Comparing US Regulated Sports Betting to Offshore: The Pros and Cons Might Surprise You

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

Gina Fiore of Unabated this weekend offered his well thought out take on the differences between sports betting in the US regulated market, breaking things down even further between Nevada and all other states, and the offshore sportsbooks.

Nevada has long been allowed to offer legalized sports betting despite prohibition in much of the rest of the US.  Oregon, Montana and Delaware were also grandfathered in to permit sports gambling, though you'd be forgiven for not knowing this.  In May of 2018, the Supreme Court ruled to abolish decades long prohibiton across the US.  Individual states could now opt to allow the activity.  Within weeks, gambling-friendly states like New Jersey and Mississippi were quick to hop on board.

Nevada, having a near monopoly, may have gotten a bit complacent.

Just how lagging is Nevada you might ask?


 “The only way I could convince my 7-year-old to practice his handwriting was to tell him that if he wanted to bet in Nevada he’d have to fill out a handwritten form. His argument that his handwriting doesn’t matter because he’ll always be on a computer was as dead in the water as Caesars was during the Super Bowl halftime show.”

In other words, Vegas sportsbooks are one of the few venues where handwritting still matters.

Unlike most states and offshore sportsbooks, one still needs to register in-person to open an online sports wagering account in Nevada.  And they'll need to supply a lot of documentation.

"Signing up for an account in Nevada requires driving, parking, and talking to people. You don’t have to do any of that in most other states with online wagering. Once in a while you have to make two different stops in the casino, one for a player card and one for the sports betting account. Most of the time it requires pen to paper."

The reference to Caesars pertained to that company going offline for Nevada residents during much of this year's Super Bowl.  Clearly put, Nevada sportsbooks are running on outdated technology, according to Fiore.

Fiore offers some more interesting comparisons between the offshores and state-regulated sites.

Offshore betting sites generally beat their domestic competitors when it comes to verification, he notes. The rules around KYP, or “Know Your Player,” tend to be easier to navigate.  In fact, one can conceivably open a wagering account without having to provide any forms of documentation courtesy of the blockchain and Bitcoin.  US regulated books do not offer cryptocurencies as a payment method.

Overall, banking with an offshore is a breeze compared to U.S. sportsbooks, Fiore writes.

And while it's true that FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM get to offer a wider range of deposit and withdrawal methods compared to the offshores, looks can be deceiving.

"FanDuel only having one cashier in the entire state of Arizona doesn’t help the woman sitting at The Last Stop truck stop on the Nevada/Arizona border when she needs to quickly get thousands of dollars into her account. Heading into a 7-Eleven to do a $500 Pay Near Me deposit is helpful, but not by much.

"Depositing remotely in Nevada requires paying a fee to use Play+, a third-party digital wallet that specializes in gaming. Outside of Nevada, books have a multitude of banking issues from near-constant credit card and bank denials, to taking days to credit wire deposits."

There is some good news on the later front that may even benefit the offshore books. Credit card giant Visa recently assigned a code to transactions involving reloadable cards and digital wallets, the same code used for direct deposits for gambling.

Right now, some credit card issuing banks prohibit gambling including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Capital One and Chase banks.  Chase now accepts debit card transactions and is expected to expand that to credit in the first quarter and Bank of America has hinted it may also change its stance on gambling.

- Gilbert Horowitz,

Gambling News