The Supreme Court has opened the door for legalization of sports betting. In a decision which many had been monitoring closely, the court ruled 6-3 against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), a 1992 law which prohibited state-authorized sports gambling with a few exceptions. The only state which an individual could place a bet on the results of a game, fight or event was Nevada.
As a result of the reversal, states will now have the opportunity to choose whether or not to allow legal sports betting. New Jersey is expected to become the first. Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Mississippi, and West Virginia are other states which many believe will also give the approval to allow legalized gaming activity.
“We think this is exciting and long overdue news,” said Brian Musburger, CEO of VSiN, the Vegas Stats and Information Network. “People have been betting on sports in New Jersey and across the country for a very long time – sports fans everywhere enjoy a little skin in the game. In case NJ is wondering, Vegas has set the season win total for the Giants at 6.5, the Jets at 6 and the Eagles at 10. Have at em…”
The NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball had been involved in a nearly six year legal battle with the state of New Jersey, first suing former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in August 2012. Throughout the process they had won most of their arguments, but that momentum shifted last June, when the Supreme Court took on the case. Both sides presented their case on December 4th, and five months later the justices revealed their decision.
“Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own,” the court announced. “Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PAPSA is not.”
Upon learning of the decision, Christie tweeted “it’s a great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions.” New Jersey’s current governor, Phil Murphy was also pleased with the ruling and said he looks forward to working with the legislature to enact a law authorizing and regulating sports betting in the very near future.
The leagues were of course not pleased with the decision. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said “We remain in favor of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it, but we will remain active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures. Regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority.”
MLB also issued a statement, adding “Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games. We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”
For close to 26 years, Nevada has been the only state allowed to offer a wide array of sports betting options. In 2017, a record $4.8 billion was wagered at Nevada sportsbooks. Legalized sports betting is already in place in Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, and many others. The United States becomes the latest country to open the door to profiting off of legal sports gaming.
According to The American Gaming Association, Americans illegally wager close to $150 billion on sports each year. For the immediate future, most bets will be placed at local establishments, but mobile sports betting is expected to be a huge part of the future. Once that’s introduced as an option, it’s a practical lock that the amount of money invested in sports betting will reach record highs. That’s one bet worth placing.