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Supreme Court Opens Sports Betting Legalization to States

By Billy Culleton | May 24, 2018


In a 6-3 decision earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in Murphy v. NCAA, allowing states now to either legalize or ban sports betting on their own. While Nevada remains the only state to have legalized sports betting on the books (Delaware, Montana, and Oregon have some forms of legal sports pool but not as extensive), some states are expected to follow New Jersey and pursue legalization as a way to generate additional revenue. The American Gaming Association estimates that legal sports betting could contribute $22.4 billion to U.S. GDP while giving states and localities $3.4 billion in tax revenue.

Currently, there are 20 active sports betting bills in seven states. Mississippi, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all have enacted legislation legalizing sporting betting while five other states have active bills on legalization.

(MSA) Active Sports Betting Legislation in 2018 (5-24-18)In March, West Virginia became the first state in 2018 to enact legislation authorizing sports betting (WV SB 415 ), which was designed to go into effect as soon as the federal ban on sports gaming was overturned. In 2017, Pennsylvania passed and enacted sports betting legislation (PA HB 271) as part of its omnibus gaming expansion bill, while Mississippi passed and enacted a law that struck a portion of its existing sports betting prohibition from the books, opening the door for legal sports betting in the state. Meanwhile, in 2013, New York state passed a constitutional amendment that would allow for sports betting at its commercial casino locations in the event federal law changes.

Since the Court's ruling, stakeholders such as the gaming industry, professional and collegiate sporting leagues, and even the U.S. Senate have been quick to weigh on what policies they would like to see implemented in the states. However, time is running out for most states as legislative sessions are winding down before November elections. A couple states will try to take action on this issue in 2018 (potentially through a special session), but 2019 could be a big year for sports betting in the states.

 

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