Michael Tradford
Last Update:
July 15, 2021
This author was thoroughly tested and approved by the experts at before joining the editorial board to ensure a high content quality.
Author Bio:
Michael was Marketing Director in Atlantic City and worked in the casino industry for several years before shifting over to numerous newspapers in New York and Chicago working his way up to Editor-in-Chief. His focus areas are mainly in the fields of sports, gambling, and politics. He has a Marketing Degree, visited Columbia University during his time in New York and is now Editor-in-Chief at AmericaGambles.
Michael was Marketing Director in Atlantic City and worked in the casino industry for several years before shifting over to numerous newspapers in New York and Chicago working his way up to Editor-in-Chief. His focus areas are mainly in the fields of sports, gambling, and politics. He has a Marketing Degree, visited Columbia University during his time in New York and is now Editor-in-Chief at AmericaGambles.
Offshore Betting

Offshore Betting 2021

Offshore betting is quite popular in the US as it is no secret that people in the States love wagering on sports. However, due to the peculiar situation in the country (which is finally starting to change for the better), a majority of those wanting to bet on sports couldn’t do so on legal and licensed sites. Thus, they’d turn to offshore betting sites as their only gambling alternative, despite the fact these sites are essentially illegal.

Everything you need to know about offshore betting
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  • There are no legal offshore betting sites in the US

  • It is impossible to set up an offshore betting legal operation at this time

  • Betting with offshore sites can lead to a variety of issues

  • Many states now offer legal and licensed sportsbook for US bettors

Why are offshore betting sites illegal in the States?

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Americans love betting on sports, be it with legal sportsbooks or illegal bookies taking bets via phones or word of mouth. So, in a way, it is quite strange that betting sports is, in fact, illegal in a majority of US states. In fact, up until a couple of years ago, any form of sports betting was legal just in a couple of states.

The biggest issues with offshore betting websites resides with the infamous Wire Act and PASPA. The first is an old bill that prohibited accepting bets using the telephone. The second has to do with the protection of sports and making sure their integrity is kept.

Because of these documents, until very recently, it was impossible for any legal entity in the US to set up a betting site. The recent decision by the Supreme Court which overturned PASPA has now created a fresh situation where states have finally been given a green light to regulate betting within their own jurisdictions.

Going back to offshore betting operators, these are sites that don’t have any kind of legal authorization from any entity in the States to accept sports bets. They have continued to operate despite all these laws prohibiting betting, providing US bettors and gamblers with betting odds, lines, and casino games. Even today, although PASPA has been overturned, there is no sportsbook that can operate legally on the federal level as there is no federal law regulating this area.

So, if you’ve been wondering is offshore betting illegal, that’s your answer. Offshore betting and casino operators and sportsbooks have no legal grounds to offer their betting services in the US. They operate outside of the scope of the laws and some of them have been successful flying under the radar for a while now, which is what creates confusion with some bettors.

Dangers of gambling with offshore betting firms

While sports betting may be illegal on paper, bettors from the States still decide to take up on of these offshore sites and place sports bets with them. There are a couple of main reasons that lead players to believe that gambling with these offshore betting firms might be safe:

  • Some of these operators do treat their players well
  • Bettors have never been targeted by the government
  • Offshore sportsbooks offer odds and bets for NHL, NFL, NBA, and other popular leagues & competitions

So, on the surface and to someone not very familiar with the topic of betting online, it may feel like there is no big danger in creating an account, depositing some money, and placing some bets on a few games here and there. However, when looking at a bigger picture, there are quite a few reasons to steer clear of these sites and stick to legal and licensed sportsbook sites instead.

First and foremost, the fact that these sites aren’t really licensed by any relevant or credible authority means that there could be all sorts of shady things happening behind the scenes. Unlike licensed US sportsbooks that are handled by the likes of New Jersey Division of Gambling or other gambling divisions, these offshore sites don’t undergo any regular checks or controls.

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Furthermore, any illegal bet or gambling operator that accepts US bettors is on very shaky ground. These operators, new and well-established ones alike, could easily go out of business at any time in face of a serious operation from the US government. We’ve witnessed these things in the past and there is no reason to think something like this won’t happen again. In a case of such an event, many players would be left with their gambling bankrolls in a limbo, only being able to hope their money would be repaid at some point.

In this context, it is also important to mention UIGEA, which addresses the flow of money from and to gambling operators of any sorts, be it poker, casino, or betting sports. Namely, UIGEA strictly prohibits all financial institutions in the US from willingly and knowingly processing such transactions. For this reason, offshore betting sites often try to mask the source of money.

However, should the fact be discovered, you’re running a risk of your bank account being closed, which is very inconvenient, to say the least. Banks aren’t thrilled to participate in these illegal betting and gambling activities and they most certainly don’t want to be on the line for hefty fines for the behavior of their clients. So, this is another reason to be very careful about gambling with offshore betting sites.

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Justice background is a 100% legal portal licensed by U.S. authorities that exclusively recommends and promotes legal online providers. The information on offshore providers published here is for informational purposes only and is intended to show the negative consequences that the use of these providers can have. We neither recommend nor link these providers in any way. We also have no business connection with these providers. Please only play with 100% legal and licensed US providers that are shown in our comparison and regulated by US authorities. Only with these providers, you can play safely and reliably.

What do offshore betting websites offer to US players?

Despite all of these dangers and risks, many bettors still get involved with these betting companies. They are often lured in by promises of a big betting online bonus, great betting lines and odds, and very good coverage of popular competitions they can bet on like NFL, NBA, NHL, and other various popular betting options and markets within these options.

Some review sites give very good marks for some of the best offshore betting sites as well, which is another reason why bettors may feel safe depositing and playing here. With a good bonus offer, a variety of NFL, NBA, and other betting possibilities, and fairly fast withdrawals (for US standards, at least), these sites may feel like a decent option for those looking to place a bet or two on their favorite sports.

Some gambling operators catering to the US have also turned to bitcoin as a deposit and withdrawal alternative and many players from the States see this as an excellent solution for all of the money transfer-related problems. Bypassing banks and allowing quick withdrawals and instant deposits, bitcoin does seem like a very good alternative for those keen on gambling with offshore sites.

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Is it really worth it?

Good offshore betting odds and convenient offshore betting apps certainly have its appeal, especially with the more passionate fans of sports betting. If a sportsbook offers a good package overall, with regards to a bonus, betting selection, and mobile solution, many players are willing to look the other side to the fact they aren’t exactly licensed to legally provide their services in the US.

In the long run, though, getting involved with these offshore betting sites isn’t really worth the trouble. While there are some gamblers who play and win and do get their money, there are many more stories about bettors who were refused the payout or had to go through a variety of complications to get their money.

Going through all this just to bet on a site that might go under at any point doesn’t really make much sense at all. Since you already have to deal with offshore betting lines that may be decent but are still in favor of the sportsbook, the added risk of losing your money in one clean swoop due to unforeseen circumstances and the sportsbook going under makes this proposition not very profitable at all.

While there are some options in the cards that could make offshore sports betting legal at some point in the future, this is certainly not going to happen in the near future. The first thing that needs to happen is a gambling law on the federal level, then the issue of offshore betting companies needs to be addressed, and only then, maybe, some of them will be given the green light to start offering their casino, sports betting, and poker services in the US.

Bet it safe: Play with legal US sportsbooks

With the recent legal movements, there is a growing number of states in the US that have recognized benefits of sports betting. Thanks to these changes, there are more and legal and licensed sportsbook operations sprouting all over the country. You can find more information about these in our comparison section sports betting where you can also easily find sportsbooks according to your particular state. So, stay away from illegal and unsafe offshore operators and bet with licensed and safe sites instead!

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Sports: 21+
Live Betting:
Min. Odds: -190
Sports: 22+
Live Betting:
Min. Odds: N/A
Sports: 20+
Live Betting:
Min. Odds: -200
Sports: 18+
Live Betting:
Min. Odds: N/A
Sports: 21+
Live Betting:
Min. Odds: N/A


Offshore bookies don’t deserve your action!

Offshore sports betting and gambling sites may have big bonus offers and solid betting odds but, at the end of the day, you shouldn’t trust them with your money. These illegal operations put your money at risk by operating against the law and that’s not the gamble any gambler should be willing to take. Stick to regulated betting sites instead and have patience for your state to introduce legal sports betting instead of trusting any of these offshore sites.
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