Legal US Sportsbooks vs. Offshore Sportsbooks

The entire scope and range of sports betting in the United States have been undergoing a radical shift over the past year and a half. This started with the US Supreme Court’s decision in May of 2018 that gave individual states the right to govern sports betting within their borders.

New Jersey led the charge in that monumental court case and it quickly became the first state to offer legal sports betting outside of Nevada in select Atlantic City casinos and Garden State horse racetracks. The business has grown so quickly that New Jersey is set to surpass Nevada as the No. 1 sports betting market in the country.


Still Growing In America: Sports Betting Still Hot


Since then, a number of states are offering legal sports betting in one form or another. States such as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Delaware have added land-based sportsbooks in their casinos and racetracks. Most of the states with land-based gambling operations are also offering legal sports betting online through designated sites. You need to be physically within the borders of these states to place bets online.

Offshore sportsbooks have been catering to US bettors online since the mid-1990s. While certain federal laws on the books prohibit the practice of offshore books taking betting action from US players, they have basically been proven to be unenforceable. It was never illegal for someone from the US to bet on sports through an offshore book. Most of the federal laws pertained to the transfer of wired funds.

This has left the US sports betting market wide open these days for anyone looking to bet on the games. If you happen to live in a state with legal sports gambling, your overall options have been expanded. While you can bet the games online if you do not live close to a land-based venue, your overall options remain limited at those particular sites.


Choosing The Right Sportsbook


Casual bettors can place bets on the games using point spreads, total lines, and money lines. When it comes to betting exotics as well as futures and props, your choices can be limited. The actual betting odds themselves may not be as competitive as the ones you might find at offshore books. The US sports betting industry is heavily taxed at the state level. This cuts into the bottom-line profits both land-based and online books take in.

Offshore books are tied to the jurisdiction of their home county. This can provide a distinct advantage when it comes to the competitive nature between the two. 

The biggest advantage individual state’s sportsbooks have over the offshore sports betting industry is clear legality. State residents and visitors who are still hesitant about betting the games through an offshore gambling website can turn to the approved legal sites to place their bets.

Savvy sports bettors who have been using the offshore sites to place their action for the past several years are staying loyal to those sites. When you have a multi-billion industry that is growing and expanding at a rapid pace, there is more than enough business to go around.


Battling Limits


One of the big ways that offshore books attract US bettors to their sports betting sites is through lucrative bonus offers on both initial deposits and reload deposits into an online betting account. High volume bettors can benefit from these offers in light of high turnover requirements on the bonus amount. Causal bettors can have a hard time meeting these betting requirements depending on their overall betting habits. 

Legal online sportsbooks also offer initial bonus offers for new customers. They are substantially lower in total value, but often easier to collect.

If you are a US sports bettor looking to wager on the games, weigh your options and perform your own due diligence. Offshore sportsbooks operating online still have a huge edge given their overall experience and a higher level of expertise. However, there are more and more solid options if you live in or visit a state with legal sports betting options.