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How Do I Bet Sports on My Mobile Device From the US, My State

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Mar/24/2019

You can bet sports and other events from your mobile device and from all 50 U.S. states.  Note that the below information will constantly be updated.

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State-Licensed vs. Country-Licensed

Sportsbook companies looking to operate within a state must apply and be approved for licensing.  This means forking over big bucks and paying - in some cases - nearly half of all revenues to the states where they operate from.

Country-licensed sportsbooks (also known as offshore sportsbooks) typically only pay an annual fee and do not pay a percentage of revenue to governing agencies.  San Jose, Costa Rica (the world's second established democracy after the United States) as well as Antigua (home to Bovada) and the Khanawake Indian Reservation just outside of Montreal are home to the vast majority of offshore sports betting sites.  These serve as major hubs catering to those sports bettors throughout North America, South America and the Caribbean while also catering worldwide to regions that can no longer access European-licensed books. 

Malta is the world's largest online gambling hub outside of Costa Rica.  Most sportsbooks licensed here do not accept customers from the United States however.  Some do however.

All States 

Offshore sportsbooks are accessible from every state with a few exceptions and have been ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to abolish decades long prohibition back in May 2018.  For example, due to Washington State's heavy hand against online gambling (specifically the actual players as opposed to the operators) several years back, a handful of sportsbooks have opted not to allow Washington State residents to open accounts.

Simply launch the website (you can open YouWager here) and register in under two minutes.  If you wish to start placing bets immediately (i.e. $20 on Duke vs. UNC), review the funding methods.  Credit cards tend to be the easiest means of opening a betting account.  Just keep in mind that some credit card issuing banks do not allow their cards to be used for gambling.  Offshore books are very stringent in using codes that identify their companies as "gambling-related".  If your card is turned down, simply open the online chat to uncover other methods of funding your wagering account.  Some of these are also instant.

While Bitcoin is a fast and reliable method.  You will want to first set up an account with a Bitcoin exchange (that converts USD into Bitcoin and vice versa) and link it to your bank.  This is becoming more instant as some exchanges use under five minute verification methods. 

Benefits of International (Also Known as Offshore) Sportsbooks - The obvious benefit is that only a handful of states are currently home to sportsbooks operating within their borders.

States that currently host sportsbooks will report customer winnings to government agencies like the IRS.  Offshore books do not ask for your social security number.

Other benefits include: Offshore books allow those 18 and up to place bets online while books operating from the states themselves only accept customers 21 years or older.  Some states like New Jersey do not allow betting on local schools or college events hosted from NJ.  Other states require registration at the physical sportsbook as opposed to online.  Still others limit the type of bets and scope of where online wagering can be accessed.

Offshore books tend to offer more attractive bonus options, better odds and often a wider variety of wagering opportunities.  We will say that US-based sites like FanDuel have been offering a wide range of creative bet types and decent enough odds. 

Offshore books also offer faster payouts in many cases.

Of utmost importance, many of these sites have been in business for 10 years or longer, some have just moved beyond the 20 year mark (YouWager started taking bets in 1997 under the name First Fidelity).

One of the talking points of those pushing exclusively for state-licensed sports betting sites and against the offshore wagering firms revolves around dispute resolution.  Fact is, disputes within the offshore sports betting sector are rarer than most folks believe.  Disputes are actually more common when it comes to licensed-European bookmakers.  Offshore books have long aligned themselves with website advocacy groups and well regarded affiliate partners.   

Disadvantages of International (Also Known as Offshore) Sportsbooks - Because offshore books are not licensed in individual states, they cannot be accessed via apps.  The reality though is that apps take up too much space on one's mobile device, causing phones to lose power faster.  One must have a reliable Internet connection to access the offshore sportsbook's mobile compatible betting site.  All have them now and they look just like apps.

Another disadvantage: Sportsbooks that are run from within the states typically have access to easier funding and payout methods we are all used to such as ACH and intermediaries that are similar to PayPal. 

While Bitcoin may be lightning fast, the vast majority of Americans are unfamiliar with how cryptocurrencies work.  To make matters worse, the "geniuses" behind today's cryptocurrency market have failed miserably when it comes to clarity. 

Two of the more popular cryptocurrencies out there today are Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.  Emphasis here is on the word "two" as these are not the same.  We won't get into the politics behind the names.  What we will say is that the average sports bettor (or individual in general) will typically be led to believe both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are one in the same.  As a result, there have been countless cases of online gamblers inadvertantly requesting funds in the form of Bitcoin Cash believing they will receive Bitcoin only to have said funds lost.  If this sounds confusing, it is.  Most sites now offer tutorials on how to use Bitcoin to send and receive funds.  These are produced with the online gambler in mind.  Folks who live and breathe Bitcoin trading often do not consider the end user.

While we touched upon how many offshore books have been in operation for upwards of 20 years now, there are still others that pop up virtually overnight.  The good news here is that few of these have a platform to advertise.  The well-run established and financially sound offshore sportsbooks spend significant amounts of money on marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

New Jersey

No state has taken a bigger plunge into the world of online sports betting than the Garden State.  After all, NJ is the state that filed the initial action to legalize sports betting nationwide.  They are the one's who brought the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Some dozen apps are now accessible to those in New Jersey.

Pros - Ease of use, easy means of depositing and receiving payouts online, apps uploaded onto your mobile device and a few of the sites do offer competitive odds and bonus options.

There are some limits to type of bets that can be offered, though New Jersey was the first to feature US-based sportsbooks taking bets on the Oscars.  They also considered prohibiting bets on eSports, but allowed wagering on professional gamers as part of a last minute amendment.  Some sites may opt not to take bets on this and other leagues/events however.

Each of these sites are licensed.  This means that disputes are supposed to be resolved effectively.  The NJ sports betting industry did get off to a rough start, however, after one of the companies refused to pay a customer due to a technical glitch.  Public pressure, moreso than any governing agency involvement, forced that company to ultimately do the right thing.

Cons - Can't get on games featuring state schools, must be 21 years of age or older, must provide social security number to most sites, NJ-based sites are prone to boot players who win more often than they lose, some sites/apps less competitive than offshore rivals. Must play within state's borders and those living in border towns (i.e. Jersey City) could experience some connection issues.

Mississippi

This state got in the game early and offers plenty of sportsbooks in both Tunica (easy access to and from Memphis) and Biloxi (easily accessible from New Orleans and eastern portions of Louisiana as well as southern portions of Alabama like Mobile). 

Pros - Unlike the NJ-licensed books, Mississippi books proudly take bets on their beloved Rebels and Bulldogs. 

Cons - Online sports betting only accessible on the casino/sportsbook property. Must be 21 years of age or older.  Some limitations to the type of betting offered.  Most books will require one to submit their social security number and declare winnings with the IRS.  Payouts at two locations only.

West Virginia

Another of the early states to adapt sports betting via companies operating in-state.  Sportsbooks can only operate from the state's five casinos.  On the surface, West Virginia may appear to be a less attractive home for sportsbooks.  In reality, some of the casinos are strategically located near enough to more populous regions in neighboring states the likes of Pittsburgh and wide swaths of Maryland.

Pros - As mentioned above, some of the West Virginia-based sportsbooks are easily accessed from nearby metropolitan areas in neighbor states.  Betting on the Mountaineers is allowed.  Websites and apps accessible throughout the state.

Cons - West Virginia casinos limited to the number of website partners.  The first website to debut in West Virginia has less competitive options when compared to offshore books.  Gamblers must be 21 and up.  Registration must take place at the casinos (can't be done online). Because West Virginia is so mountainous, this could result in connectivity issues.  You must be in-state to place bets.

Nevada

Nevada is a state that allowed sports betting long before the U.S. Supreme Court decision.  Dozens of sportsbooks operate throughout the Silver State.  Not all have online sites.

Pros - Long established, well run companies.

Cons - Registration must be in-person (not online), social security number submission, no wagering on many nonsporting events, other restrictions, some sites not competitive to offshore offerings, must be 21 or older and located within the state to place wagers.

Pennsylvania

The state has a number of sportsbooks open and should have online sites available soon, accessible only to those physically located within PA.  Like with all other states, you must be 21 or older to place a bet and you'll be required to submit documentation in order that winnings be reported by the website operator to the proper tax authority. 

Rhode Island

Online sports betting coming soon but with highly restrictve offerings (i.e. popular parlay betting not allowed).  Gamblers must be at least 21 and provide their social security number.  Sportsbook operators are limited to only two casinos in the state.  Neither casino is conveniently located despite Rhode Island being the smallest state in the U.S. (i.e. most major cities in neighboring states are over an hour driving distance each way, including Boston and Springfield).  Betting will likely be available to those inside the state's borders only.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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