The United States of America has one of the largest sports betting markets in the world. Punters from all over the country are placing bets on their favorite teams on a daily basis. However, all of this mostly takes place at retail locations and online gambling has been almost non-existent for the last decade.
But in recent times, tides are shifting and the American market is becoming ever more open to the idea of placing bets on the Internet. In this article, we will go over everything that you need to know about placing bets at USA betting websites.
USA Online Gambling Legislation
The reason behind the stagnation of online punting in the USA when compared to other countries mostly had to do with the restrictive legislation regarding the industry. Due to the structure of government in the United States, gambling, in general, has been a touchy subject. While it is completely legal in some states, it is outright banned in others, which makes things slightly more complicated than in other countries. Moreover, certain states allow some forms of gambling, while outlawing others. Therefore, there is no definitive answer when it comes to betting in the USA.
Up until recently, sports betting, in general, was considered illegal in the vast majority of states, according to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, also known as the Bradley Act. It prohibited sports betting in all but a handful of states and it had been in place for the better part of three decades before it was overturned in May of 2018. The judges of the Supreme Court argued that this act was unconstitutional as it was taking power away from the individual states. As a result, the legalities regarding sports betting in the US depend solely on the local state governments.
On the federal level, there is no law that prohibits online sports betting and as long as your state of residence allows for it, there is nothing stopping you from placing some bets on your favorite sports. As of this writing, only the states exempt from the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 allow online sports betting. This includes Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. But even in those states, the situation is not exactly ideal. Nevada was the only state prior to the abolishment of the Protection Act of 1992 that allowed full-fledged sports betting as we understand it, whereas the other three states only allowed limited punting. As of June 2018, both New Jersey and Delaware have fully legalized the sports betting market and other states are following suit, with Mississippi, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, among others, starting discussions and drafting potential legislation.
Judging by the current trend, sports betting will become an ever more popular pastime for US residents and with more states warming up to the idea, the United States might quickly rise to become one of the leading sports betting markets in the world. In any event, the future looks bright for US gamblers.
Popular USA Betting Markets
There are many different sports to bet on at online sportsbooks and US punters are more fond of certain types than of others. Of course, there is a great variety of offerings at online sportsbooks and what we list below is not the only thing that will be at your disposal, however, there are the most likely sports types that you will be able to place bets on on the Internet.
The National Basketball Association is one of the most popular and prestigious basketball leagues in the world. It runs on a yearly basis and features 30 teams, 29 of which are from the US and the 30th from Canada. You will have a hard time finding a more popular basketball championship and the NBA draws great attention both domestically and abroad. Currently, NBA matches are some of the most bet on in the gambling industry and millions of punters watch in anticipation of how the league will progress. US users will be able to place bets on the many different matches at their local online sportsbooks.
National Football League is one of the main sports leagues in the United States, with millions of people tuning in to watch the games. The betting scene is no less intense and NFL matches are some of the most popular at online sportsbooks. The NFL comprises of 32 teams, divided into equal parts between the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. A season runs for 17 weeks, during which each team plays 16 games. This means that there will be plenty of matches for you to bet on and additionally, many different bet types associated with this league.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is an American mixed-martial arts organization, established in 1993 in Nevada, making it one of the youngest sports types on this list. The UFC draws in very large crowds and even more people watch it at home on television. It is a great spectacle and the sports betting scene is thriving around it. Since its inception, UFC has held over 400 individual events, with multiple matches taking place at each.
Baseball is considered the All-American sport and nowhere is this better represented than in the Major League Baseball. This association has been active since 1903 and is without a doubt one of the most popular baseball leagues in the world. Comprising of 30 teams, 29 US and 1 Canadian, the MLB features regular matches, with the number of viewers going into the millions. The MLB has consistently provided events for punters to bet on and it has worked out well for all parties involved. Therefore, whenever you register at a US sports betting website, you will likely find MLB matches as one of the main offerings.
The National Hockey League is the fourth of the four major sports leagues in the United States and is one that features a greater Canadian presence. The NHL consists of 31 teams, 24 American and 7 Canadian. Its history dates back to 1917 and it has been popular since its inception. During the course of the season, each team plays 82 games – 41 on their home field and 41 as a guest. As it happens, the NHL is quite popular among the general American audience, especially in the north end of the country. Additionally, the sports betting scene is also quite alive and well.
Horse racing is one of the most popular forms of gambling out there and it enjoys a great following in the United States. Horse racing has always been one of the leading sports betting markets in the world and the same goes for the US. Currently, the overwhelming majority of sportsbooks operating on US jurisdiction also offer horse racing.
Online Banking at USA Betting Websites
Naturally, using cash money at online betting websites is not technically possible. For this reason, many gambling websites choose to support online payment services with which punters may control their sportsbook balance. Fortunately, these come in many shapes and sizes, offering users a different set of features. Each of the popular supported payment methods is able to provide punters with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. As a result, certain payment services will be more suited to your needs, depending on the type of user that you are. Below, we have listed some of the most popular payment methods accepted at online sportsbooks.
Skrill is one of the most widely supported and available payment services out there. It ranks among the oldest and most used transaction methods in the online gambling industry. Once known as Moneybookers, this service was established in 2001 and since then it has become the primary payment method for millions of gamblers, not only in the USA but around the world.
Skrill classifies as an electronic wallet also referred to as eWallet, which allows you to store and move money on the Internet as you see fit. This type of service is characterized by instant transactions and high anonymity. More specifically, you will be able to make instant deposits to your sportsbook balance. Moreover, the withdrawals made via Skrill are nearly as fast and will process in a few short hours after the sportsbook staff confirms them. Finally, the service is not connected to your bank account, thereby allowing you to maintain your anonymity on the Internet.
Neteller stands alongside Skrill as one of the primary eWallet services that you can use at online sportsbooks. Both payment methods are owned by the same parent company – Paysafe Group. As such, you can rely on either of them to provide you with the best possible transactions where online gambling is concerned.
Much like Skrill, Neteller can offer you instant transactions and the fastest withdrawal wait times in the industry. Additionally, the anonymity that this service can provide is not to be underestimated. Both payment methods are quite similar, with the differences being primarily in the fees that they charge. You should look into that to decide which service is better suited for you.
Paysafecard is arguably the most popular prepaid service that you will have at your disposal when you decide to fund your online sportsbook bankroll. Paysafecard is available at thousands of retail locations, such as supermarkets, gas stations, newspaper stands, etc. This makes it widely accessible and just about anyone can acquire one.
Paysafecard comes with its own set of positive and negative qualities which we will mention. For starters, Paysafecard users can always rely on instant deposits. Additionally, the service does not require you to submit any personal information when purchasing a card. This will allow you to maintain your privacy on the Internet like no other service can. However, Paysafecard does not give you the possibility to withdraw your balance. As a result, you will have to rely on a different payment solution, such as a bank transfer or a check. Most online sportsbooks will be more than happy to provide you with either.
Credit and Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards are the most widely used payment method on the Internet and are universally accepted. This also includes gambling websites such as sportsbooks. Credit and debit cards are integrated into our society to such an extent that no company can afford not to support them.
There are several advantages that come with using a card, of which the instant transactions take precedence. With a card deposit, you will have immediate access to your funds and will be able to start placing bets as soon as you confirm the payment. When the time comes to cash in your winnings, you will find that cards are a much better solution than a bank transfer, as the wait times are drastically shorter, taking no more than 5 business days to clear. This makes debit and credit cards the perfect solution for the majority of punters.
Bitcoin is one of the largest growing trends in the online gambling industry. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and it is widely different from other payment solutions found on this list. For starters, it has no direct link to the banking institutions that we traditionally rely on. Bitcoin is completely separate from them and you can conduct your business with no oversight. Additionally, the service is completely decentralized which means that there is no central authority.
Transactions made via Bitcoin usually process within a few minutes, regardless of whether you are sending a payment or receiving one. Moreover, anonymity when using Bitcoin is guaranteed and there is nothing in the process that could identify you.
In terms of downsides, there are several which you should be aware of. First and foremost, there is no customer support due to the fact that there is no central entity controlling the cryptocurrency. Additionally, the value of Bitcoin in relations to the US dollar can swing drastically due to the high volatility. Finally, there are some sportsbooks which will not payout your winnings in Bitcoin, rather in traditional fiat currency.
Security at USA Betting Websites
Security is on the Internet is paramount in any industry. When you place bets online you have to be sure that your banking and personal information will remain in safe hands. Naturally, online sportsbooks exhaust every effort to make sure of that. There are many security measures that gambling websites take to maintain the integrity of your users’ data.
One of these is the implementation of encryptions systems that encode all information that you send to the sportsbook, including the correspondence with the support staff. So far, these have proven extremely useful in keeping sensitive data secure and most gambling websites employ some form of encryption system. In fact, it is estimated that to break a modern encryption it would take on average several decades with contemporary technology.
Another security features that sportsbooks use alongside encryption are 2-Factor-Authentication systems. What these do is make sure that it is really you who is accessing the account. The way they do this is very simple but very effective. Basically, whenever you seek to log in to your account, the sportsbook will send a message to your phone and you will have to enter its contents to gain access. However, not all sportsbooks offer this type of security system.
Overall, there are many ways that gambling websites protect your personal information and you can safely place bets there, knowing that you will not become a victim of identity theft.
Customer Support at USA Betting Websites
Something that you should always look out for when choosing the right online sportsbook for you is the customer support that the website can offer. Every now and then, you may need someone to help you out. In such an event, you need to know that you can rely on a competent customer service team to satisfy your needs.
Generally, sportsbooks offer several different methods that you can contact the support team. One way would be to implement a live chat system. This is exactly as it sounds – you get to communicate with a support agent in real time and explain the nature of your issue. This is typically the fastest way to get in contact with someone. The alternatives usually are to call a dedicated line or to write an email. Either is acceptable and will provide you with a similar effect.
Something that you should always look for is a sportsbook that offers customer service around the clock. There is nothing more disheartening than to have to wait a whole day to receive help.
Mobile Support at USA Betting Websites
Another important aspect of online gambling is mobile support. With smartphones and tablets taking an ever more dominant place in our lives, it only makes sense for us to include them in our online gambling activities. Mobile devices are perfect for filling in an empty time slot in our day where we have nothing better to do, such as during our morning commute. Luckily, the online gambling industry has not neglected this and has provided punters will very adequate support for mobile devices. There are generally two ways that you can access an online sportsbook from your smartphone or tablet.
One method is to download a dedicated application for mobile devices. This will give you instant access directly from your home screen. One advantage that apps have over the other method is that they will give you somewhat smoother interactions. Something which you should note is that only the bigger brands develop dedicated applications for their services. The alternative is to access the mobile version from the browser of your device. This is not that much different from the app version, but it will require no effort or preparation on your part.
The mobile version of a sportsbook is no different from the desktop variant. You will have full access to all features available on the desktop version. This includes promotions, customer support, banking, the betting markets, and just about anything else that you can come up with.