A Guide to the Laws and Regulations Surrounding Betting in the USA

There are of course some countries of the world that have some of the strictest laws and regulations in place in regards to gambling sites and betting venues, and the USA is one such country.

This guide has been compiled by me to introduce you to those laws and regulations that all licensed Sportsbooks are going to have to abide to at all times, as such if you are visiting or you live in the USA and you intend to place a bet of any type at such a venue then below are the regulations and laws that will be in place at such sites and venues.

You do of course have plenty of choice in regards to where you can gamble, and there will be pros and cons of selecting one Sportsbooks over any other, which you should factor into your choice of sportsbook!

21 Years of Age

If you do wish to place bets and wagers in the USA then you need to be at the very least 21 years of age, there are no exceptions to that law what so ever and as such no one is permitted to gamble until they have at the very least become 21 years old.

One thing that will become very apparent to you if you do look under the age of 21 is that you are always going to be challenged by the employees of many sportsbook to prove that you are over the age of 21.

In fact, you could be challenged to prove your age many times on a single visit when different employees spot you and as such if you do look under the age f 21 but are indeed over the age of 21 then always have your identification documents with you, or you will be asked to leave.

Online gambling does also abide by the minimal legal age to gamble laws, and whilst the laws surrounding online betting in the USA are a grey area, if you do sign up to such a site you will be required to prove you are over 21 years of age.

Payment of Winnings

All customers who have placed any type of bet in a licensed US SportsBook are going to have to wait until the official result of whatever is was they bet on has been declared, before they are then paid out their winnings.

The payouts of those winnings can take many different forms, which could be cash, check or via a bank wire if the winnings are substantial, however each Sportsbook much have the funds at hand to payout all winning customers ideally by their chosen payment method.

The odds taken at the time of placing any wagers are going to be the ones at which a customer will then be paid out their winnings, and as such it is important that a gambler is aware of and makes a note of the odds they took.

Be aware however that when gambling at an offshore based sportsbook online or via a mobile device, such gamblers will be subject to the payout time scales as indicated on the websites of such sites, and may only be able to withdraw a certain amount of winnings each day, week or month.

Betting Taxes and Identification

One aspect to gambling in any shape or form in the United States of America that you need to be fully aware of is that you are going to have to pay taxes on your winnings once they surpass a certain level.

If you do win, for one single bet a large amount of cash over $1200 then the sportsbook has the right to withhold the taxes from you, and one thing you are going to need to be able to do is to prove your identity.

You can do that by supplying a passport or diving license, however be aware that if you are from outside of the USA or are gambling in another state then the sportsbook staff and employees may not accept an out of state driving licensed as prove of identification.

With that in mind if you are ever planning on visiting a land based bricks and mortar sportsbook, always ensure that you have the required identification documents at hand to prove your identity.

Often if you have a player’s card with your photo on it at as issued by the sportsbook you are gambling in they are then going to accept that as identification, which is handy to know if you don’t want to cart around your I.D. with you all the time.

Access to Customers Funds

It is very important for the relevant State Gaming Commission to ensure that every single sportsbook that has been issued with one of their licenses to operate is financially solvent and able to pay out all of their commitments.

That is something that is taken very seriously and as such at all times every single sportsbook operators must have enough funds to cover all liabilities, and they are checked regularly to ensure that they do so.

As US citizens can gamble online at offshore based Sportsbooks and betting sites it is worth knowing that there is no protection on offer to them when gambling at such sites as none of them are licensed by any US States Gambling Commissions.

As such you are only ever going to be guaranteed of having full and unrestricted access to you gambling and betting related winnings if and when you gamble at a land based bricks and mortar gambling sites or sportsbook.

So keep that in mind the next time that you do fancy placing a bet as you will always want to get access to your winnings when you win!

Gambling With Your Means

It is important that anyone who does want to place bets and wagers on any type of sporting activities knows fully about the risks of doing so and always gambles within their means too.

One aspect of gambling that is taken seriously in the US is problem gambling, and as such when you do visit a brick and mortar sportsbook venue you are always going to find leaflets and literature that will point you in the right direction in regards to who to seek help from if you do fee you have a gambling problem.

It is however very hard to come across sportsbook employees who will make something of a concerted effort to have a word with people who are displaying gambling problems, however every now and then one employee may speak to someone displaying such problems.

It is always worth remembering however that there are plenty of support groups available that you can get some help and support from in regards to giving up any type of gambling activities. So if you do feel that your gambling has got out of hand please do make use of those support groups.

Self Exclusion

Sadly, it is a very well known fact that there are some people who are going to experience problems when ambling, and there are ways in which people who are unable to control their gambling activates are going to be able to get help and support with those issues throughout the United States of America.

One thing that is going to be on offer to you as a customer of any online or land based US gambling premises or site is something known as a self exclusion form and if you wish to ban yourself from gambling at such sites and venues then you should make the effort to fill in one of those forms.

By doing so the owners and operators of those sites and venues are then legally obliged to not allow you to gamble there, and if for example you self exclude yourself from a sportsbook or even a casino then if you are ever spotted in that venue you will be told to leave.

At no point in the future are you ever going to be allowed to return to any gambling venue or site that you have self excluded yourself from, so keep that in mind if you are currently experiencing problems gambling.

Restricted Territories

As you may be aware, a handful of US States have now made online gambling legal, and as such if you currently live or are staying in one of those US States then you are going to be able to place a range of different bets and wagers online perfectly legally.

However, if you are not currently in one of those licensed and regulated US States you are not going to be able to sign up and gamble at any of the gambling sites that are licensed there, as there are systems in place that can detect where you are and you will never be permitted to gamble at such sites until you are within the State boundaries.

If you attempt to bypass the Geo Location systems each of those gambling sites have in place you will be found out and banned from them, and as such please do not try to log not such a site and gamble if you are not within the respective State boundaries.

Even if you do manage somehow to log onto those sites and gamble you will not be paid out any winnings that you achieve once you have been found out!

Live Video Streaming

One thing that you are going to notice no matter in which land based US sportsbook you choose to visit, is a huge bank of TV screen and monitors attached to the wall, and on those screen you are going to be able to watch live footage from all manner of different sporting events and sporting fixtures!

That is one of the many benefits of choosing to gamble at a land based brick and mortar Sportsbooks, however there will often be lots of additional benefits such as special promotional offers and if that venue is based inside of a casino, then you will often be given free drinks too when the cocktail waitresses walk by!

However, what I have also begin to notice is that many online and mobile betting sites and apps now offer you the ability of watching a live video stream of a range of different sporting events and sporting fixtures.

The only downside I have also noticed in regards to how gamblers can make use of those live video streams is that they are often required to have first placed a bet on any of them to then be given access to those video streams!

Complaints Procedure

Whilst it is going to be a very rare event for you to have any type of complaint or problems when you have placed your bets and wagers at a fully licensed and regulated US based betting site or venue, every now and then problems could arise.

The very first thing that you should do when you do experience any type of problem is to speak to the manager on duty who should then do everything in his or her powers to get those problems addressed and rectified, often there and then and on the spot.

If however he or she is unable to or even is unwilling to do so, then you should get in touch with the local gambling commission that has issued those premises with their license to operate. You are going to be able to contact them day or night, and by doing so they will allocate someone to sort out those problems for you.

It may actually be the case that one of their officers will attempt the premises very quickly and then will listen to your complaint and will then find a solution to those problems, which is good to know.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this final section of my guide to US betting laws, I am going to be answering a range of the most frequently asked questions regarding that betting environment. As such please do read on as you may find the answers you are looking for.

If you are not based in the USA then I would urge you to make use of some of my more specific and country related betting guides, as there can be and are some noticeable differences between betting laws in many different countries of the world.

Do US Sportsbooks take bets on anything?

One question what I do get asked a lot by first time sports bettors is just what types of bets they can place at a sportsbook and whether they are going to be permitted to place a bet on any sporting event that has caught their eye and imagination.

Well, you only have to walk into any brick and mortar land based sportsbook at take a look at all of the TV screen on the walls of those venues to see that they are beaming live footage of a huge range of different sporting events, from across the globe.

You will of course have the ability of being able to place a bet on absolutely any type of sporting event or sporting fixture that you do wish to place a bet on when visiting any sportsbook, and as such whenever you do wish to bet on will have odds available on them.

But do keep in mind that some Sportsbooks may be offering some very low money lines and odds and what you should always be keen and prepared to do is to shop around and first compare the odds on offer on the sporting events you wish to place a bet on, and then take the bets valued odds you have come across to get more winnings back from your stake money!

Can I be banned from a Sportsbook if I win?

There are lots of different reasons you may find yourself getting banned from a sportsbook, however it is very rare for a sportsbook to ban a customer who is winning, for each sportsbook does have the over-round and odds on their side to ensure that over the long term they do lock in a winning profit.

However, it is of course up to every single sportsbook who they allow or do not allow into their premises and as such they all do reserves the right to be able to ban anyone they wish to ban.

If you choose to bet online at an offshore betting site then you may find that such sites will and can ban any of their customers that are showing a profit, so that is why you should avoid gambling at such sites as the risks are way too great and many of them are a law unto themselves!

What do US citizens bet on the most?

There are of course some sporting events that are always going to attract the very highest volumes of bets and agers from US citizens, and the one sporting event that is famed for having some gigantic volumes of wagers placed on it is the Superbowl!

However, as sports betting is such an established form of betting you will find that many people in the USA will place bets and wagers on all sporting events and sporting fixtures that is why all Sportsbooks based there do offer a huge and very varied range of betting opportunities to their customers.

Where can I get the best betting odds in the USA?

One aspect that you are always going to have to keep in mind as a sports bettor is that there are going to be different odds available to you at different betting sites and venues, and as such you will be best advised to be prepared to shop around to ensure that you always do secure the very best odds for whatever it is you intend to place a bet on.

As soon as you place your bet then the odds you have accepted and have secured at the time of placing that bet will be the ones that you will be paid out at, if your bet is of course a winning one.

Whilst I have found it to be the case that lots of Sportsbooks nearby one another will be offering the exact same odds on a range of different sporting events and sporting fixtures you are always going to find one or two places that may be offering you slightly higher odds.

So keep that in mind and always shop around to ensure that the odds you are getting and taking on yours sports bets and wagers are the very highest ones available!

Can anyone in the USA place a sports bet?

As long as you are at the very least 21 years of age, and as long as you have not self excluded yourself from any betting site or sportsbook then you are going to be able to legally place a bet in any US licensed sportsbook.

Keep in mind however that each of those Sportsbooks are going to have to adhere very strictly to local State gambling laws, and as such there can be different laws and regulations in place in different Sportsbooks in different US States.

Also, do keep in mind that not all US States have legalized gambling, and one thing that you are not going to be able to do is to place bets and wagers from one US State to another US State as the wire act forbids such bets and wagers to be placed.

If you do wish to place a sports bet, then you will be best advised to stick to placing your bets and wagers only at nearby licensed and regulated Sportsbooks, and be very wary of any offshore Sportsbooks that may accept your wagers, as none of them will be licensed in the USA.