Since the US Supreme Court overturned 1992’s Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, over 20 states have legalized domestic sports betting within their borders.
And with 10-15 more states considering fresh betting legislation, the picture of sports gambling in America is really coming into focus.
Within three to five years, market analysts believe that most US states will have local online sports betting venues up and running.
However, there are still dramatic differences between the domestic approach to sports betting and the sports betting options available to US gamblers at offshore or international betting sites.
These latter online gambling venues – offering not just legal sports betting but also legal online casino games, legal online poker, and legal online horse racing betting – have long been available to American players aged 18 and up.
But even removing iGaming and online poker from the equation (as a mere handful of states actually support these industries in the online space), it’s plainly evident that state-based sports betting options have a long way to go before they can match their international counterparts.
To date, there are three major miscues or oversights that seem to crop up over and over again in the domestic approach to legalizing sports betting.
All three of these lapses represent significant drawbacks compared to legal offshore betting sites:
- Domestic online sportsbooks are typically 21+
- Domestic online sportsbooks bar eSports betting
- Domestic online sportsbooks do not accept cryptocurrency
To put the above in context, there are only three states where 18 and older players can participate in legal domestic sports wagering: Montana, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
In all other states that have legalized brick-and-mortar and/or online sportsbook operations, players must be 21+ to gamble.
Even worse, there aren’t even three states where eSports betting is considered legal.
Nearly all states bar betting on eSports contests due to various concerns about the “promotion of gambling to youth” or some such variation thereof.
This is presumably because out-of-touch lawmakers continue to view video games – the world’s largest entertainment media market – as the sole domain of children.
Never mind that eSports is both the fastest growing competition market and betting market, as evidenced by the fact that more people tune in to the Dota 2 World Championship each year than the actual Super Bowl!
Finally, not a single legal domestic sportsbook or gambling venue accepts cryptocurrency.
That is, you cannot fund your bankroll with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc.
Despite massive demand for this kind of bet funding, local government simply won’t allow it.
Now, each of these in a vacuum is already significant enough to alienate tens of thousands of gamblers in a given state, and possible many more (depending on the population of said state).
Nationwide, we’re looking at millions of displaced bettors.
Consider: Just limiting access to sportsbooks to those aged 21 or older cuts out 18-year-olds, 19-year-olds, and 20-year-olds, forcing these legal adults to look elsewhere for legal gambling options.
And good luck bringing them back into the fold after they’ve been gambling overseas for literal years!
But all three of these slights taken together – barring a huge number of adults from using their favorite payment methods to bet on their favorite forms of competition locally – makes for a bridge too far for most.
Three bridges too far, in fact.
But somehow, at least one state sees how problematic this approach is, particularly in an industry as competitive as online sports betting.
That state is Wyoming.
With Wyoming House Bill 0133, a bipartisan panel of state representatives and senators have put forth a legal sports betting proposal that allows all of the above.
Not only would HB-0133 allow adults to legally wager online at 18 and up, it also specifically allows sports betting on eSports and lets WY residents fund their accounts however they please, whether via traditional fiat money, cryptocurrency, traveler’s checks (LOL -ed.), and literally “anything of value.”
As far as customer-friendly sports betting legislation goes, the least populous US state has put forth the most popular interpretation of what sports betting is and should be within the American market.
Granted, WY is not currently seeking to authorize online casinos or online poker rooms, but if HB-0133 gains traction, we expect the state to expand legal gambling options to these, as well.
While we and many millions of US residents prefer to gamble offshore across all major betting markets, it’s refreshing to see that at least one state actually understands the industry and is putting forward workable proposals to bring overseas bettors back into the fold stateside.
Hopefully, the Wyoming congress will pass HB-0133 into law, and the Equality State’s approach to online betting will set the new standard for the US marketplace going forward.
Source: WY Legislature