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Best Legal Betting Sites and Bookmakers [2021] – Updated List

Amateur punters who are looking to explore the world of sports betting are sometimes worried about the legal aspects of getting involved. They’ve seen the movies that show bookies getting busted. They’ve read in the newspapers about betting syndicates getting shut down and they have heard stories of local bookies that are connected to some shady people. Betting novices can read a virtual betting guide and they can’t be blamed for having reservations when it comes to choosing a legal betting site, but the gambling industry is not legal everywhere, for example, Japan betting sites and Japan gambling sites are banned.

Best Legal Betting Sites in 22 September 2021 – Updated List

Rank
Bookmaker
Bonus
Safe & Trusted
Rating
Get Started
1
Exclusive 10% Rakeback
Yes
Rating 9.99 out of 10
2
Exclusive: 100% up to €130
Use Promocode: GJBET
Yes
Rating 9.90 out of 10
3
100% up to €122
Yes
Rating 9.81 out of 10
4
100% up to $75
Yes
Rating 9.72 out of 10
5
Exclusive: 100% up to €143
Use Promocode: GAMBLINGJUDGE
Yes
Rating 9.63 out of 10
6
$50 Risk Free Bet
Yes
Rating 9.54 out of 10
7
100% up to €100 + €10 Free Bet
Yes
Rating 9.45 out of 10
8
100% up to €100 + €20 Free Bet
Yes
Rating 9.40 out of 10
9
125% up to €300
Yes
Rating 9.35 out of 10
10
100% up to €100
Yes
Rating 9.30 out of 10

The Evolution of Betting Sites: A Brief History

Online betting depends on the internet, and its origin dates back to the advent of the internet. While it may be difficult to point out the exact date when online betting started, some events can help point out some particular dates. For instance, the passing of the Free Trade and Processing Act in the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is believed to be the first step to create legal online sports gambling sites – this was in 1994. 

The Act allowed the licensing of companies that wanted to offer online gambling services. However, it’s believed that the first bet on an online betting site was placed in 1996 in the Tottenham Hotspur vs. Hereford United F.A. Cup replay match. The betting site was called Intertops, and it took a $50 bet from a Finnish customer. So, Intertops was the online sports betting website, and it still operates to date, offering some of the most competitive maybe the best odds bookmakers. Currently, there are thousands of online bookmakers across the globe. 

The proliferation of online bookies was within a short time, and today millions of gamblers use the online platform to place bets on legal online sports betting sites. The betting industry generates billions of dollars in revenue each year, and its popularity keeps soaring. 

Of course, there are constant changes aimed at enhancing the gambling experience. This includes advances in technology leading to unique innovations. The last half of the 90s saw the growing number of betting sites. Though there was some level of regulation, it was not very strict since there was very little oversight of the activities of these online sportsbooks. Even so, there were a good number of legal betting websites whose aim was to offer exemplary services while targeting a profit. 

Strict regulation kicked in when punters started scam betting sites. These sites began with good intentions but ended up stealing from gamblers.  Back then, it was difficult to know the trusted sports betting sites; many people would just sign up on a site that popped up. 

Today, the betting laws are strict, thanks to the different online gambling jurisdictions that offer licensing services. It is now easier to sign up on legal gambling sites by country based on the gambling jurisdiction. Again, each country has its gambling laws, which primary and moderate the activity. 

Legal betting sites law and regulations

Are betting sites legal? Is one of the most frequently asked questions in the online gambling world.  One of the first things that sports bettors need to know is that every country has its own laws that govern internet gambling. There is no single body that controls this industry. So, whether gambling sites legal or not depends on where you live in the world. In the United States, online sports gambling is legal in just a few individual states and there are laws that forbid the transfer of gambling money in and out of state in which it is illegal.

Of course, scores of United States residents successfully flaunt these laws. Nonetheless, online gambling sites are essentially illegal in the majority of the states and bettors gamble at their own risk. In other words, the answer to are betting sites legal question is quite “complex” in this country: The answer is mostly no, but still yes in some states.

It is up to the punter to learn about the rules in their own jurisdiction. The laws and regulations that govern online gambling are different everywhere in the world. Players at U.K. betting sites, for instance, will have a far easier to time playing online. There is a greater degree of legal sports betting sites in that country than in the U.S.

The same is also true for legal online betting sites in Canada and Europe. In fact, some of the best betting sites in the world will be permitted to offer their services in many countries at once, and Mauritius and Curacao betting sites are just two of the many examples. Some common places of bookmakers by jurisdiction include AlderneyAntigua, Costa Rica, Curacao, GibraltarIsle of ManKahnawakeMaltaUnited Kingdom.

Is Online Betting Legal?

In the top 5 sports betting sites there will almost certainly be at least one  Costa Rica sports betting site, but so, too will be many other quality legal betting sites. In other words, while the best legal betting sites will be licensed from one of these agencies, this is not their only distinctive feature.

We answered the “are betting websites legal” question above: The answer is yes. So let’s continue with another important question: What sports betting sites are legal? To be honest, this question requires a long answer but we already have guides about it, so we will summarize them with a single sentence.

All of the legal international betting sites have a license from a reputable and official regulatory authority, and that license is what makes them legal. For example, legal sports betting sites U.K. are licensed from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Now, legal online sports betting requires a license but licenses do not guarantee that you will get a good experience – they only guarantee that you will be able to bet on football legally, for example. In order to get a good experience, you need a separate list of the best legal betting sites, and here we’ll also include betting exchange – Belgium based sites.

Which ones are both legal and profitable? Which online bookies offer the best bonuses? Well, we can answer these questions and more: Below, you can see our picks for the best legal gambling sites. All of these websites offer you a legal, secure, and fair gambling experience, as well as advantageous bonuses.

Licensing sports betting sites: the common jurisdictions

Favorable tax laws and loose regulations have brought on an explosion of internet gambling websites to a few regions. Gibraltar is one such country that has benefitted. An estimated 25% of its GDP is a result of legal wagering sites that have set up shop there. For several years, Costa Rica has been the home of many sports betting sites and Australia has also been a popular destination for these enterprises. As a result of this, many such legal betting enterprises can be found there.

Where is sports betting legal?

Further Information

There are many countries around the world that offer legal sports betting, such as Belgium betting sites.  Roughly, global sports betting stands at $150 billion per year – and many countries are recognizing the economic benefits of gambling.  While subject to territorial regulations, Australia’s many gamblers can bet on sports legally as can New Zealanders. Several European countries such as Germany, France, Hungary, and Belgium allow it. Therefore, we recommend taking a look at our list of Germany betting sites where you can place Germany bets – no commission charged.

Legal online betting is offered at Canada, Panama, Macau, and Malta betting sites (check the Malta Gambling Sites and Laws). Asian countries such as Singapore and the Philippines offer legalized sports gambling. There are many other countries that have legalized gambling and there are a few countries that are in the process of making online gambling legal. In Colombia, sports betting is legal and regulated. The country also legalized online sports betting. However, its sports betting operator – Coljuegos, backlisted more than 300 betting sites, including Betfair, William Hill, and Ladbrokes. Ghana, Kenya, New Zealand, Mexico, Peru, and The Netherlands also allow sports betting.

In the United States, you can get legal online betting sites in more than 10 states since the supreme court legalized sports betting. Other states allow physical betting only, meaning that sports betting is at its infancy stages. Nonetheless, those states that allow online gambling have lucrative partnerships with betting companies from other countries, more so William Hill from England. Whenever a country does decide to authorize legal betting sites, you can find out about it via our page, where we cover the gambling laws of those nations. As mentioned above, sports gamblers need to take a few minutes to ensure that betting on sports is legal where they live.

The legal age for betting online

In most countries, the legal age for betting sports online is 18 but this is not true everywhere. In some places, the age can be 19, 20, or 21. Like the other “legal questions”, those looking to participate in online gambling need to find out what their local laws are. Many minors have had success gaining access to drinking establishments by using doctored I.D. Fooling the bouncer at the door is one thing but this doesn’t work so well with the biggest betting companies. Online bookies go through a rigid process to verify a customer’s age.

Punters that use credit cards are more easily verified than those who use pre-paid cards and e-wallets. Don’t be surprised if an online sports betting site asks you for a copy of the official government I.D. such as a driver’s license and a passport as part of the KYC process. Until the company is satisfied that you are of legal age, they will most likely not allow withdrawals. If you’re still unsure about whether gambling websites are legal, you can always contact the customer support team at that site and ask them.

How to place bet on legal betting sites

Tip

If a punter has a few thousand dollars to spend and doesn’t mind a bit of travel then booking a flight to Las Vegas and laying some bets at one of their many entertaining sportsbooks is one way to legally bet on sports. Luckily, there are some cheaper and much less time consuming options available.

Depending on where you live, legally betting on sports might be just a few mouse clicks away. Assuming a punter lives in a region that allows its residents to gamble, a quick and easy search of Gamblingjudge.com’s extensive database of the best sports betting sites will lead you to a safe and legal internet bookie where you can sign up, collect a nice sign up free bet, and lay a bet within minutes. You should check our recommended new bookmakers 2021 list, as new bookmakers often offer attractive bonuses, as well as our tutorial on buying points sports betting.

If you want to find the best betting site in the world, our resources should work out nicely for you. We will also provide lists of bookmakers that offer the “accept all odds movement” feature, the “edit my acca” feature, or the “request a bet” feature. Just because you live in an area that prohibits the operation of sports wagering sites doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t allowed to legally bet on sports.

There are all sorts of legal gambling sites which have found ways around the rules, such as loopholes. For instance, Canada is a country where these grey zones come in very handy. Interac betting sites, even if based offshore, will accept Canadian players and some are Canadian dollar bookmakers at the same time. The same thing goes for Russian betting sites.

Recommended payment methods for legal betting sites

Dealing with online wagering sites is becoming easier by the day. The best sports betting sites offer now many options when it comes to fast and hassle-free withdrawals and in-play cashing out bets. E-wallets such as Neteller and Skrill are widely accepted. New online bookmakers that accept iDeal are also a good alternative. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover are a few of the popular credit card options. Neteller is the best option if you want to get the fastest payouts from instant withdrawal bookmakers. EcoPayz betting sites are also known for fast withdrawals, which are usually instant, but may take up to 24h, depending on the bookmaker.

It is worth noting that some you can search bookmakers by payment methods at a legal betting site may only be available if you reside in a certain country. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency options, for instance, may not be legal in the country you live in, even at an Ethereum betting site. These credit card companies also have pre-paid cards that are accepted almost everywhere. Players can also deposit and withdraw using various intermediaries between the bookmaker and their bank, like Trustly (have a look at our recommended Trustly betting sites here). They can as well use bank wires and eChecks. Some sites are even accepting Bitcoin. With this many options and several more, financial transactions with internet bookies are a cinch.

Can I use a credit card on legal betting sites?

Yes. Using a credit card to bet on sports is perfectly legal but first, you need to know the currencies of bookmakers. Most reputable sites allow credit cards to be used to deposit funds to bet with. In fact, credit cards are one of the easiest ways to do financial betting transactions with online gambling establishments. Credit cards can make it easier for businesses to verify a player’s age and other important information, but a web-based betting site may still require further proof of age. Keep in mind, we are talking about credit cards and not pre-paid credits cards

Top 7 countries with Legal Betting Sites

Gambling has a rich history in some countries than others, where different forms of gambling existed, among them, sports betting. Online sports betting is currently one of the most popular forms of gambling as it attracts the masses daily. Therefore, many bookmakers by country are mushrooming to offer their services to the ever-growing population of gamblers. Currently, most countries have adopted legal sports betting in their jurisdiction. However, some countries prohibit betting altogether. With such restrictions, only a few international bookies can operate in such countries. 

If you are in the following countries, you’ll place a bet without any issues:

  1. Mexico:  Sports betting in Mexico is licensed. There are very few restrictions, making it a country with the fastest growing sports betting market – both online bookies and brick and motor sportsbooks. If you are visiting Mexico, you can place bets from your mobile device. However, you have to be at least 18 years old. 
  2. South Africa: Sports betting was established formally in 1994 in South Africa. From that time, there has been a proliferation of both online and retail sportsbooks across the country. The National Gambling Act (1996) established the norms of all gambling activities, including license distribution. Note that sports betting and horse racing goes hand in hand. 
  3. United Kingdom: the U.K. has a reputation of having the most advanced sports betting market – betting is part of the culture of Britons. The country has many sports betting parlors and boasts of significant sports betting companies like William Hill. 
  4. Philippines: the Philippines boasts of numerous betting sites across the country covering a wide range of sports. While you can cover events occurring worldwide, the most prominent sports are soccer and basketball. However, betting laws forbid locals in the Cagayan region from betting. All bets by locals should be placed at Philippine Amusement and Gambling Corporation (PAGCOR).
  5. Australia: the betting industry in Australia has no limits, making it one of the most developed sports betting markets. The only restriction is how bookies broadcast their advertisements.
  6. Canada: sports betting in Canada is allowed, but not in all provinces. The federal law doesn’t restrict gambling. So, while in Canada, you are free to place bets in Alberta, British Columbia. Nonetheless, Alberta doesn’t have legal online sports gambling sites. 
  7. Switzerland: betting in Switzerland is allowed provided the Switzerland betting sites and bookmakers are offered by legal operators. Swiss punters can bet both online and in-person at their best legal betting sites

Legal betting sites in the U.S.

24+ states in the USA currently allow the different forms of sports betting, thanks to the Supreme Court striking down the federal ban on sports betting. Every state is now contemplating legalizing sports betting despite the deep-seated political opposition to sports betting. Here is the breakdown of the legal betting sites in the USA.

Physical Sportsbooks: The following states have only physical sportsbooks. 

  • Arkansas: Legal sports betting began on July 1, 2019
  • New Mexico: features a handful of retail bookies spread across the state
  • New York: has a handful of commercial and tribal casinos
  • North Carolina: in-person sports betting was legalized in July 2019 for two tribal casinos

In-person online: For in-person online betting, you can visit:

  • Mississippi: this state offers mobile betting, but you can only place bets while in a casino 
  • Montana: this state officially began accepting bets in march 2020 on an app run by a company running the state lottery.

Full mobile betting sites: The following states will allow full mobile betting Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Washington D.C. has limited mobile betting options.

Top 4 European countries with legal betting sites

The gambling laws in Europe are progressive – while some countries permit all types of gambling, others only allow online gambling. Online bettors European betting sites have varying experiences depending on where they are, but one thing is clear, most of them use Euro. Top countries in Europe known to have legal betting sites are:

  • Germany: sports betting is widespread in Germany, considering its love for sports. There are lots of betting shops across the country and over 100 legal betting sites for Germans.
  • France: sports betting market in France is much similar to that in the U.K. France is the birthplace of many casino games like roulette and blackjack. So the culture of betting is deep-rooted. Currently, sports betting is legalized and fully regulated. 
  • Italy: betting in Italy is widespread considering their love for football. There are hundreds of legal gambling websites across the entire country. 
  • Spain: there is an established betting scene in Spain. All betting sites are licensed by the government and controlled by the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ).

How to choose the best Legal Betting Sites?

Finding the right betting site can take a lot of time, considering the vast array of betting sites. However, if you have criteria to follow, you can drastically reduce the time spent searching for a site. Here are a few things to check out:

Betting Features

A nice betting must offer the latest betting for the best betting experience – for instance, live streaming betting sites and in-play betting. This will enable you to place bets in real-time. Besides, a bet builder is a nice feature to help you create personalized bets easily.

Site availability

Check out if the site is legal within your region. Remember, each region has specific laws governing the operation of betting sites. So, check the licensing – absence of a license means that the betting sites aren’t legal; thus, you risk being exposed to scammers.

Betting Markets

Betting sites offer ordinary betting markets  – Moneyline, Point Spread, Totals, etc. However, they vary in terms of bet types. So before you sign up, check the extent of coverage on each sport – for instance, game props, 60 minutes props, team props, team futures, player props, player awards, etc.

Coverage Of Sports

Indeed, you may have a favorite sport to wager on, but a betting website offering a wide range of betting opportunities in terms of sports is worth considering. Many sports on a betting website are an indicator of being well-rounded but also a spice of life.

Mobile Betting

Mobile betting increases access – you can bet from anywhere, anytime. The mobile sports betting apps are an indication of transformation, allowing punters to carry mini bookies in their pockets. 

Odds

Bets odds and bets lines should be your priority when finding a betting site. This guarantees you better returns as odds determine what you win or lose. 

Customer service for legal betting sites

Customer support is essential. The best legal sports betting sites must offer 24/7/365 customer support. Besides, prompt responses to queries are very vital as it guarantees satisfaction to the customers. All legal sites provide different communications channels, including email, online live chat, telephone, and social media channels. Besides, others offer a FAQ section on their website’s contact area. This is the best part to start if you are a new bettor. Safe and secure for legal betting sites (here can you please write one sentence about “the safest legal betting site”)

Safe and security

Security guarantee safety, and each online sports betting site aims to offer a secure betting environment to its customers. Apart from getting the required licenses and fast and reliable payouts betting websites provide fair games. Besides, they use the latest SSL encryption technology, anti-malware software and keep websites up to date. This ensures that third parties cannot access the customer’s information. This is the safest legal betting site.

Offshore Vs. Legal Betting Sites

Legal betting sites are betting websites that are legalized to run within a country’s borders. The sites display their licenses on the website, have a registered address, and have a responsible gaming policy. By contrast, offshore betting sites are betting sites licensed by international gaming authorities like Curacao, Panama, Kahnawake, and Antigua – offshore nations. Besides, the method of payment can indicate if a site is offshore, e.g., bitcoin.

Mobile apps experience on Legal Betting Sites

A mobile bookie app offers a different way of accessing an online bookie. Some sportsbooks release dedicated mobile apps – for iOS and Android devices. Besides providing easy accessibility, mobile apps send notifications – final results and bet status; thus, keeping punters updated. Besides, they offer easy access to banking options and account management.

Pros and Cons about Legal Betting Sites

PROS

  • Safe markets
  • Promotions and bonuses
  • Mainstream deposit methods
  • Promotes responsible gambling
  • Generates tax revenue for the government
  • No black money and its misuse
  • Improves sports popularity

CONS

  • Payment processing issues
  • Trapped bankroll issues

Best legal betting sites FAQ:

A license means that a betting site is regulated; thus, legal. A sportsbook without a license is not legally allowed to operate.

Money Lines are the most popular bets, especially for recreational gamblers. The bets are straightforward as punters choose one team or one player to win in a competition.

Legal betting sites offer safe betting markets to players. Besides, they provide a regulated environment that protects the game's integrity and direct punters to help when needed.

Legal betting sites pay out only when you play by the terms; otherwise, the legal betting website will refuse to pay out if you contravene terms.

Not entirely. Betting sites do not charge customers any fee. Standard fees are usually associated with deposit and withdrawal, and taxation which the government imposes.

The most popular options include bet365, bet9ja, William Hill, Unibet, Betsson, 22Bet, 888Sport, 1XBET, and Bwin.

Why you need Legal Betting Sites

Looking for the best legal betting sites shouldn’t be an uphill task in this era of much information. Make no mistake about it and check our list of sportsbooks which has only legal betting sites. In some cases, the array of legal betting companies you’ll have open to you depends on where you reside. There is a lot of hearsay and myth surrounding this popular pastime, but they need to be educated on the facts surrounding this growing industry. Nobody wants to play at illegal betting sites, and that is why we have prepared this powerful guide.