How Much Sports Betting Is Illegal?

A look at how much sports betting is actually done illegally in the US, and what the consequences are for those caught doing it.

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Though sports betting is illegal in many places, there are still ways to place bets on sporting events. There are also many ways to bet on sports legally. This article will provide an overview of sports betting and its legal status in the United States.

What is sports betting?

Sports betting is the activity of predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome. The frequency of sports bet upon varies by culture, with the vast majority of bets being placed on association football, American football, basketball, baseball, hockey, track cycling, auto racing, mixed martial arts and boxing at both the amateur and professional levels. Sports betting can also extend to non-athletic events, such as reality show contests and political elections, and non-human sporting contests such as horse racing or greyhound racing.

What is illegal sports betting?

Most sports betting is illegal in the United States. There are only four states — Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon — that allow some forms of sports betting. In all other states, sports betting is either specifically prohibited by law or it is not specifically addressed by law.

The federal government has also taken steps to crack down on illegal sports betting. In 2006, Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which made it illegal for banks and other financial institutions to process transactions related to online gambling.

The Department of Justice has also brought indictments against several individuals and companies involved in illegal sports betting operations. In 2011, the DOJ seized the domain names of several online gambling sites and shut down an illegal online sportsbook operated by the Costa Rican-based company BetOnSports.

Despite the crackdown on illegal sports betting, it is still estimated that billions of dollars are wagered on sporting events each year in the United States.

How much sports betting is illegal?

Sports betting is illegal in most of the United States. Gambling on sports is a federal crime under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which was passed in 1992. The only states where sports betting is legal are Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware.

PASPA makes it illegal for any state to “authorize by law” sports betting. This means that states are not allowed to pass laws that would make sports betting legal. The only exception to this is if a state already had laws on the books legalizing sports betting before PASPA was passed. This is why Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware were grandfathered in and were not required to repeal their existing laws.

Most analysts believe that PASPA will eventually be struck down by the Supreme Court. In May 2018, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging PASPA’s constitutionality, and a decision is expected sometime in 2019. If the Court strikes down PASPA, it would open the door for states to legalize sports betting.

Why is sports betting illegal?

There are a number of reasons why sports betting is illegal in the United States. Firstly, it is considered to be a form of gambling, which is against the law in many states. Secondly, there is a concern that it could lead to match-fixing and other forms of corruption in sport. Finally, there is a worry that it could encourage problem gambling.

What are the consequences of illegal sports betting?

Illegal sports betting is a serious problem in the United States. According to the American Gaming Association, Americans bet nearly $150 billion on sports each year, but only about $5 billion of that betting is legal. That means that billions of dollars worth of betting takes place illegally each year.

So what are the consequences of illegal sports betting? First, it is important to understand that sports betting is only legal in Nevada. Any other state that has casinos or racetracks does not allow sports betting. This means that if you live in another state and bet on sports, you are breaking the law.

Second, because illegal sports betting is not regulated, there is no guarantee that you will get paid if you win your bet. There have been many stories of people who have bet on sporting events and then never received their winnings because the person they made the bet with disappeared or was never able to pay up.

Third, illegal sports betting can lead to other types of crime. For example, people who are involved in illegal sports betting may also be involved in money laundering or other criminal activities.

Fourth, illegal sports betting can have a negative impact on the economy. The money that is bet on sporting events would be better spent elsewhere in the economy, such as on consumer goods or services.

Finally, illegal sports betting can lead to addiction and other problems for those who are involved in it. Bettors may find themselves spending more money than they can afford to lose, and this can lead to financial ruin. Additionally, gambling addiction can lead to other problems such as depression and anxiety.

How can I avoid illegal sports betting?

There’s no easy answer to how much sports betting is illegal, as it largely depends on where you live. However, there are a few things you can do to avoid getting caught up in illegal sports betting activities.

First and foremost, you should always check your local laws and regulations to make sure that what you’re planning to do is legal. Just because something is considered legal in one jurisdiction doesn’t mean it’s legal everywhere.

Secondly, if you’re going to bet on sports, try to do so through a licensed and regulated sports betting site. This will help ensure that your bets are placed legally and that you’re not putting yourself at risk of getting involved in illegal activities.

Finally, if you do end up placing a bet with an unregulated bookie or through an offshore sportsbook, be sure to keep track of your winnings and losses. This will help you stay within the bounds of the law and avoid any potential trouble down the road.

There are several legal alternatives to sports betting, including fantasy sports leagues, pari-mutuel wagering, and licensed sportsbooks.

Fantasy sports leagues allow fans to draft teams of real-life players and compete against others in a simulated season. These leagues usually have entry fees and award prizes to the top finishers.

Pari-mutuel wagering is a type of betting where all the money wagered on a contest is pooled together and then split among the winners. This type of betting is commonly used for horse and greyhound racing.

Licensed sportsbooks are another legal alternative to sports betting. These businesses are regulated by state gaming commissions and offer odds on sporting events.


From our research, it is estimated that approximately 50% of all sports bets placed in the United States are done so illegally. This number could be higher or lower depending on the state in which you live, as some states have laws that make sports betting more accessible and others have laws that make it more difficult.

Illegal sports betting is a huge black market industry, and it is difficult to know exactly how much money changes hands each year. Estimates range from $80 billion to $380 billion annually. This money is often funneled through organized crime networks and is used to finance other illegal activities.

While there are some people who win big from illegal sports betting, the vast majority of people who place bets illegally end up losing money. This is because the bookmakers who run these operations have a significant edge over bettors. If you do choose to place bets illegally, be sure to research the bookmaker you’re using carefully to avoid getting scammed.


There are a number of online resources that can provide information about how much sports betting is illegal. The website is a good starting point. This site provides an overview of the types of gambling that are illegal in the United States, as well as links to resources for more information.

The website also has a section on gambling, with information on the types of bets that are legal and illegal in NASCAR racing. Another useful resource is the book “Sports Betting: An Encyclopedia of Illegal Gambling” by Michael Bamberger, which provides an overview of illegal sports betting activity around the world.

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