Is Bovada legal in the US? Sportsbook Alternatives for Each State

You’re probably looking for a sportsbook that you can trust and you won’t get in trouble for using. If I were a betting man (I am) then I would guess that you stumbled on Bovada sportsbook. 

It’s for good reason too, it’s been estimated that they have over 10 million users but there’s no sure way of knowing without Bovada confirming. Now you’re wondering if you should be 1 of the estimated 10 million. 

We are going to give you the lowdown on whether Bovada is legal for US players and if you should use them for your sports betting needs. 

If you’re looking for someone to tell you it’s ok to place your bets through Bovada, this isn’t the article for you. We will never suggest a sportsbook or online casino who is not a US Regulated casino or sportsbook. 

If you’re on the fence and want to know why we would never recommend a non-US regulated sportsbook or casino then stick around. We want to show you exactly why. 

Brief History Of Bovada

Bovada (originally called Cyberoad) originally founded as a software company for the sports betting industry. Their claim to fame in 1997 was their platform was the first to accept online payments for the online gambling industry. 

There’s some controversy around when/how Cyberoad who was secretly owned by Bodog opened their doors to one of the big 3 online sportsbooks at the time. This was quite controversial because the founder of both companies was Calvin Ayre. 

What makes it controversial is that he also ran El Moro Finance under the alias of Cole Turner which raised the capital for Cyberoad which failed and was acquired by another company run by that same alias. 

A little background on Calvin, he was born in Canada by a pig and grain farmer in 1961. He credits his success to selling everything he owned to raise $10K to start a software company that eventually became Bodog. 

What Calvin does not share openly is in 1987 his father was convicted for smuggling 750lbs of marijuana into Canada. Calvin was not charged or arrested but he was referred to by the judge to have played a part. 

Calvin was also civilly charged with insider trading which settled for $10K and resulting in a ban from participating or promoting any company in the Vancouver Stock Exchange for 20 years. 

Not exactly upstanding and by the book kind of guy, which leads us to…

Where they operate

Bodog later spun multiple brands for different countries but the one we really care about is Bovada, the US version of Bodog, which is owned by Mohawk Morris Gaming Group which is a private company in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake in Quebec, Canada.

You’re wondering “why the hell did he stress their location?” well for two reasons. 

The first reason is to point out that the company does not operate within the United States borders so they cannot be regulated or licensed by the United States Gaming Commission.

The Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake is a sovereign Indian Reservation which means that MMGG is not required to do any financial reporting. Given the past record of their founder, this should not be a surprise and should be a red flag. 

Lastly, the location is strategically picked for the United States to loophole US regulations. These loopholes are not full proof and can cause…

Difficulty of depositing

Banks and financial institutions have a duty to comply with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (ULGEA). This, in a nutshell, means that it’s illegal for financial institutions to accept payments in connection with unlawful online gambling

There’s also the wire act which makes it illegal to transmit interstate sports wagering information. You can read more about the online gaming regulations that impact the US federally and state by state. 

With these two acts in place, it can be difficult to have your bnk or credit card approve transactions to Bovada because allowing so would directly violate both acts. Players will often find themselves having to use Wester Union transfers or sending a MoneyGram. 

The reason these additional services are required is because Bovada is not a US or State Regulated Gambling Institution. 

Why people use Bovada and The Risks They Face

We get it, people outside of the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and Nevada want to be able to sports bet. Either because they are a big fan of sports or just have more fun watching when there’s skin in the game. 

We’re not condoning these reasons for going to an unlicensed casino just like we wouldn’t recommend you ordering a pizza from a place that doesn’t get health inspections just because you like pizza. 

Our example might sound silly to you but when you think about it, what’s the difference between choosing Bovadaa who isn’t regulated and a restaurant that isn’t policed for cleanliness? 

Sure, the service might be great and others might rave about it but what happens when it’s not? You’re left stranded with no organization or governing body to penalize as insurance should something go wrong. 

Should your bank or credit card deny your deposit, your choices for payment are the same ones a  “Nigerian Prince” uses as payment to releases riches/inheritance to you. That should be a red flag by itself for you. 

To add fuel to the fire, if Bovada decides one day not to pay out winnings in a timely matter, you are at their mercy. On the surface, Bovada has a good track record but it’s hard to ignore seeing players being held up over a month like this.

If you didn’t go through the whole thread, in a nutshell, a player tried to withdraw $1,500 and was provided a lack of transparency with a lot of work on his end to get HIS money. We do hope this player did end up getting his money but if he didn’t he’s SOL because there’s no Gaming Commission to assist him.

Are they regulated by the states

We don’t want to beat a dead horse, so we’ll keep this short. There are no states that regulate or condone the use of Bovada. 

As a matter of fact, legislators in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Deleware, West Virginia, and Maine have created legislation to prevent Bovada from entering their states via the grey areas they do in the rest of the country.

Is Bovada Safe?

Given the horror story we shared earlier, the answer is no. We understand there are probably plenty of success or happy reviews but if you look there are also terrible ones. 

When you factor in that Bovada is not regulated in the United States and the volatile history of the company and its founder, it would be unethical to call Bovada safe for bettors.

Are there alternatives to using Bovada?

Yup! Depending on your state’s legislation there are plenty of sportsbooks to choose from. Not every state is set up for Online Sportsbetting or Sportsbetting in person but we took the time to point out a few options that are state-regulated. 

We’ve broken it down so that you can see the sportsbook, read a review, their current bonus, and where you can play (online or in-person).

Bovada Alternatives For New Jersey

CASINOS

BONUS

FEATURES

EDITOR RATING

PLAY

$20

FREE

✔ Exclusive 20$ free

✔ 100% up to $600

✔ Risk free bet $250

4.8

$250

BONUS

✔ 100% up to $250 

✔ Only 1x play-through

✔ +400 casino games

4.7

$1000

FREE BET

✔ Great sports book

✔ Refer a friend, get $50

✔ Risk-free bets up to $1000

4.7

$2000 

BONUS

✔ $20 free bonus 

✔ Casino, sports & poker 

✔ 100% up to $2000

4.6

$25

FREE

✔ Exclusive $25 free

✔ 100% up to $1000

✔ Casino, sports & poker

4.5

$500

BONUS

✔ 100% up to $500

✔ 250 casino cames

✔ Very fast support

4.4

$20 

FREE

✔ $20 free bonus 

✔ $250 Risk free bet

✔ 100% up to $500

4.4

$500

BONUS

✔ 100% up to $500

✔ Free $20 on Live Bet

✔ Casino, sportsbook & horse racing

4.4

$300

FREE BET

✔ Casino & Sports book

✔ $10 free casino bonus

✔ $10 free sports bonus

4.3

$300

BONUS

✔ 100% up to $300 

✔ $10 free casino bonus

✔ Mobile apps available

3.9

Bovada Alternatives For Pennsylvania

We will update this section shortly.

Bovada Alternatives For Virginia

We will update this section shortly.

Bovada Alternatives For Deleware

We will update this section shortly.

Bovada Alternatives Nevada

We will update this section shortly.

Conclusion

Bovada certainly has a lot of raving reviews but the biggest flaw is they are not operated in the United States which means that it can not be regulated by the United States. 

Although it’s unlikely that Bovada will not payout on bets but should they decide not to pay, there is nothing the US court system can do for you since it is not regulated by the United States. For this, we do not suggest using them for your sports betting needs. 

You should always use US regulated sportsbooks and casinos to have confidence that you have state legislation to fall back on to hold them accountable for their actions. 

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