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RacingBetter News
Wednesday 27th May 2020
The Status Of Horse Race Betting In The US

Online gambling appears to be all the rage lately. After all, you have poker, various casino games and even sports betting too. It’s even possible for you to wager on any device, including your smartphone and your laptop. The federal government once waged a war on major betting sites such as PokerStars and even Bovada. Betting on the horses was explicitly illegal at a federal level as well.  Of course, that doesn’t mean to say that you cannot bet on horses in this day and age because there have been some changes and if you understand the red tape that is present then you will soon find that you can navigate the whole system with ease.

Photo by Daniel from Pexels

Intro to the Interstate Horseracing Act

Long before internet gambling could even be thought about, lawmakers had to work out a way to manage off-track betting. Until the year 1970, Nevada was the only state that could allow off-track betting. This happens when bettors in one location place wagers on races that take place at a completely different track. Television streams were able to broadcast races that took place miles away and this also meant that people could feel as though they are part of the action without having to step foot on the race track. Soon, hundreds of betting parlours started up throughout the area and upstate too. Interstate off-track betting was the next best thing when compared to online betting. Sure, you had to go down to your OTB parlour but when you got there, you could wager on the race in Maryland, and then the nightcap race in New Jersey. The local operators then started to state that there was foul play, saying that the interstate wagering activity was siphoning money away from racetracks and this wasn’t right. Congress wanted to stop this from becoming such a huge debate and that is why they needed to clarify how any proceeds from the OTB wagers would be divided, and whether or not the states were obliged to let interstate betting occur.

Changes to the Horse Racing Act

When the year 2000 came along, Google and Ebay had taken off and they drastically changed how society worked. Congress was then faced with yet another debate. Bettors were logging online to place wagers on horses, even in states that did not even participate in off-track betting. Race books that were online and overseas were able to undercut their competitors and they offered a rebate on any losses. This helped to make regular bettors come back for more. At the time, the Interstate Wire Act still held some sway over any gambling activities, and this meant that bookmakers and bettors were prohibited from conducting any kind of betting over the phone. With racetracks losing financial ground, Congress then decided to seek a remedy which would clarify the act that they had in place.  From this point, there has been no doubt that those who bet on horse racing in the USA are being completely legal, if they are in the US and as long as the individual state allows interstate betting.

UIEGA Exemptions

Between the year 2000 and 2006, internet gambling transitioned from a new concept into a billion-dollar industry. It came to a point where millions of dollars were flowing from US wallets to offshore gambling companies and this meant that Congress were forced to act once again. They released the UIGEA act in 2006 and this meant that federal lawmakers were able to criminalise poker rooms, sportsbooks and even online casinos. The main thing that you have to remember here is that placing bets is not a crime at all, but if someone was to accept the bet then this would be. This meant that Party Poker then had to withdraw from the US market entirely.

Fortunately for the online horse racing industry, lobbyists combined with some legislators who represented racetrack-dense districts and this meant that they could come up with a deal. Online poker players, casino game enthusiasts and even sports bettors could see their favourite pastime become illegal, but it would mean that horse bettors were able to bet without penalty. Another thing that you should know about the UIGEA is they clarify that this is only the case where horseracing, interstate betting and more is legal already. If you want some more clarification on that then you should know that any states that do not allow interstate wagering on horses do not need to offer any kind of online wagering instructions as this is based on the UIGEA’s exemption.  Even so, the horse racing industry is still very much established in most of the country and now American bettors have so many options available They can choose to bet on whatever they want when it comes to online wagering and they can also choose to bet on money lines too, as long as they abide by the guidelines. This is all very exciting and now you can bet regardless of where you are thanks to the development of technology. For example, you can now choose to bet on your phone, on your laptop or even on your desktop computer. The only thing that you need to make sure of is that the betting rules apply to your state. If your state does not allow any kind of betting then you need to make sure that you conform to these rules because if you don’t, then you may find that you end up breaking the law and this is the last thing that you want.

If you need more clarification on this then make sure that you contact your local gambling body. When you do, they can then tell you everything you need to know about the rules, whether or not you can bet legally and even whether the company you are choosing to bet through can accept the bet as well so it is important that you keep this in mind.