Is it legal to bet on sports over the internet?

I’ve seen several online sites billing themselves as ‘legal’ but they’re all based in Canada or somewhere else. I believe I’ve heard that it’s illegal to run such a site in the US, but is it legal for me to place a wager on one of these non-US sites?

If not, would I ever be prosecuted if I were caught or is it regulated by the same guy who comes around to make sure you haven’t torn the labels off your matresses?

Hmm, whatever happened to Googol’s “I’m feeling lucky” button that just went to the top site.

Anyways, This page seems to be a impartial FAQ that also covers the little-known “Why must I bet $11 to win $10?”

The off-shore (or Canada) issue is “ambiguous”. Keep in mind, Casino’s and bookmaker’s do not lose money.


Source: (Testimony of Kevin V. Di Gregory, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, addressing Gambling on the Internet before the Subcommittee on Crime, of the House Committee on the Judiciary (June 24, 1998))

The US government banned online gambling partly because it would take a huge amount of revenue away from Nevada. Also to prevent underage gambling. Yep, it’s illegal.

A famous online sports gambling page is, where you can bet on just about anything.

btw, Gambling is for loosers.

If it banned online gambling, why do I get 5000000000 online casino spam every day?

This again, from The site I mentioned afore

(annoying emphasis mine.)

And as we all know (right?), these online casinos/bookies do not lose money.

I don’t know (not having looked) of any legal precedents - yet I can just imagine someone (say, me) having made some lucky bets and turning my measly $1000 into a cool $1,000,000. If Elliot Spitzer (NYS’s Attorney General) prosecutes me - I’m instantly a walking advertisment for sports betting - and as my gain is unrealized in an off-shore account in Bermuda or Barbados - utterly out of his jurisdiction. I’ll be transferring that money to a friend in Nigeria eventually.

FWIW, when I lived in Missouri a few years back, [then-] Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon appointed himself Protector of Missouri Citizens from Online Gambling and declared that on-line gambling in Missouri was illegal and would not be allowed.

Just to tweak Mr. Nixon, a few days later I tried to log on to an on-line casino. It must have detected that I had a Missouri ISP, because I got this message that said (paraphrased) “We have detected that you are attempting to log in from a jurisdiction where on-line gaming is illegal. Sorry.”


Also-- IANAL, but I believe I heard a radio sports commentator state that ALL college betting is technically illegal, and that if the NCAA had the time, money and wherewithal to do it, they would gleefully prosecute every Joe Sixpack who ran one of those basketball tournament bracket pools.

Oh, and since no one’s addressed this yet:

There is no law against tearing the label off of your mattress. The law is against the STORE tearing the label off of the mattress. That’s why it says it’s illegal “for anyone but the consumer” or words to that effect.