One of the biggest misconceptions that people have after the Supreme Court’s decision to strike the 1992 federal ban on sports gambling is that the new law means the end of international sportsbooks. The Supreme Court ruled in May 2018 that sports’ betting was now legal in the US. Many of the non-US sportsbooks that gamblers take advantage of being in the Caribbean.
Congress halted the expansion of sports gambling in the US in 1992 with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) but accomplished the opposite. The act brought on a sportsbook black market that was worth billions. Several offshore bookmakers appealed to US bettors over the last twenty years or so and were happy to accept bets from American gamblers. Sports bettors proved that they would find a way to gamble on their favorite games despite the US law. The practice has also been widespread for some time; sports’ betting has been prevalent in the United States since at least the 19th century.
More on Sports Gambling In the United States
Every year, Americans wager an average of $150 billion in the black market, according to the American Gaming Association. The association also predicts that Americans will likely continue gambling on the black market for the foreseeable future. In addition to offshore sportsbooks, the black market also includes bookies in the US who are violating state and federal laws such as the Wire Act.
The offshore betting market is significantly large and has infiltrated several countries. Foreign lines are often referred to on TV and in mainstream publications. Gamblers are attracted to the sites by the familiarity of the name or the misleading “.lv” domain name that is attached to the website. When American gamblers search for “best online sportsbooks” on Google, they see several options to bet offshore, and they take advantage of these betting opportunities. Some gamblers even travel to Vegas for March Madness or before the football season to place their bets. Other bettors send money to friends or colleagues in Vegas, which falls into the gray area legally to place bets for them.
Offshore online sportsbooks have long been the only option for US bettors over the last 25 years; it has become habitual to engage with these sportsbooks. However, times are seemingly changing and these international sportsbooks are facing competition from financially sound companies that are running new, legal sports betting operations in the US. More legalized sportsbooks are on the way since more states are making sports betting legal.
The Future of Offshore Betting
Offshore and local bookies aren’t going to stop their operations now that legal sports’ betting is becoming legal in more US states. Some company’s executives for these foreign companies feel that they’ll get even more business from US patrons. However, this doesn’t change the fact that times are changing when it comes to sports gambling.
More states are now able to legalize and regulate sports betting. Since May 2018, casinos in New Jersey, Mississippi, Delaware, Rhode Island, and West Virginia have joined Nevada in providing full-fledged sports betting menus. More states are expected to follow suit in 2019. New Mexico also legalized sports betting in 2018, but only offers one location for sports wagering under a tribal contract just outside of Albuquerque. The pace of new states considering and legalizing gambling legislation is currently at 24 and is progressing faster than the legal marijuana movement. However, the legislation still takes time.
An executive for an offshore sportsbook who wished to remain anonymous stated: “As sports betting has become less and less taboo, offshore sportsbooks have seen their player bases steadily grow over the last decade. The repeal of PASPA will drive more curiosity towards sports wagering, and even if new players start out betting sports at the local horse track, we expect to eventually find them betting online and offshore.”
The spokesperson for offshore sportsbook BetDSI Scott Cooley echoed the executive’s sentiments:
“We expect [an] influx of new customers based on an eagerness to begin betting right away,” he said. “The government has basically said it is legal to gamble on sports now, and if your state isn’t equipped to take wagers yet, a respected and long-tenured sportsbook such as ours will [be] available anywhere you are. In the next year, we project to gain 15 to 20 percent of our current clientele base.”
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