Offshore Betting Sites (And Why You Should Avoid Them!)

Have you ever wondered if offshore betting sites are worth the risk?

Many bettors are tempted by the attractive offers and the easy access to offshore betting platforms. The following guide will explain why offshore betting sites may not be the best choice by highlighting the possible risks involved.

Understanding these risks is imperative to protect both yourself and your money. Let’s get into the reasons why staying with licensed, reputable, and local sites is the much safer and smarter alternative for US players.

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Find out why you should choose legal US sportsbooks over offshore sites.
  • Discover the hidden dangers of offshore gambling sites. 

What Are Offshore Betting Sites?

Offshore sportsbooks operate from countries outside where players reside. Even the best offshore sportsbooks for US players are typically based in jurisdictions with more lenient gaming regulations. Many offshore sportsbooks offer a wide variety of betting options, quite attractive welcome bonuses and promotions, and more.

This is why they are such an attractive option for players based in countries with strict gambling laws and regulations. Top offshore bookmakers are aware of this and therefore use this strategy to bypass local restrictions.

Lastly, since these platforms are not regulated by the player’s home country, they may lack certain consumer protections that local and licensed sportsbooks provide.

Offshore sportsbooks do not report to gambling authorities. That means that when it comes to fair play, data protection, and security, as well as the safety of your funds, it may all be compromised by using even the best overseas gambling sites.

Are Offshore Betting Sites in 2024 Legal?

Even if you come across the best overseas sportsbook or top international sites, they are still considered illegal in the United States. This is because they operate without the proper licenses and violate state and federal laws.

According to the UIGEA, also referred to as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, financial transactions with these offshore sportsbooks in 2024 are prohibited. That said, any offshore gambling site is a risky choice for US bettors.

Exploring the Risks of Betting at an Offshore Site

Betting at even the top international sportsbooks and gambling sites may seem appealing; however, it does come with significant risks that can ultimately impact your security and overall betting experience.

Let’s take a look at the possible risks of the best overseas sportsbooks for US players, so you won’t have to ask which offshore site is the best?

Lack of Consumer Protection

Most of the best offshore sportsbooks lack the strict consumer protection laws that are found in regulated and licensed local sites as well as sports betting apps. What this means is that they are not licensed and regulated in the US and in the event something goes wrong, such as a dispute over winnings or unfair practices, there’s limited recourse.

A sportsbook for US players, on the other hand, is required to adhere to standards of fairness and transparency laid down by the Consumer Protection Act in the country.

So even though you don’t have to pay taxes on overseas sports betting sites, there are lots of drawbacks

Risk of Shutting Down

One risk and possibility that comes with using offshore online sports betting platforms and gambling sites is the risk of the site shutting down without notice. Since they operate outside local jurisdictions, even if they offer the best betting markets, they can disappear overnight along with deposited funds and any potential winnings.

Fact: One example of this is in 2019 when the Curacao-based betting site, considered one of the best overseas sites at the time, known as 5Dimes suddenly shut down for US players and left many bettors in a lurch.

Legal Repercussions

Using offshore online sportsbooks and offshore sportsbook apps does come with legal consequences. The UIGEA has made it clear that it is illegal to process payments related to online gambling through any of these offshore platforms.

So, if you are found to be gambling at an offshore site, you could face possible fines and other legal repercussions. So, it’s best to stick with local sportsbooks and sportsbook apps where wagering on sports is legal. 

Lack of Responsible Gambling Resources

Most offshore sportsbooks lack responsible gambling measures, but offshore sportsbook reviews won’t tell you this.

This means that they do not provide the necessary tools and resources to help gamblers manage their bankrolls, set deposit limits, and control gambling habits. There are also no self-exclusion options, and ultimately, all of these things increase the risk of problem gambling.

→ Here’s a summary of the risks you expose yourself to when opting for an offshore sports betting site:

  1. Lack of Consumer Protection
    • No strict consumer protection laws
    • Limited recourse for disputes or unfair practices
  2. Risk of Shutting Down
    • Sites can shut down without notice
    • Potential loss of deposited funds and winnings
  3. Legal Repercussions
    • Illegal under the UIGEA to process payments for online gambling on offshore platforms
    • Possible fines and legal consequences for users
  4. Lack of Responsible Gambling Resources
    • No tools for managing bankrolls or setting deposit limits
    • No self-exclusion options, increasing risk of problem gambling

Legal US Sportsbooks: A Trustworthy Alternative to Offshore Betting Sites 

One of the best things about choosing a legal US sportsbook, or a sportsbook where betting is legal over offshore online betting sites, is that these legal options offer a more secure and reliable experience. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about how to offshore sports bet.

  • Legal US sportsbooks are not only licensed but also regulated by state authorities, so they comply with strict rules and consumer protections. In contrast, international sites operate outside US jurisdiction and therefore lack oversight and accountability.
  • The advantages of picking legal US sportsbooks include consumer protection. As mentioned earlier, since they are subject to strict regulations, fair play and protection for bettors are guaranteed. 
  • Next, you have security when wagering at a legal US sportsbook, as your personal and financial information is kept safe from theft and hackers. This is in compliance with US data protection laws.
  • Furthermore, when it comes to payment options such as deposits and withdrawals, legal US sportsbooks offer reliable banking methods and faster payouts compared to lots of offshore sportsbooks.
  • Something else we’ve noticed about legal US sportsbooks is that the terms and conditions are clear, fair, and reasonable (T&Cs surrounding popular sports, betting markets, betting lines, betting odds, as well as welcome bonuses). With legal betting sites that offer these benefits, there’s no need to use offshore betting platforms. 
  • Lastly, legal US sportsbooks offer sports betting options and responsible gambling tools and resources, which include self-exclusion programs, deposit limits, online betting limits, and more. You won’t come across these resources with even the best offshore sportsbook.

Here’s a table containing the key differences between offshore sportsbooks and legal US sportsbooks:

AspectLegal US SportsbooksOffshore Betting Sites
RegulationLicensed and regulated by state authoritiesOperate outside US jurisdiction
Consumer ProtectionHigh due to strict regulationsLacks oversight and accountability
SecurityPersonal and financial info protectedIncreased risk of theft and hacking
Payment OptionsReliable methods and faster payoutsLess reliable, slower payouts
Terms and ConditionsClear, fair, and reasonableOften unclear and potentially unfair
Responsible Gambling ToolsAvailable (self-exclusion, deposit limits)Typically, not available

Common Characteristics of an Illegal Offshore Betting Site 

When using even leading offshore sportsbooks, you’ll notice that the offshore betting industry displays certain characteristics. Even the best overseas sites come with red flags and things to be aware of before you use offshore sportsbooks.

Let’s discover the common elements of an Illegal offshore sportsbook:

  • Web Address: Many of these offshore sportsbooks usually use domain extensions like .ag, .lv, .eu, or other non-traditional extensions. However, these sites accept players from around the globe, and not just legal states.
  • Bonuses: Offshore bookmakers also offer betting welcome bonuses that seem too good to be true, such as massive sign-up bonuses, sometimes coming with a high initial deposit and some unrealistic promotions.
    So while offshore sportsbooks provide all the sports betting options that legal sites offer, including college sports betting and live betting, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Betting Markets and Options: Some of the best offshore bookmakers offer an assortment of betting options and markets that are not available in legal US sportsbooks, such as certain types of exotic bets or the option to bet on sports that are unregulated. This includes illegal horse race betting, live betting and live streaming, and more. 
  • Lack of Licensing: When you bet on offshore sportsbooks that accept US players, know that these sites lack proper licensing and regulatory oversight, which can lead to issues with fair play and accountability.
  • Absence of Responsible Gambling Measures: Even the most impressive offshore sportsbooks may not provide tools for responsible gambling, such as deposit limits or self-exclusion programs offered by legal platforms in the betting industry. This is something to be aware of before making use of offshore sportsbooks.

Examples of Illegal Sites: Here is a list of offshore sportsbooks, licensed in jurisdictions like Costa Rica, where betting is popular, that have been shut down in the US:

  • BetOnline
  • Bovada
  • 5Dimes

These top-rated overseas sportsbooks were operating without proper licensing and were involved in illegal gambling activities. You better avoid them!

So, Are You Ready to Explore Legal Alternatives to Offshore Betting Sites? 

The most important takeaway is the importance of choosing legal US sportsbooks over any illegal offshore sportsbook for a safer and more secure gambling experience.

You can use this guide to find the best regulated betting sites that suit you best and ensure that you are betting on a legal and reputable platform, protecting yourself from potential risks and legal issues.

Ready to learn more about the best legal US sports betting sites? Head on to our dedicated page and find out our recommended sportsbooks where you can gamble legally.