Online gambling debuted in 1994 with the passing of the Free Trade and Processing Act in Antigua and Barbuda. Most sites that got up and running after this Caribbean nation chose to be the world’s first territory to legalize internet betting are still around, with brands like BetUS dominating this sector for over two and a half decades.
BetUS, and other platforms like it, ones operating from countries with lax tax regulations and laws, like Costa Rica, Latvia, Curacao, Antigua, the Isle of Man, and Panama, accept users from most corners of the globe and get referred to as offshore bookies because of their international nature. Many of these hubs target American customers despite most US regions’ legislation frowning upon them offering their services to their residents, with many citing this practice as illegal. However, even in those states, authorities don’t bother prosecuting gamblers that use these sites as their popularity continues to swell. The only ones are risk of federal persecution are the offshore operators themselves, as some have faced legal action, an example of this being the founder of the Antigua-based World Sports Exchange, Jay Cohen getting a prison sentence for violations of the Interstate Wire Act in 2000. Though, it should get noted that in 2011, the Department of Justice changed its interpretation of this law, stating that it no longer applies to gaming entertainment, only sports wagering.
The American Gaming Association recently released a report that claimed that Americans gamble an estimated $511 billion annually at offshore operators, with international bookies seeing an estimated yearly handle of $63 billion from US bettors. Thus, it should come as no surprise that, given their establishment, many Americans choose offshore sites to place bets on Super Bowl games, and these platforms are leading the charge in gambling tech advancements.
Live Streaming & Play-by-Play
In the first decade of the online betting sector’s existence, poor internet speeds were responsible for no sportsbook even considering showing live feeds of sporting events on-site. Moreover, operators did not have the funds necessary to pay licensing fees to air any games. That all changed as the sector expanded and internet penetration increased, as did most of these industry entities’ pockets. Now, it is common to see a screen window next to various markets at top-end brand platforms.
Unfortunately, even the best offshore operators cannot afford to provide streams of all the most famous leagues for several sports. But, for those who cannot fork over the required fees, they ensure to supply play-by-play boxes. These interface areas inform gamblers which side is on the attack and what they are doing in real time. This option gets complemented with loads of statistical data regarding the selected event, allowing bettors to make more informed decisions concerning in-play betting. That is wagering on an event as it transpires, a fairly standard option these days at virtually all online bookies.
For a while, credit/debit cards and bank wire transactions were the only payment methods found at gambling sites. Then, in the early 2000s, PayPal appeared on these hubs, and gambling-exclusive e-wallets like Neteller and Skrill entered the internet betting landscape. Sadly, these could not get used for processing withdrawals instantly. But that is now possible at several credible offshore brands that accept crypto transactions, paying out wins in digital coins.
Despite popular belief, Bitcoin transfers are not immediate, with, on average, taking around forty minutes to go through. Nevertheless, other cryptocurrency choices like Ripple, traditionally found in most offshore sportsbooks’ cashier tabs, can facilitate payment processing on their respective blockchains in seconds.
Note that virtual money does not get regulated in the US, and many high-end gambling regulators, like New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, outright ban their use for betting entertainment. Thus, Americans who want to enjoy almost instant withdrawals must turn to the offshore betting industry, as it is on the cutting edge of blockchain tech adoption, also evident by the vast array of generous crypto bonuses these platforms provide to users.
Advanced Anti-Fraud Safeguards
Because offshore bookies have a reputation for delivering super enticing promotions, these sites often suffer from various bonus abuse challenges. That is the practice of users attempting to claim the same promo deals several times over through nefarious methods, such as opening multiple accounts, masking their IP address, and more. To combat this, offshore bookmakers implement sophisticated software whose goal is to prevent and detect fraudulent use of their services. These automated solutions have algorithms that track access location and pre-emptively flag and block suspicious payment requests, noting any curious behavior for future reference. They do not do this only to protect themselves. Operators are also looking to take care of their user pool and lower the number of incidents of bettors getting their accounts stolen.
Also, they hope to stop potential money laundering. They get mandated to do their best in this field by the jurisdictions in which they operate. If they fail to meet the standard set regarding stopping financial crimes, they put their licenses and legitimacy with gamblers at risk. Hence, offshore bookmakers seek to automate the customer journey with chatbots and try to make everything fair for all sides. So everyone has a smooth betting experience.
The Cons of Offshore Platforms
These chiefly have to do with dispute resolution. Since offshore operators have a base of operation in a foreign land, they follow the laws applicable in that country. The same goes for anyone using their services. That means that in cases where disputes arise, gamblers get bound by foreign regulations and rules that may be strange to them. Furthermore, these sites rarely allow for any third-party meditation in cases where users and bookies don’t see eye-to-eye on a specific matter of controversy. Unlike, let us say, UKGC-approved brands, which all allow arbitration via the Independent Betting Adjudication Service.
Quality offshore sportsbooks have diverse appeal because they deliver competitive odds, alluring promotions, and incorporate state-of-the-art technology. They have more freedom in adopting the latest innovations compared to US-regulated sites, as the latter must factor in and fulfill various legal criteria before looking to implement something new on their wagering hubs/apps.
Parties interested in exploring internationally-licensed gambling websites should not worry about the legal ramifications of doing so, as there are none. Authorities in no US state have a history of going after their users.