If you’re already in a state with legal online sports betting, there’s no justification for betting at an illegal site. The legal sports betting apps offer better odds, better online security, and the promotions are more straightforward.
However, if you’re in a state without legal online sports betting, we understand the temptation. Some of these sites have decent enough reputations that make them seem viable.
Don’t be fooled: these sites are not worth the risk.
Should You Bet At An Illegal Online Sportsbook?
No, you shouldn’t bet at an illegal online sportsbook. While betting at any site runs the risk of losing your wager, illegal sites have a whole host of additional risks.
Here are the top reasons not to bet at an illegal online sports betting site:
1. Unsafe Personal Information
Illegal betting sites will often have mediocre digital security compared to legally licensed sites. But worse than that, these companies are under no real obligation to keep your information safe.
Illegal gambling sites are notorious for selling user data to third-party companies. The sold data could be as simple as a list of emails – or it could be SSNs and credit card numbers.
When you sign up for an offshore betting site, there’s a good chance your info is being sold off. Some bettors don’t care and go for it anyway, which is, to put it nicely, not smart.
2. Unsecure Funds
With lackluster digital security, illegal betting sites are subject to cyber-attack. So even if the company doesn’t sell off your information, you’re at risk anyway. If a hacker gets into your account and has access to your financial information, there’s little preventing them from withdrawing your funds to their personal account.
3. No Legal Protection
If you are a victim of an illegal betting site, there’s nothing you can do about it. They’re based in tax havens like Curacao and Malta, which won’t provide you with any legal protection because you’re playing at the site illegally. And the US government isn’t going to help you either for that very reason.
If you’re ripped off by an offshore site, the best you can do is write a scathing review. It won’t get you your money back, but maybe it’ll stop somebody else from making the same mistake.
4. Hidden Terms And Conditions
Illegal online sportsbooks will almost always hide ridiculous terms and conditions. For example, a 200% welcome bonus up to $1,500 sounds amazing. But if you read the fine print, you see that the wagering requirements are 30x, 40x, or even 50x the deposit plus bonus. Even 10x for a sports betting site is too high.
At legal online sportsbooks, you’ll find between 1x and 5x wagering requirements.
5. High Withdrawal Minimums
Illegal betting sites will almost always have a withdrawal minimum of $100. Low-budget bettors often don’t realize that when they’re depositing, because these sites will also accept deposits as low as $10. That’s a predatory level of discrepancy.
At legal sports betting sites, the withdrawal minimum is between $1 and $10.
6. Mediocre Odds
Offshore sites understand that they’re chosen by American bettors because there’s no legal option. That creates a lack of competition that allows the site to charge ridiculous vigs.
For example, the moneyline at the illegal betting site Bovada for an upcoming NBA game has the Dallas Mavericks at -620 and the Cleveland Cavaliers at +410. At FanDuel Sportsbook, the same bet has the Mavericks at -590 and the Cavaliers at +430.
That’s a significant difference in win potential. For example, a $100 bet on the Cavaliers would pay out $30 more at FanDuel.
7. Technically Breaking The Law
Of course, there’s always a small chance that you’ll get into legal trouble for betting at an illegal sports betting site. You’re probably more likely to get busted for downloading a movie illegally, but it’s technically possible.
More likely, you’d get in trouble for not paying taxes on net winnings from an illegal sports betting site. Legal sportsbooks will tell you if you owe taxes and send you the proper forms. An illegal site will not extend the same courtesy.
8. You Could Visit A Neighboring State
Online sports betting is still illegal in states with the biggest populations. This includes Texas, California, and New York. But all of those states are relatively close to states with legal online sports betting. And if you’re over 21, you can cross states and bet legally.
- Texas: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Louisiana either already have legal online sportsbooks or will by early 2022.
- California: Nevada has legal online sports betting.
- New York: New Jersey and Pennsylvania both have legal online sports betting. New York also has a handful of retail sportsbooks.
It’s not exactly convenient to travel to a neighboring state. Even a ten-minute car ride is a bigger hassle than simply getting on your computer or mobile device. But it’s worth it if you want to bet safely.
9. Legal Sports Betting Might Come To Your State Soon
Legal sports betting is likely coming to several states in the coming years. New York State is launching legal online sports betting in the coming year or two. Texas has had some promising legislative movements. California is expected to legalize it in the next couple of years.
It doesn’t exactly help with a game you want to bet on today. But with some (serious) patience, legal online sports betting apps will come to your state sometime soon.