that: not only must the type of gambling be legal in your state, but the gambling or operator must be specifically licensed by the state, too. At present, very few states authorize online gambling or sports betting.
That means in most states, placing a bet online will be illegal, or placing a bet with an overseas sports book like Ladbrokes will be illegal.