Regulation Of Mobile Sportsbooks And Betting In America – An Overview

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The issue of regulating mobile sportsbooks is an issue that has faced state legislatures throughout the country for years. As new emerging forms of technology are developed, new issues surface in relation to these technologies and how they may be regulated. One of these issues is regulation on mobile sports betting by way of mobile applications, otherwise known as “apps”.

Currently, most states have legalized sports betting. Some form of gambling is legal in 42 of the 50 United States. The legality of an activity does not always mean that it can be regulated by a state or even permitted on private land. A host of factors are considered when determining whether to permit any type of gambling operation on private property within a state.

These factors include the population of the state, revenue that could be generated within a county or municipality, community opinion, and even difficulty enforcing such regulations on private property.


Why Regulation is Important

Regulation has always been important in the United States. As technology continues to develop and evolve, it becomes increasingly more difficult for states that legalize gambling to enforce laws within their jurisdictions. Oftentimes, there are issues with permitting or enforcement on private land not owned by the state. This makes regulating these types of businesses even more challenging.

The Federal Wire Act of 1961 prohibits bets from being placed on a sporting event while the game is in progress. This restriction has been interpreted to include online wagers and has created significant legal issues for internet sportsbooks that operate throughout the United States.

As a result, states have adopted a standard of prohibiting any type of interstate gambling activities which would include placing bets on sporting events with a person located outside of the state. An attempt by Congress to legalize all types of sports betting nationwide was introduced but ultimately failed.


Types of Regulations

States have adopted different types of laws and statutes when it comes to regulating online gambling operations or sportsbooks, including mobile sports betting apps. These laws typically fall into one of three categories:

1. Legalization, permitting, and licensing (and other requirements) for online gambling operators;

2. Licensure of bettors or betting customers; 3. Betting or wagering restrictions on where bets may be placed


Operator Regulation

Reviews of the best online sportsbooks in 2022 show that states that allow the legal operation of online gambling typically require operators to be properly licensed and regulated. A number of states also require that the online sportsbook must use a state-operated gaming commission or lottery system to process bets.

States have required operators to pay an upfront fee for a license, annual fees, and other requirements such as providing player funds in a separate account from operating funds. States have even regulated websites based on the types of bets offered and who may participate in wagering activities.

Betting Customer Licensure

A number of states have taken a different approach to regulation by requiring bettors or betting customers to be licensed before participating in any form of gambling activity, including online sports betting. This typically requires that a person’s name, address, and other information be submitted to a state before being granted permission to wager.


The customer may be required to pay an upfront fee as well as annual fees in order for this license to remain valid. States have also regulated websites based on the types of bets offered and who may participate in wagering activities. This regulation has been a focal point for legal challenges.

Where Bets May be Placed

States have also regulated where wagers may be placed, especially when it comes to online sportsbooks and mobile apps providing sports betting services. Again, this restriction on placing bets is usually within the state or among participating states in a compact or agreement.

Many states have also focused on regulating land-based locations, including casinos and race tracks, to prevent bets from being placed outside of a state’s jurisdiction.
Mobile sports betting apps have made it easier for Americans to place wagers from anywhere using mobile devices. But existing federal law creates uncertainty as to whether all forms of online gambling are permitted.


The legislation introduced in Congress to legalize sports betting nationwide would have resolved the ongoing legal issues of interstate gambling, including whether mobile sports betting apps are allowed under current federal law.

States have also regulated these types of mobile wagering apps by requiring licensure for operators and bettors as well as placing restrictions on where bets may be placed.

Closing Remarks

In summary, online gambling has faced many challenges from the federal government, but states have begun to legalize and regulate the activity. States typically require operators to be properly licensed and regulated before offering any form of gambling service including mobile sports betting apps. In addition, all players must also meet certain requirements which vary by state.