Betting Tips
March 13, 2005 9:52 PM   Subscribe

Even with the big March event coming up, this is a hypothetical question. In a state like California, is there a legal way to bet on sports? Also, are there grey areas in betting, such as internet betting?
posted by jonah to Law & Government (4 answers total)
I have a friend who used in the past and found them to be straightforward. He would 'deposit' money with them online with his bank debit card. He received payout(s) via Western Union with no great hassles. He did pretty well a couple of times, from what I hear.
posted by geekyguy at 2:15 AM on March 14, 2005

What is the legality of online betting though, is it flat out illegal, or is it a grey area?
posted by jonah at 6:58 AM on March 14, 2005

In general, online betting is illegal in Calfornia, or across state lines anywhere in the U.S.

A December 2002 GAO report (pdf) noted "In general, gambling is regulated at the state level, with each state determining whether individuals can gamble within its borders and whether gaming businesses can legally operate there." "18 U.S.C. ยง 1084 (commonly referred to as the Wire Act) is the princ
ipal federal statute that has been used to prosecute Internet gambling activities across state lines." "The statute prohibits the transmission of 'information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest.' This language has led some courts to interpret the Wire Act as covering bets only on contests that involve sports.

I didn't find a specific cite in California law, but you could contact the California Gambling Control Commission directly.
posted by WestCoaster at 11:33 AM on March 14, 2005

You could always go to Vegas, of course. Of interest is the rec.gambling.sports Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), though it is outdated.

Looks like you're surrounded by states that allow gambling on sports in some way. Oregon (which has some betting on NFL games through its lottery) and Nevada, which allows sportsbooks.
posted by ALongDecember at 11:52 AM on March 14, 2005

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