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Is Offshore Betting Legal for Sports Events?

Offshore betting!
Publish Date: 08/17/2020
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Sports betting is a delicate subject depending on where you choose to raise the matter. That’s because, as is the case with most gambling activities, there needs to be a consensus among the regions’ governing bodies. Laws made in Europe cannot apply to gamblers residing in America, and vice versa. Having clear cut laws on gambling activities ensures that those getting involved can do so as per the laws of their land.

The gambling laws put in place govern different areas. Legislation that’s followed with regards to activities carried out at physical casinos and bookmakers may not apply to online versions of the same. That’s especially when you’re talking about placing real money wagers.

What is Offshore Betting?

Technology has made it possible for gambling to move to online platforms. These enable you to access betting sites on your desktop or portable device so long as it can access the internet. That means that gamblers no longer need to visit physical establishments to place their bets.

These same online platforms have brought a rise in offshore betting, which is placing your bets on a platform that operates under laws set by regulators outside your region. For instance, an online sportsbook licensed in the UK can serve US-based residents. The option enables bettors to try out different sites without having to move to distant countries for the opportunity. It also gives those residing in states that do not allow online gambling through local operators a chance to still make real money bets for real money rewards.

Is Offshore Betting Better?

To answer this question, it’s necessary to weigh the pros and cons of domestic versus offshore betting sites to see which one comes out on top. Aside from that, every bettor has preferences when it comes to betting activities. So, what would be a plus for one person may not count for much with another one.

Setbacks Arising from The Pandemic

With the current COVID-19 situation, activities that resulted in having crowded gatherings became illegal. This was a necessary measure as authorities searched for ways to help curb the virus’ spread. Among the affected activities were sporting events. Stopping these then led to a drop in sports betting activities. That meant that betting halls and casino floors received fewer visitors.

Resuming of Services

Now, though, measures are being put in place to help these activities get back to running. That includes having a limit to the number of people at a given venue. This has slowly led to the resumption of sports competitions such as football and basketball, among others. The steps that various governments are taking are all in a bid to try and revive revenue streams, which in turn will restore tax collection to some degree.

Perks of Offshore Betting Sites

With the current pandemic situation, more people are looking for ways to continue with their usual activities without having to leave their houses. As a result, online platforms are gaining a lot of traffic due to more people turning to it for a myriad of reasons. The most notable online activities are online shopping and searching for entertainment, the latter option being where gambling on sports would fall.

Online sports betting can happen with a local or offshore operator. However, being able to access both means that your options are unlimited. If your state restricts local online operators, you would still be able to try your luck with an overseas operator. For those well versed with online betting, you may have noticed that offshore operators, more often than not, have better markets and odds for bettors to stake on.

The US Laws Regarding Online Gambling

Since the US government is looking to restore revenue streams, one of the areas they can look into is the online sports betting market. This has a large following and especially in recent times since you can indulge from wherever you are. Legalizing online sports betting by local operators would increase the number of legitimate platforms for US residents, meaning more taxes are likely to come in as a result. Additionally, having lower taxes will encourage operators to set up shop for residents of these states.

However, the confusion with federal legislation behind sports betting activities, such as with the PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) and the Interstate Wire Act, leads operators to take their business elsewhere. After all, if domestic bookmakers are still a grey area to approach, then how can online operators be seen as acceptable? That’s why the legality of gambling as a whole was later left up to individual states to implement as they see fit.

Why Lawmakers Aren’t Keen on Offshore Betting

Although offshore sports betting keeps gaining more traction, state governments aren’t too keen on allowing their residents access to them. The reasons include:

The emergence of illegal offshore bookmakers

Legalizing the use of offshore platforms has also led to a rise in illegal bookmakers, says Forbes. When compared to locally run physical and online operators, those from overseas operators seem to have more to offer. This makes it possible for illegal bookmakers to create platforms that could get used to scam US bettors.

The lack of protection for US residents

The reason scams are a big possibility is because US bettors have no protection while on some of these offshore sites, even though they accept US bettors. As you browse for online sites to bet at, you’re always advised to look for licensed bookmakers. These licenses need to be issued by regulators recognized by the countries to be served so that they can guarantee their clients are safe. This safety means that in case you have an issue on the site, you have ways to legally seek redress as a member on the site.

Taxation of offshore operators

The reason offshore operators have such enticing sports odds on offer is that they evade paying taxes as they should. Since they operate outside of the set gambling laws, it means the US government cannot follow them to collect taxes on the games played by the country’s residents.

States That Allow Offshore Betting

Depending on where you reside in the US, you’re subject to different laws whenever you’d like to place offshore bets using real money. According to the Business Insider, several states continue to join the online betting bandwagon. As for offshore betting,

At the moment 48 out of 50 US states allow their residents to indulge in offshore betting activities. The states that are explicitly against online gambling at the moment are Connecticut and Washington.

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