Online sports betting is a touchy subject in the United States to this day. There is a long history of illegality, legality, and everything in between. As cultural shifts continue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still too soon to know how each system, industry, and sport will be affected by the changes. Online betting is no different.
And even though Bovada is new(ish) to the scene, some states have rejected it.
Bovada is a Costa Rican online casino and sportsbook that came to be in 2011. It offers betting on most major U.S. leagues and even horse racing with slots, blackjack, table games, and many other kinds of casino games. Another feature that has been exciting for users is the live online poker tournaments that can be participated in, from around the world.
If you are worried Bovada is a scam, it’s luckily too old to be. Usually, scam sites rise and fall in a very short period of time (1-2 years), while this one has over a decade in the books.
As times change, so too do culture, technology, and perspective on things we might have deemed wrong or suspicious. And technically, Bovada got its start in a legal grey area because a Costa-Rican company is not subject to American laws.
Specifically, the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 was written to cripple the mob's influence and ability to move money across state lines. To this day, it's the most important law that affects gambling, prohibiting the use of a wire communication transmission to place a bet or give a tip about a betting opportunity. It states, “Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
The Bovada legal states include 45 out of 50 states in America. The only states where Bovada is not legal are Delaware, Nevada, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. Bovada is also legal in American territories like the US Virgin Islands.
Players who want to gamble online in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware have plenty of alternatives. All of these states have online gambling platforms run by respected companies in the industry, such as Caesar's and MGM.
All these states also have multiple sportsbook platforms available. The most trusted online sportsbook providers in these states inkkclude MGM, Caesar's, Draft Kings, and FanDuel. There are also smaller online sportsbooks of varying quality that are operated by start-ups.
Most of the states that do not allow Bovada have actually legalized and regulated online gambling. Bovada has decided that they don't want to follow the regulations of any one state, as this might prevent them from operating in states with different regulations. Instead, Bovada continues to operate in states where online gambling is in a legal gray area.
Online gambling is explicitly illegal in Maryland and New York. This means that neither Bovada nor any other online gambling platform can operate in these states. There are movements to legalize online gambling in both states, especially in New York. However, Bovada would not be available in these states because the company would not meet whatever regulations the states come up with. Players in Maryland or New York aren't totally out of luck, however.
There are also cryptocurrency-only sites that are accessible in all 50 states. Even gamblers in Maryland and New York can access these sites. These sites include Everygame and SwC Poker. Players who are considering gaming on these sites should keep in mind that these sites lie in a legal gray area. There is an element of risk to playing on these sites if you live in New York or Maryland.