How do you know if a Sports Betting Website is illegal?

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We all know just how popular sports across the world are, and how sports followings change from country to country and across continents. Rugby and cricket are some of the most followed and bet on sports in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, while cricket is the most followed and bet on sport in India. And across Europe, soccer pulls in more spectators and the highest reported handles as well as profits in sports betting compared to any other sport in the world. One reason for this is because sports betting online is available in most of these countries, and online betting outweighs retail (land-based) bets placed.

In the USA, sports fans also like to bet. The country has its own bubble when it comes to sports. The NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, NASCAR, Indy Racing, and more pull fans across the country. The love for sports and sports betting has meant that some state governments have made sports betting legal in close to 30 US states, and just over 20 of those states now allow online sports betting.

How to tell if your state offers legal online sports betting websites

If you are new to betting in the US, you may wonder how to tell if a sports betting website is illegal or not, and this guide is here to help you with this topic. 

The website provides a list of states with legal sports betting and the best casino operator deals to choose from. You will also find the guide provides information on whether online bookmakers can operate legally. If you see your state listed as an online gambling friendly zone, then your next step is to discover which government body handles the legal framework put in place to regulate sports betting.

Research licensing authorities regulating sports betting online

Every state that permits online sports betting websites to operate within its virtual borders will have a licensing authority assigned to regulate the industry. It is also important to understand that you cannot join a sportsbook licensed in another state. The sportsbook must also hold a licence in your state in order to allow you to sign for an account.

Here’s an example of some of the licensing authorities in different states:

  • New Jersey – Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE)
  • Michigan – Gaming Control Board (MGCB)
  • Pennsylvania – Gaming Control Board (PGCB)
  • Delaware – Gaming Enforcement (DGE)
  • Connecticut – Lottery Corporation (CLC)
  • Nevada – Gaming Control Board (NGCB)

Once you have found the licensing authority, you can then check the online sports betting website you want to play at states that it holds a license from a legitimate state regulatory body.

Of course, some sites could fake this, at great penalty if caught. If you want full confirmation that the site is legitimately holding an approved state license, these gambling authorities offer email support. Some also have an option on their website to verify if an online sportsbook is legit, and in some cases, you can simply call the authority and check in real-time. While some, like the MGCB, offer a complete download of licensed providers available to the public so you can do your own research.

Look for sports betting websites from reputable brands

Even if you are new to sports betting, you are probably familiar with some of the most reputable sports betting brands that operate in the country. If you see any of these websites operating a real money sportsbook in your state, you can be certain that (a) online sports betting is legal in your state and (b) the sportsbook has a license from the relevant state authority.

Here are 9 of the biggest names in sports betting in the US:

  • BetMGM
  • DraftKings
  • William Hill
  • FanDuel
  • PointsBet
  • 888Sports
  • BetAmerica
  • Caesars
  • Bally’s

These brands have too much to lose by operating an illegal sports betting site. E.g., they would not offer sports betting to citizens from outside the state or those who are not a resident of the state where the sportsbook holds its online sports betting license.

For example, if BetMGM sportsbook was caught breaking the rules, it could risk its NFL Las Vegas Raiders sponsorship deal or should Caesars Sportsbook get caught doing the same, the brand could lose its NFL sponsorship deals—both deals offer their respective brands huge brand exposure.

Is it still possible to make a mistake and sign up for a non-licensed website?

If you follow the suggestions above and make a note of the points made regarding licensing authorities, then the odds of you signing up for a non-licensed website are almost zero. In short, you should make sure online sports betting is legal in your state, check that reputable online sportsbooks are available, and look to see which licensing authority is in place to regulate online gambling in your state.

If you happen to be in a state where sports betting is illegal, and you want to bet on the NFL playoffs, the super bowl or the NBA final championship games, your only option is to book a well-timed holiday or trip to a state or country where land-based gambling is legal.

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