With the 2019 NFL season now under way, many sports betting fans are looking for ways to wager on their favorite teams and players. If you’re located in the United States, you might want to consider which states’ laws apply to your particular case, as well as whether or not you’re allowed to bet on sports in the first place.
The majority of states in the country have legalized sports gambling, but some restrictions and regulations apply. With that in mind, let’s take a look at which states’ laws apply when it comes to mobile and online sports betting. We’ll start with Alabama and then move on to other states.
In Alabama, all state-sponsored gambling is treated as a privilege and not a right. Therefore, placing a wager on sports is generally legal, but doing so on public land or via an online sportsbook can be considered unlawful gambling. However, individuals can still legally bet on sports events that are held on private property, like a stadium or sports club. Also, if an Alabama resident wins a sports bet, state-sponsored lottery systems (like the Alabama ALC) can sue the individual for the return of the money.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at which mobile and online sports betting apps are legal in Alabama.
For those who use Apple Watches, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the device is not considered a betting apparatus under Alabama law. The bad news is that some sports betting apps that are designed for the Apple Watch are actually mobile apps that were built with iPhone screens bigger than 4 inches and therefore operate outside of the state’s law enforcement jurisdiction.
Unlike Apple’s offerings, the vast majority of Android-based smartphones and tablets are considered betting apparatuses under Alabama law. However, if the device is not purchased in the state, then it cannot be considered a gambling device. Fortunately, there are exceptions for those who purchase an Android tablet or smartphone in Alabama, as long as it’s within the state’s borders. Also, some companies like Avast have created what’s known as a Verify Password app, which ensures that users are located in the state when they create an account with an online sportsbook. This type of verification should not be considered an extra step but rather a legal requirement in most states. After all, if you are truly doing business within the state’s borders, you should be able to prove it.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a legal sports betting app for Blackberry users. Due to the company’s longstanding connection to the mob, all forms of gambling, including sports betting, are strictly prohibited. However, given the way that the company has changed, it’s possible that they could get in line for legal status if they apply for it. Also, it’s possible that in the next few years, the U.S. Congress could pass a law specifically legalizing sports betting for individuals.
Microsoft’s Surface team knows how integral their ecosystem is to the state of Alabama. As such, the company tries to support and promote local businesses via marketing partnerships and job placement. One of those businesses is begriffs.com, an online sportsbook whose offices are located in Alabama. The Surface team even provided office furniture and equipment as part of the deal. As long as you’re not on public land or in front of an NCAA tournament game, you should have no trouble using these products to place a wager on sports.
What About Online Poker?
There are also a number of online poker websites that operate in the U.S. These websites take bets on sports events as well as on poker hands. However, due to the illegality of online gambling, they cannot accept bets from individuals in Alabama. Even so, they often have games that residents can join, provided that they are willing to break some federal laws.
The takeaway from this article is that you must abide by the law wherever you go, whether it’s in Alabama or another state. Also, make sure that you have the correct documentation to prove that you’re a legal resident of the state. If you’re unsure of the laws or don’t have the required documentation, then you might want to consider moving elsewhere or consulting an attorney to help you navigate these complicated waters.