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Sports betting in the US is still a pretty controversial subject. For many years, the United States banned all forms of gambling under a Federal law known as PASPA (Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act, 1992). However, that law was overturned just over a year ago on 14 May 2018. Individual states in the US now get to choose whether or not they wish to allow gambling and to what extent they will allow its residents to participate.

Regardless of legality, sports betting has always been prevalent in the US, going back many years. Americans are especially partial to sports, particularly Football, Basketball, Baseball and Ice Hockey. Despite media statistics denying that illegal wagering occurs on these sports, there is an equal number of others that will tell you the complete opposite.

That debate set aside, if you are USA resident you may (or may not) be aware that some states have now opted to legalise gambling, while others are still holding out. At the time of writing, opting in does not necessarily mean that your state allows every form of gambling and that situation can change daily. Always keep updated and make sure you know exactly where you stand!

In this article, you will learn:

  • About US sports betting and sportsbooks
  • Licensing and sportsbook fees in the US
  • Important matters for US sports bettors

Top 3 United States Websites Updated September, 2020

Risk Warning / Ad Disclosure

Risk Warning: The products offered by the companies listed on this website carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds. You should never risk money that you cannot afford to lose.

Ad Disclosure: Some of the links that you will find on this website are advertisements for which we do receive financial gain for referring new customers.

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United States

As we have said, sports betting is big business in the US and we believe that the overturning of PASPA was ultimately intended to give individual states and some of the lower level teams (such as College basketball) a chance to make some money for the team’s benefit. Funding may be in terms of state taxation on gambling or making some extra cash to fund team uniforms and travel expenses.

Mobile Gambling

Legal or not, there are billions of dollars spent on gambling across the USA every year and around 60% of that is believed to be carried out on mobile devices, which includes smartphones, tablets and netbooks. Bettors on the move are statistically the biggest spenders and there are very few sportsbooks accessible to US citizens that do not offer mobile services comparable to their sports betting websites. If you are likely to wager on live games, look for a sportsbook that has a reliable live streaming or real-time interface compatible with your device.

Bonuses And Incentives

With increased legal accessibility to gambling for some US states, online sportsbooks are eager to sign up this whole new wave of participants. Since PASPA became extinct, offerings in terms of bonuses and incentives, have never been higher, or easier to playthrough than in the last few months. It is highly likely that you will find some of the best initiatives ever seen over the coming months, not just in terms of sign up bonuses, but also loyalty incentives and VIP accounts geared to retain you as a participant.

Great Payouts

For some sports and certain types of more straightforward bet, there really may only be a negligible difference between one sportsbook and another. However, there are a lot of differences in the way sportsbooks attract customers to their sites that do not rely on any standard wagering or payout options. Exotic bets, accumulators and per-play live betting are becoming almost the expected ‘normal’ for US sportsbooks. Many are now creating even more technologically advanced interfaces and mobile apps to compete with their (numerous) peers.

Customer Support

One relatively easy way that a US sportsbook can score is via its customer support network. US gamblers are notoriously picky and like to have a fast and easy way to have their questions answered. A quicker response still is expected if there happens to be a problem! Some of the most astute gambling and sportsbook sites are fully aware of this and are actively engaged in providing the best customer support teams available in the world. This exceptional support is achieved by implementing a high-level of staff training, not just knowledge-based, but also in how to deal with all situations.

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Sportsbook Fees And Tax

Here is another US minefield. Some of the states that have opted to allow gambling have also decided on a policy of making taxation primarily the responsibility of the business operators. Some states have decided to impose a much higher fee to obtain a licence, as well as collecting taxes on a percentage of the operator’s profits.

A few other states are putting the onus far more on the individual gambler. In that situation, you could potentially be liable for taxation when you place a wager as well as further tax commitments on your winnings. If the latter applies, you may also be able to claim against your losses, but again this is not always the case.

Most sportsbooks choose to make their profit from gambling losses, rather than charging players for using their account. However, there are some sportsbooks which will require you to pay for certain services, including making a withdrawal from your account. As this can make a substantial difference to your overall payout, always make sure you check before signing up.

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USA Licensing

In terms of licensing, the US is still a very open book. PASPA was a federal law applicable to the whole country, but now it has been overturned. Responsibility for gambling matters, therefore automatically reverts to the state level. Those US states which have already decided to allow gambling will be required to set up individual commissions to oversee and regulate it, as well as determining what a legitimate license should cover.

With such uncertainty prevailing, there will undoubtedly be some unscrupulous operators targetting new business in recently legalised US states. You are always best advised to check out the credentials of any gambling operation that uses direct advertising techniques too freely. In these early days of legality, it is possibly best to stick with long-standing, reputable businesses.

For your peace of mind, always ensure that the following are visible to you:

  • The sportsbook holds a current, valid license
  • 128-Bit SSL encryption for data, payments and withdrawals
  • https:// standards used on every web page
  • Transparent access to company information

In an ideal world, you would also sit and read through the full terms and conditions, but we realise this is a tedious task. At the very least make sure that you do research the matters that will affect you directly as a participant, such as playthrough requirements, additional fees for withdrawal and adequate ways to contact the company, should the need arise.

Most sportsbooks choose to make their profit from gambling losses, rather than charging players for using their account.

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How we Recommend Sportsbooks

For the US, we recommend sportsbooks which are legally accessible to US citizens. Beyond that, we try to ensure that any we review and ultimately recommend have a certain level of credibility, licensing and regulatory control that will make them as secure and safe for you as possible. Additionally, we also look for the fun factor; sports betting should not be boring.

With a total of fifty US states, each separately legislated and not all opting to legalise any form of gambling; it becomes a very challenging task to find a ‘one size fits all’ option when it comes to sports betting. While we can review sportsbooks against the factors we feel are essential, you may also need to do some research of your own to ensure that they comply with your local legislation.

Bigger is not always better. We believe that it is not necessarily the operation that spends the most on advertising and big bonuses that will be the most suitable for you. We also look behind the scenes at sportsbooks, checking out customer support and the T & Cs to ensure that you will have no unpleasant surprises or incur unexpected fees.

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Risk Warning / Ad Disclosure

Risk Warning: The products offered by the companies listed on this website carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds. You should never risk money that you cannot afford to lose.

Ad Disclosure: Some of the links that you will find on this website are advertisements for which we do receive financial gain for referring new customers.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is online gambling in the US legal and safe?

At present, this question can only be answered accurately by checking current legislation for your location. If you are at all unsure of where your state stands, please make sure that you check.

Do I need to pay fees and taxes on my winnings?

Again, this is a matter now dealt with by state authorities. Some states are putting the tax onus onto gambling businesses, while others are intent on taxing individuals at source.

Can I test sportsbooks before betting with real money?

Rarely does a sportsbook offer any form of ‘try before you buy’. However, the majority of sportsbooks are currently offering minimal deposit options and low-cost bets, as well as a lot of other incentives.

Is it easy to make deposits and withdrawals?

Yes. Most sportsbooks are very eager to get your business and have multiple ways to deposit and withdraw from your account. Please be aware that card payments allocated to gambling sites can be blocked by the provider.

Can I bet using my mobile or tablet device?

Almost certainly, yes. Virtually every sportsbook now offers equivalent, or in some cases better, mobile device options to its customers.

Meet The Author
Jeff Knight
Jeff Knight
Pro Gambler

Jeff is a professional gambler. His forte is spending all his time looking for winning odds and games. He specialises in racing and football betting on everything from race winners to corners awarded and believes in the systems he’s developed over the years.

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