Home The current legal situation of online betting

The current legal situation of online betting

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(© Wojciech Kusiak – stock.adobe.com)

Online sports betting in the U.S. was only legal in Nevada until the United States Supreme Court lifted the ban three years ago. The landmark decision has opened the market to more operators, with many states legalizing it. Since gambling has gone mainstream, the industry is booming in billions as more figures are now wagered on the act.

Before legalization, gambling was not classified as a sport, but the difference is slowly disappearing. The availability of the internet and technology has brought forth digital apps that simplify betting on mobile devices, threatening land-based casinos. These developments are only clear within a three-year window meaning online gambling will explode.

Sports betting was only available in casinos to spice up the flavor of the place. However, the real action and revenue were in slot machines, roulette, poker cards, keno, and dice. Today sports betting is on the rise, and the market is predicted to reach $39 billion in annual revenue in the next decade. Today, online sports wagering is below $1 billion, and the surge is credited to digital betting after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Running betting ads was illegal, but now lines roll across TV screens during professional matches. Professionals (teams and leagues) have partnerships with gambling companies, and punters can bet and win real money if the game predictions are correct.

Online sports betting market regulations

As sports betting takes shape legally, every state that has legalized it has regulations that govern the activities. Online offerings(skins) in US states and sports betting laws have outlined that sole online-only model meaning there are a few licenses or skins for those who desire to become online legal sports betting operators.

The only exception is Tennessee, where gambling only happens in old-school casinos(land-based). There is only one online skin per brick and mortar license in some states, others permit two, and others more.

The Federal Wire Act requires each state’s online activities be operations are required to be confined to geofenced within the boundaries of a state. In the US, most casino companies are not well-equipped with efficient online sports betting experiences, hence the need for online operators.

Online betting considerations

For online sports betting entities, the primary hurdles are licensing and contracting. However, there are other legal considerations to be aware of once those steps are completed. State gaming regulators need a full understanding of the parties involved with the entire online product. Platform providers and other vendors that licensed internet sports betting companies would contract with also need to be licensed.

Operators in the online gaming platforms need to be conscious of wagers; where and how they get them, as the Federal Wire Act prohibits the inter-state placing of wagers. Online betting entities must align their operations with specific state regulations. A patron must be present during making wagers in a state as they are processed within the state where the entity is licensed.

Now that sports betting is legal in several US states, casinos partner with already reputable gambling companies to help as online sportsbooks and take wagers. Countries in the United Kingdom and many European Union countries have had online gambling for many years compared to the USA. The UK and EU have anti-money laundering laws and protocols, and those in the US are more cumbersome anti-money laundering practices.

It would help if these highly experienced international entities could involve US legal counsel to understand the practices better. A country like India is a big player in online gambling, and although it is illegal in most parts, some states have also allowed gambling with strict laws and regulations. Most gaming laws are pre-internet statutes prohibiting land-based gambling, commonly known as gaming houses.

Partnering for success

Legalizing sports gambling has quickly changed the industry, and the internet floods with sports betting operations. Casino operators and players are both working to have a share of the market while maintaining set regulations. It is a good business practice for operators to gain proper licensing requirements and get involved with other authorities like their local gaming counsel for smooth operations.

They are also required to put in place robust anti-money laundering practices, bearing in mind that federal regulating bodies are watching. The sports betting industry may feel too strict, but an upright legal partner can simplify and help navigate even the most complex regulations with best practices.


The current online legal situation of online betting is that authority bodies in a country highly regulate the industry. It is paramount to have robust statutes and regulations to regulate sports betting operations and make all participants accountable. Industry best practices or codes of conduct simplify operations but enforcing logical laws will make it sound.

Story by Ervin Horváth @ Onlinesportfogadás.com



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