Michael McKean is an experienced writer with a portfolio that includes work on the subjects of sport, gambling, travel and finance. With a background rooted in journalism, Michael first ventured into the professional writing world based in Switzerland, where he wrote for a number of language and travel sites and magazines before moving into the world of sports writing and gambling sites.
As an avid soccer fan, who follows everything from the Scottish lower leagues to the European elites, he has earned himself a solid reputation as a reliable football betting tipster and predictor. Outside of work, Michael has always gotten involved with grassroutes football everywhere he has worked and lived - UK, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil - and still isn’t shy when it comes to pulling the boots on himself. As well as soccer, he has also developed a love of North American sports, particularly ice hockey - a love which began in Switzerland and saw him venture across the pond to follow the NHL. Moving away from dry land, he’s also a keen longboard surfer and is happiest when writing with a view of the ocean.
The Wire Act is a major betting law that passed back in 1961 to stop sports betting across states using different forms of wire communication. The act still influences the sports betting industry today in a big way by limiting how states can offer wagering services to people of the United States. The wire act sports betting law is constantly evolving. Becoming more familiar with the law and the legality of sports betting in the United States is a good first step toward making the most of sports betting and all that it has to offer you.
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
The Wire Act of 1961 specifically targeted betting and wagering across state and foreign lines using wire communication. It threatens to fine or imprison offenders for up to two years if they are caught transmitting wagering information as well as paying out compensation across state or foreign lines. This is the same law that’s controlling the gambling industry throughout the United States today.
Modernizing the Act
The Supreme Court is continually looking at the Wire Act of 1961 and adjusting their interpretation of the law to keep it up with modern times. Today, the law applies to any sort of electronic communication tool, including the internet. It has been adjusted to include other forms of wagering rather than sports betting, and sometimes includes poker, casino operations, lottery operations and more. The law seems like it will be here to stay though, and it is the main reason that there is no legal interstate sports betting occurring in the United States today.
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 that 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. It’s quick and convenient to do this, and it’s a fast-growing industry that deserves notice. 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.
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.
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.
Enjoying Online Sports Betting Today
Anyone US citizens that are interested in trying out sports betting online or offline are free to do so today as long as they are in one of the states that has legalized the activity. To enjoy the excitement of sports wagering, simply visit one of those states, and sign up to the online facilities, or visit a sports betting location and begin placing wagers. It’s surprisingly simple to begin wagering and a whole lot of fun as well. To learn more about how to effectively wager, see our staking strategies guide to learn about how to wager effectively over time for profits.
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 wins as well.
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 has 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.