File Photo By James Franks/Cronkite News: Sports gambling is legal in Arizona and fans can walk up to places like the FanDuel Sportsbook at Footprint Center, or they can bet from home on apps.
If you’re a sports fan, you will have noticed that in the last few years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of sports betting ads you see in the media and at the game.
That’s one of the effects of the Supreme Court decision of 2018, which struck down the PASPA Act, making it possible for every state in the US to launch legal sports betting. Sports betting fans from Arizona to Pennsylvania can now bet on MNF or the NBA playoffs across a range of markets.
The changes are not consistent across the country. Some states have not yet legalized sports betting and there is a handful of states that are unlikely to change that. The rules for sports betting, as well as the availability of sports betting operators, vary considerably from state to state. One thing remains constant, however, across the US sports betting scene — if you want to bet on a sport, you should always use a legal, regulated sportsbook.
For many decades, sports betting was illegal in the US. Political, religious, and sports groups argued that betting was corrupting both individuals and the sports that they bet on. While that might have been true in some cases, for most people, it was not.
However, in the era of prohibition, those who wanted to bet on sports either had to do so in person in Las Vegas, or find other, more dubious methods of placing their wagers. As a result, there was a long and unfortunate history in the US that entwined organized crime with sports betting.
Legalization has dealt a significant blow to that illegal industry, but it hasn’t gone away entirely as some sports bettors may still be tempted to bet the ‘old-fashioned’ way. The problem with doing your betting through a non-regulated operator is that you don’t really know who you are dealing with. Your bets may be directly funding a range of criminal activities. On top of that, you have no protection at any stage, which brings us to our second reason for using a sportsbook.
Legal and regulated sportsbooks provide a range of protections for customers. First, there is the requirement for such operators to maintain high levels of user security. Whether you are betting online or in person, if you don’t bet in cash, you need to be sure that your banking and personal details will be protected and that the betting transactions that you make, including deposits and withdrawals, are safe.
Regulated sportsbooks use a range of security procedures such as high-level encryption and data protection measures to make sure that your data and your money are safe.
Yes, unregulated sites or operators may let you bet ‘on credit’ or promise higher odds than you can find at a regulated site, but how safe is it? How can you be sure that your details will not be stolen, or that the operator won’t use unscrupulous means to get their money if you fall into debt? Put simply, betting with unregulated, unlicensed bookies is not safe.
Before you bet, you should always check out the site of the relevant gambling authority in your state to ensure that the operator you are using is fully regulated and licensed.
If this stage does not convince you that you should only bet with legal and licensed sportsbooks, then you should consider reason number three: fairness.
When you bet with a legal sportsbook, if you win a bet, you will get paid your winnings. If there’s a dispute, the sportsbook will have to follow a procedure drawn up and regulated by the relevant state gambling authority. Even in the very rare cases when the sportsbook makes a mistake or there is a query about the bet, you will get your money in the end.
You can’t be sure of the same with an unregulated bookmaker. Illegal operators can simply refuse to pay and you will have no legal recourse. Sometimes an unregulated site or bookmaker will simply disappear or go offline only to emerge later under a new name and start the whole process again.
Winning at sports betting is hard enough without having to worry about not getting your money when you are successful. By betting only with regulated and licensed bookmakers, you can ensure that you are covered by a range of legal protections and bet safely and securely.