Benefits of using regulated sportsbooks
The passing into law of Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992, along with the advent of the internet, saw the rise of offshore betting operators and they still maintain a large share of the US betting market – revenue is estimated at between $2.5 billion to $3 billion.
However, the repeal of PASPA by the Supreme Court in May 2018 could spell lean times ahead for the offshore betting sites, as more and more states move towards legalizing and regulating sports betting. The desired result being that US bettors will increasingly bring their money back stateside – a win-win situation if you like.
Our recommended regulated US sportsbooks
If you’re still scratching your head over which sportsbook app is best suited to your wagering requirements and are fortunate enough to physically reside in states where online/mobile betting is allowed – or even just visiting – help is at hand.
Having given the following apps the full works – by registering, depositing, wagering, and pocketing any welcome bonuses – we are satisfied enough to include them in our list of recommendations:
Bet $1, Get $200 In Free Bets
New customers only. Make a qualifying deposit (min $10), place bets to deposit value, once they are settled, matched amount in Bet Credits available to use. Bet Credits risk excluded from returns. T&Cs apply.
Big issues with offshore books
Whilst some of these offshore sportsbooks like bovada and MyBookie are long-running brands with decent reputations, even claiming their legality under World Trade Association rules, the US Government does not agree. Indeed, in the process of depositing, wagering, and withdrawing money, bettors are breaking US law.
It was the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 13, 2006, that forced gambling brands to move operations offshore.
In April 2011, the US Government of Justice seized domains of some of the biggest brands, as well as many millions of dollars of customer accounts, forcing them to halt operations – an event that became known as “Black Friday“.
That brought about a near shutdown of the online poker industry, but sportsbooks continue to operate to this day and while each is licensed – Curacao, Antigua & Barbuda, Costa Rica, and Panama are the most popular jurisdictions – they won’t offer bettors much in the way of protection should things go wrong.
They frequently do and might include: payment delays, voided bonuses, ‘trapped‘ bankrolls, steep admin fees, and bonuses that turn out ‘too good to be true’ – we could go on (and on).
Times are a-changing
Fast forward to May 2018 and the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal law. That effectively opened the floodgates for sports betting legislation and over the past year or so 38 states, representing nearly 90 percent of the US adult population, have introduced more than 150 bills on the topic.
Twelve of those states have now joined Nevada, which has enjoyed a state monopoly on sports wagering since 1949, by allowing sports betting to take place legally – several more have legalized it but there is no betting as yet.
The motive for the lawmakers involved is clear: curtail offshore betting and receive a cut of online gambling through taxes and licensing fees.
As bettors, we’re not complaining and the hope now is that more states follow suit, and ideally follow the early lead set by New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Rhode Island and, soon to join them, Indiana.
All five states have passed legislation to allow sports betting to take place both in person – at authorized venues such as casinos – and online via a website or app, without the need to first register inside a physical sportsbook.
States where sports betting is legal
Here’s a full list of the early-adopting states and where bettors stand as regards where and how to place their bets:
Arkansas – retail sports betting has been legal at one state casino since July 1, 2019; voters did not approve online/mobile betting at a ballot.
Colorado – Online and retail sports betting is now available in CO
Delaware – three lottery-run casinos only; mobile betting is legal according to officials but not currently offered.
Indiana – went live on September 1 at three casinos (more have since followed); mobile betting launch is expected soon.
Iowa – now live at 14 of the state’s 19 casinos; mobile bettors have to first register in person and through to the end of 2020.
Mississippi – limited to casinos; mobile bettors need to be inside these properties.
New Jersey – fully legal inside state lines; 85% of handle is being generated online and on mobile apps.
New York – physical sportsbooks popping up Upstate (latest count is seven); mobile betting subject to a study and not expected before late 2020.
Oregon – taking place inside one tribal-owned casino; state lottery’s plans to launch an app have been delayed.
Pennsylvania – fully legal and 16 sportsbooks (and counting) now in operation; mobile betting a huge driver of revenue.
Rhode Island – legal in two casinos since the fall of 2018; mobile has recently launched and legal age is just 18.
West Virginia – fully legal again after an aborted start; two mobile sportsbooks now operating.
In New Mexico, a pre-existing gaming contract has allowed for sports betting at one tribal-owned casino.
Regulated sportsbooks are best
Whilst the temptation remains for many to use these offshore books, we strongly recommend you steer well clear and wait for legal and regulated sportsbooks to reach your state.
The advantages are clear and go beyond the obvious one of not breaking the law. Okay, betting offshore is unlikely to land you in jail but you’d be missing out on these key benefits:
- Security of your money due to strict licensing requirements.
- Mainstream ways of funding your account – many of these, such as credit card companies or PayPal, have built-in customer protection.
- Hassle-free withdrawals and no late payments.
- Quality betting platforms/software and dedicated apps.
- Credible promotions and bonuses – almost all will give you some money to play with upfront, as well as provide regular promos in the form of boosted odds and insurances that ease the pain of close losses.
- Responsible gambling – regulated books have controls in place to protect minors and problem gamblers, who can set deposit limits, take time-outs, and even self-exclude.
Choosing a legal sportsbook
So let’s further narrow down the search for a quality sportsbook app that is going to suit your wagering requirements.
If you’re located inside Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, you’re golden as bettors have the choice of several, with 16 and counting in the Garden State alone.
But they’re not all the same – which is the beauty of competition – and the following ‘ground rules’ are what we insist on for when choosing where to place our bets.
- Secure and fully legit operating license.
- A nice-looking, easy to navigate betting platform.
- A depth of markets far beyond moneylines and totals.
- Competitive lines that offer an edge value-wise.
- A comprehensive live betting offering with no snags or crashes.
- Generous welcome bonus that is easy to pocket.
- Frequent promotions in the form of close loss insurances and odds boosts
- Easy ways to fund our account and withdraw our winnings.
- Customer service 24/7 when we need it.
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