Jay Sanin
Last Update:
September 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:
Jay is a total online gaming crack and knows every slot developer, operator and game theory by heart. Before becoming an editor he was part of a blackjack card counting group and taught young players how to beat the house. Now he's an ambitioned online editor and writes about new games, legalization of online gaming in the US and much more.
Jay is a total online gaming crack and knows every slot developer, operator and game theory by heart. Before becoming an editor he was part of a blackjack card counting group and taught young players how to beat the house. Now he's an ambitioned online editor and writes about new games, legalization of online gaming in the US and much more.

Wire Act: What is that & how does it affect me Sports Betting?

The Wire Act refers to an important betting law which was passed in 1961 to bring an end to sports betting across States with the use of wire communication. Till date, this Act still greatly serves as a guide in the sports betting industry by restricting the way States offer their betting services to persons within United States. In fact, the Wire Act has evolved with modern technological developments and also extends to online sports betting; therefore, becoming quite conversant with this law on sports betting and other legalities in the United States is a step in the right direction toward maximizing sports betting and its benefits. You can find more on the other legal requirements in our online sportsbook article.

Important facts to know about the Legality of online sports betting
Sports Betting Banner Background

  • This Act has been in existence since 1961

  • For adaptation to modernity, it has also gone through some updates

  • The Act prohibits States from offering sport betting services outside the state lines

  • The Act has also evolved with technology and applies to online sports betting

How does the Wire Act affect sports betting?

For sports bettors, this term is not a strange one., the Wire Act is a generally applied sports betting law, which has a strong impact on activities that take place in the sports betting industry. In simple terms, the Wire Act does not want gambling activities going on across State lines. Where such occur, it’s reckoned to be a contravention on the Federal level. This short-named law has wide tentacles, is considered a big deal in the sports betting industry, and greatly impacts key operations across the country.

The Literal reading of the Wire Act

When the Wire Act was made enacted in 1961, based on its literal rule, it targeted in particular betting as well as wagering activities which were carried out with the use of “wire communication” across foreign and state lines. As penalty for breach of the provisions, the Act threatens to hand out fines or even imprison the wrongdoer for up to two years where they’ve been found guilty communicating wagering data as well as paying compensation across foreign and state lines.

Modern Adaptation of the Act

The Supreme Court of the United States recurrently considers the content of the Wire Act of 1961 and modifies the legal interpretation of this law in order for proper adaptation to   modern periods. Nowadays, this law even extends to all forms of automated communication tools, this includes the internet. The law has been interpreted to comprise of other kinds of wagering other than sports betting, therefore, it comprises of other gambling activities such as lottery games, poker, casino operations and other gambling activities. This law appears to be a permanent one which isn’t going anywhere soon, and because of it, today, no legal sports betting activities across states exist.  Its also being currently treated by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Prohibition of Sports betting between States

Sports bettors that wish to engage in sports betting today are required to do this within State lines that permit sports betting. So, based on the Wire Act, it’s illegal for any sport bettors to engage in sports betting at facilities which are outside their states of residence. In fact, sports bettors who are originally resident in a certain State that permits sports betting are not permitted to place wagers in that state once they cross the State lines. This also applies to online sports betting and this is why these sports betting websites make of use geolocation software which help to track visitors to their websites.

Software for tracking Location

For proper compliance with the Wire Act, legally permitted sports betting websites in the United States now make use of Geolocation tracking software which ensure that all online players are within the legally permitted State lines before they can engage in online sports betting. If the Geolocation tracker finds that such player is not within the proper State lines, such a player, is automatically prohibited from engaging in online sports betting on the website. So, sports bettors who wish to engage in online sports betting have to ensure they’re within the State lines of the legal Sportsbook.

Wagering through devices, smartphones, PC or Mac.

The modern technological advancements of today have made it very possible for sports bettors to engage in online sports betting from the comfort of their homes, offices with smartphones, PCs, Macs and other portable devices. These technological devices are made with strong location trackers which are inbuilt in them, this makes tracking very simple for online sportsbooks. Also, for persons using PCs or Macs, the online sportsbooks prompt sport bettors to download these geolocation tracking devices. These technological advancements make complying with the Wire Act easier than ever before. Also, with the creation of the online sportsbooks, sports bettors who wish to make bets need not be physically present to place bets but can do so from the comfort of their homes as long as they’re still within the State lines which permit online sports betting.

Legality of Sports Betting in the United States

Apart from the Wire Act, another important law on sports betting was the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which was enacted in 1992. The PASPA prohibited States in the U.S. from independently running legal sport betting activities or making any laws on sports betting, leaving it to the Federal Government. However, with the Supreme Court judgement of 2018 which repealed it, it has now become legal for each state to make its own sport betting laws independently, and to permit the legal operation of forms of sport betting activities (includes online sports betting). Therefore, it’s completely legal for states to permit sports betting activities for their residents. However, the operations are only open to persons within the states as the Wire Act restricts persons from other states from engaging in online sports betting activities in other States.

Independent Betting Laws

Due to the 2018 Supreme Court Judgement, each state in the United States can now permit forms of sports betting, for instance, currently states such as Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey, West Virginia have expressly permitted online sports gaming for their residents. So far these States do not violate the Wire Act, they are fully permitted to provide various forms of online sports betting for their residents.

The States currently taking full advantage of their newly found freedom are few, however, currently, more states are deliberating on the forms of sports betting to be allowed. This is due to the fact that the general opinion on Sports betting is changing as it is very profitable since it provides a high source of Internal revenue for the States. Therefore, various forms of Sports betting are expected to spring up in other US states in the coming years.

Take Advantage of Online Sports Betting Today

Sports betting has been made quite easy, thanks to online sports betting. For Citizens of U.S who are interested in engaging in online sports betting, you should ensure that your State of residence has accepted such form of sports betting and has legalized it. You should also make sure that there are no legal obstacles in your way. To fully enjoy the sports betting experience, you can visit a neighboring State which has legalized online sports betting and place your bets online. You can also visit a land-based sports betting location and also place your wagers there. If you’re in need of some strategies, you can check out our pleaser betting strategy for knowledge on making huge gains.

Where to go for legal Sports betting?

Now that you’re aware that from your State, you can’t engage in the sports betting activities of a neighboring State, you’re probably wondering whether your State of residence permits this. So, instead of going on a random internet search, we have therefore provided a list of sportsbooks within the U.S as well as the permissible states. On our sports betting comparison page, you have a rich variety of legal sports betting websites offered to you. Simply check out the states of residence, scroll through the available online betting sites listed and select your preferred online sportsbook. Note that you must be above the minimum betting age for online sports betting to register.

Once you know which betting site you want to bet on, all that is left is to sign up for a free user account and start making your bets. You will also need to make a deposit, so make sure you find an operator that will allow you to make your deposits using your favorite payment method. This way, you will be able to make quick deposits and instantly get your bets up when you need to.

Select your state
Select your state
District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
West Virginia
Select your state to find the best operator for you personally.
Sports: 21+
Live Betting:
Min. Odds: -190
Sports: 10+
Live Betting:
Min. Odds: N/A
Sports: 15+
Live Betting:
Min. Odds: -300
Sports: 16+
Live Betting:
Min. Odds: -150 to +10,000
Sports: 20+
Live Betting:
Min. Odds: -200


The Wire Act, A Major Legal Interstate Barrier
The Wire Act has been in existence for more than 50 years, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with in the sports betting industry. Over time, the law has undergone updated interpretations to adapt to modern times, this shows the law is here to stay. As a sports bettor, you’re free to engage in any forms of sport betting permitted by your State of residence, but as long as the Wire Act exists, you must always be located in that State which permits the form of sports betting you wish to engage in, whether it’s a local form of sports betting or online sports betting.
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