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US Gambling Sites / Betting Guide / The Wire Act: What is The Wire Act & How Does It Work?

The Wire Act: What is The Wire Act & How Does It Work?

Publish Date: 30/05/2021
Fact checked by: Drew the DFS Guy

The Wire Act is a major betting law that was passed in 1961 to stop sports betting across states using different forms of wire communication. However, this sports betting law is constantly evolving.

Becoming familiar with the law and the legality of sports betting in the US is a good first step toward making the most of sports betting and all that it has to offer you. The act still influences the sports betting industry today in a big way by limiting how states can offer wagering services to people in the US.

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The Wire Act Key Facts

  • Was founded in 1961
  • Updated for modern interpretation
  • Prevents states from offering sports betting outside of their borders
  • Constantly evolving and changing

The Wire Act is a sports betting law, and sometimes considered to be a gambling law in general, that influences in the sports betting industry in a big way. This major wagering law simply says that gambling can’t occur across state lines, and if it does it’s a violation on the Federal level. This is a big deal to most of the sports betting industries, and it has a major impact on different operations around the country today.

The Original Wire Act compared to the Modern Day Act

TopicThe Original Wire ActModernizing the Act
DescriptionTargeted betting and wagering across state and foreign lines using wire communicationExpanded to include various forms of wagering and electronic communication tools
PenaltiesThreatens fines and imprisonment up to two yearsContinual adjustments to interpretation and enforcement
ScopeLimited to state and foreign linesIncludes internet and various forms of wagering
EnforcementMain law governing gambling industry in the United StatesContinually adapted to modern technology and practices

No Interstate Sports Betting

Gamblers that want to place sports bets today will have to do so within their own states. The Wire Act makes it no longer legal to place sports bets at facilities that are outside of the current state the resident is in. Even gamblers that are from the home state offering the wagering, can’t place wagers in that state when they’re outside of it without breaking the law according to the Wire Act. This is the reason that gambling facilities use location tracking software today.

Location Tracking Software

In order to remain compliant with the Wire Act sports betting laws, modern-day sports betting facilities that offer their services online use location-tracking software to make sure the players are within the proper state to place any wagers.

When players are determined to be in the wrong state, they are not allowed to place any wagers. Gamblers that want to place wagers will have to make sure they are working with proper legal sports betting facilities. They will have to travel to the state of the chosen sports betting facility if they aren’t already within the state borders. Being located outside the state means that some travel will be required in order to place sports wagers legally.

Wagering on Phone and Computer

With modern-day technology, it’s possible to place wagers on computers, smartphones, and other small devices conveniently from anywhere that you like.

These different devices come with powerful location-tracking solutions built into them, making it easier than ever for the sports betting industry to remain compliant with the Wire Act and similar regulations.

Gamblers who want to place a bet or two don’t have to drive to a local wagering facility any longer. Instead, they can simply get on a computer, visit a sports betting website and place their wagers there. If you’re interested in sports betting, you can do so from the comfort of your home as long as your state allows sports betting.

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Sports Betting Legality in the United States

PASPA or the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was preventing states from legally running sports betting operations for many years. When that law was overturned in 2018 it became legal for states to start offering sports betting to their citizens once again. That’s when many states began building up their sports betting presence and designing facilities for their citizens to use.

Today it’s legal for any states that want to offer sports betting to their citizens to do so within their own state lines. They can’t legally offer their services to players in other states because of the wire act and how that law works though. Bettors that are interested in placing wagers on different sporting events can feel free to do so, but they will have to limit those wagers to facilities that are within their current state.

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Federally Approved Sports Betting

The 1992 PASPA law was overturned making it legal to offer local sports betting on a Federal Level. States can now offer sports betting if they wish to, but they don’t have to allow their citizens to take part if they don’t want to.

State-Specific Betting Laws

Each of the 50 states in the United States has the option to allow sports betting locally if they wish to. Many states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania were quick to jump into the betting industry and are already developing major wagering facilities for their citizens. These states can feel free to offer all the different types of sports betting services that they want to their citizens, as long as those services don’t violate the wire act in any way.

More States to Allow Sports Betting in the Coming Years

There are just a small handful of states that currently offer legal sports betting, but that is likely to change over time as more states work to approve sports betting for their own citizens. Sports betting is a highly profitable industry, and one that many states are eager to take part in. US residents should expect to see more sports betting industries open up throughout the country as more and more states begin to approve this wagering activity.

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Make the Most of the Modern Sports Betting Industry

Now that sports betting is legal it’s the perfect time to get involved with the industry and to try sports betting for yourself. We’ve put together a long-list of the top sports betting operators available today. Take some time to compare the different options and to use our in-depth comparisons to find the perfect betting operation to use to place your wagers. Get familiar with these different facilities and start placing wagers that are going to serve as entertainment and hopefully help you get some nice outcomes as well.

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Conclusion: The Wire Act Has a Big Impact on Mobile Betting

The Wire Act was defined more than 50 years ago, but it’s still controlling the sports betting industry in a big way. The law is continually being looked at and examined for legality, but it’s unlikely to go away any time soon. Interested bettors can still place wagers as long as they live in one of the states that have legalized sports betting.

Fortunately, more and more states are beginning to legalize sports wagering, and even residents that don’t live in a state that allows it might live close enough to another state that does. It’s easier than ever to travel from one location to another, which means that taking part in sports betting is as simple as hopping in the car or on a flight, heading to a legal state and placing those wagers. To learn more about how to effectively wager, see our staking strategies guide to learn about how to wager effectively over time for profits.

Frequently Asked Question

😮What gambling is illegal in UK?

Many mainstream gambling is legal and duly regulated, however, some activities remain restricted under UK law. Some examples include: Unlicensed betting. Also, accepting bets without an adequate betting licence is illegal. This includes informal betting between individuals.

🤨What is illegal betting?

Illegal betting is any sports betting activity whose kind or operator is not permitted under the applicable law of the jurisdiction where the bettor redides.

🚫Can betting sites ban you?

Yes, they can. Sportsbooks or bookmakers have the right to limit or ban bettors from their services, even if the customers are progressively winning bets. This practice is often called "gubbing" or "restricting" players.

⛔Are betting tips illegal?

Marchandise of any type of tips is always legal If someone needs an expert advice there is no problem if a bet expert is selling his advice.

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