Sports Betting Laws Covering The Federal WIre Act, Paspa And The UIGEA

Football betting laws in the United States are confusing to say the least. A tiny minority of states allow US companies to offer legal football betting, but the majority do not. And the Department of Justice, who used to believe that all Internet gambling should be outlawed, now believes that only sports betting should. So while the average United States citizen believes that Internet sports betting is outlawed, it actually is not. US companies cannot take sports bets from USA citizens, but non-US companies can. Throughout the United Kingdom, in Panama City, Panama, Costa Rica and Canada, there are Internet gambling industries which certify companies to legally offer online football wagering and gambling on other sports. Coupled with that availability, there is not a single law prohibiting a United States citizen from placing an online sports wager. Let's look at the three most significant football betting laws which have some US sports bettors confused.

The Interstate Wire Act of 1961 (Federal Wire Act)

This law was developed to "prohibit the operation of certain types of betting businesses in the United States." This legislation was suggested by US Attorney General Robert F Kennedy, in an effort to stop organized crime from running criminal sportsbook operations. In summary, it states that a US business cannot use wired communication systems to accept bets or wagers. However, in September of 2011, even the usually gambling-opposed Department of Justice released an opinion which states that "interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a 'sporting event or contest' fall outside the reach of the Wire Act." Fortunately, this is one of many US football betting laws which does not attempt to stop an individual citizen from placing a sports wager. And it laid the groundwork for the reputable offshore sportsbooks which deliver reliable Internet football gambling options today.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992

Also known as PASPA and the "Bradley Act", this piece of legislation attempted to further define the legal status of sports betting throughout the US. It allowed that since there were already sports lotteries conducted in Delaware, Oregon and Montana, they would be exempt from this law. Also, the sports pools in Nevada would be grandfathered in as well. What does this have to do with betting on football? As a sports gambling business ban, once again, individual US citizens are not affected. It means that a business cannot run a sports betting operation in the United States. This was about when the Internet was getting cranked up, and also when the first legitimate Internet sportsbooks were appearing on the web. Some of those early legally licensed online football betting sites located offshore are still in operation today.

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

Fast-forward 14 years from PASPA to 2006, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) further defines sports betting legality in the USA. Actually added as a rider to the SAFE Port Act which is a port security piece of legislation, UIGEA basically restates that is against the law for US gambling businesses to accept payments for gambling transactions. It specifically excluded fantasy sports and recognized Indian tribal gaming. Once again, this law is focused towards unscrupulous gambling businesses, and not you or me as individual sports bettors. The same handful of legally licensed offshore Internet sportsbooks that deliver a reliable and dependable football betting experience continue to honor and accept US players.

What Do These Football Betting Laws Really Mean?

Quite simply, legally betting on the NFL or wagering on college football in the US is a safe and secure experience, as long as you only use legally licensed operations. That means choosing a company which has been certified by an industry recognized online gambling license provider. Those are the only places we bet football online, and we have provided a list of the top rated Internet football sports betting sites for easy click-through access. Sports betting in the United States is a political football that is often times used when election time rolls around. So just remember, there is not a single piece of federal legislation that prohibits an individual in the US from placing a sports wager online. Even the World Trade Organization (WTO) has continued to uphold the rights of non-US countries and jurisdictions with online gambling industries to service US customers. The football betting laws currently in place in the United States are there to protect you from illegal operations, not to keep you from betting on football through legally certified offshore sportsbooks.


While we have done our best to outline some of the main laws pertaining to online sports betting, the links below offer a lot more information about each law. We are not lawyers and encourage all visitors to do their own research as to whether or not betting on football is legal in his or her juristiction.

Federal Wire Act