For decades, there was an active ban on sports betting in the U.S. outside of what was allowed in the state of Nevada. While the ban technically made it illegal to bet on sports beyond the retail option being offered in Nevada, Americans have always lived under the guise of “if there is a will, there is a way.”

That way came around the end of the 20th century when European sports betting operators started offering online casino and sports betting options. In the eyes of U.S. gamblers who were limited to using illegal operations, the internet option being offered from Europe was the opportunity on which they had been awaiting.

While betting offshore was never really pursued by law enforcement as an illegal activity, Congress did try to limit access. They did so with the passing of The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). While the act was never intended as a way to stop U.S. gamblers from betting online, it did make it illegal for offshore operators to accept deposits via electronic transfer. That included credit/debit cards, direct wires, and the use of wire systems like Western Union.

Honestly, infractions related to the UIGEA were rarely prosecuted, leaving U.S. gamblers to do as they pleased. That is exactly what they did as billions of U.S. dollars started flowing to offshore sportsbooks and casinos.

U.S. Supreme Court Lifts the Country’s Sports Betting Ban

Around 2015, gambling-friendly states like Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, started questioning the need for a U.S. sports betting ban. State leaders in these states started pushing for reform through Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice.
After all, it made little sense to prevent U.S. residents from trying to bet on sports when they were doing it anyway. In doing so, billions in potential sports betting tax revenue were being lost.

The pressure on lawmakers finally came to bear in May 2018. That’s when SCOTUS and the Department of Justice announced that the nation’s ban on sports betting was lifted. In conjunction with this important change, they further announced that any form of online betting would become a state’s rights issue.

Legal Sports Betting Comes Alive in America

It didn’t take long for some states to react to the Supreme Court decision. By late 2018 and early 2019, several states had already passed sports betting legislation, both online and retail. Over the last 4+ years, as many as three dozen states have followed suit with seven of them passing online casino gambling legislation.

With more than two-thirds of the country able to legally bet on sports, it begs one important question: “Why are so many U.S. residents still using offshore gambling sites?”

Why U.S. Online Gamblers are Still Using Offshore Gambling Sites

In the U.S., online gamblers have to be geographically located in a particular state when using one of the state’s online/mobile operators. For the ones who live in states where such activities have not yet been legalized, it might still be possible for them to travel to neighboring states that allow non-residents to use both online/mobile gambling resources.

Still, there are millions of U.S. online gamblers who are using offshore options. Why?

Betting From Home

Ultimately, gambling from home is viewed favorably by gamblers who appreciate the privacy they get. If their respective states don’t allow online gambling, and traveling is too inconvenient, offshore gambling stands as their best option. Many of these gambling websites are typically referred to as no deposit casinos since they often provide deposit-free welcome bonuses for new players upon registration.

Avoiding Taxes

It’s hard to argue against the fact that the U.S. is a tax-heavy country. The government wants a piece of every bit of income that citizens make. That includes net income from any form of gambling be it retail or online.

Europe takes a very different view on gambling income. They feel as though the risks gamblers have to take earn them the right to keep everything they win. U.S. gamblers will use offshore gambling sites if it saves them from scrutiny from the IRS. Yes, income from offshore gambling is still taxable, but much harder to track.

Avoiding Gambling Bans

It takes a lot of rogue behavior for U.S. residents to get banned from using retail and online betting options centered in the U.S. With that said, it happens. When it does happen, it leaves banned gambling enthusiasts with only one viable option, using offshore betting sites.

More Online Betting Options

In the U.S., online gambling operators must secure licenses in the states in which they want to offer online gambling access. That’s a limiting factor for gamblers in states where very few licenses are issued. If restricted gamblers want more online gambling options, they might have to go offshore to find them.

Final Thought: If you take to using offshore gambling sites, you need to be aware that you won’t get the same government protections from rogue offshore operators as you would from U.S. operators.