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So is Sports Betting Legal, or What?

Sports betting is definitely on of the favorite pastimes in America, says Marshall.

So is Sports Betting Legal, or What? Fans of all different sports can add to the excitement inherent in a match by putting some money down and hopefully making a bit on a successful wager. These days, it’s not too hard to find a chance to put some money down on virtually any kind of sport, from tennis to the National Football League.

 The prevalence of sports betting sites on the internet has mean that sports betting looks as though it is perfectly fine under the law as well as by any other measure. The fact remains, however, that in most cases betting on sports is frowned on by the law and there are very few jurisdictions in North America that allow gamblers to place sports bets legally.

 The main exception to the rule here are sports books in Las Vegas. The city is known as the place to gamble in North America, and it stands to reason that the deep pockets of the casinos and books there would provide some measure of insulation for their operations that is not extended across the country. In Las Vegas a sport bettor can place best on Wimbledon, the World Series, March Madness, and any other type of sports event and do so without any fear of participating in activities that are not endorsed by the law.

As far as other jurisdictions go, there are very few sports betting activities that can be undertaken legally. The exceptions are government sponsored sports lotteries and pari-mutuel sports activities.

 Pari-mutuel sports include dog racing and horse racing. The idea is that the government gets a cut of the overall amount of the bets, not just the winnings of the gambler. Ostensibly, the government endorses these sports and not others because there is less chance of cheating, or compromising the spirit of sport. Any rational observer should be able to see that in fact there is just as much of a chance of cheating in these sports as there is in any other, and that the only real difference is the assured cut of the take that the government has.

 The same principle of hypocrisy extends to government sponsored sports lotteries. These usually take the form of parlay cards, and the odds of winning Sports Action tickets are worse than odds offered at casinos. Again, the government is really only assuring itself of profit on the activity, not addressing the concerns so often touted to discourage gambling in other forms.

 So what about all of those internet sites? Well, some of them are run offshore, based in countries which don’t endorse the hypocritical standards so prevalent in North America. Americans using these sites must still be careful, though, as a bill attached to the Safe Port Act of 2006 effectively limits legal activity on these sites as well.

 It’s a proven fact that no matter how the government tries to portray it or whatever the brush they choose to paint it with, sports betting is here to stay. It’s important that all sports bettors point out the inherent hypocrisy in the government’s approach to sports gambling. More importantly, remember that when you place a bet you might get in trouble with the law. This is a rare occurrence as almost everyone participates at one time or another, but it is best to be on the cautious side.


Published on 08/17/2007

More in Betting School:

 Betting the National Football League (NFL) Playoffs
 Using a Teaser in NBA Betting



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