It’s official – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (otherwise known as PASPA) is unconstitutional. For the past quarter century, Americans in all but one state have been banned from betting on sports, thanks to PASPA. However, the US Supreme Court overturned that on Monday, which could mean we are about to see sanctioned sports betting offered in many other states in the US.
PASPA wasn’t responsible for making sports betting illegal, but it became illegal to regulate it. States could not tax the betting either. Despite this, one estimate reckons billions of dollars a year are wagered on sports. A full 97% of those billions were illegally wagered. This shows where the loopholes exist, and why overturning this law might see a sea change in how sports betting is handled in future.
Following the ruling, individual states will have the power to decide whether sports betting will be made legal for those who live there. No doubt some will decide to keep the status quo, but New Jersey is not deemed to be one of them. This state has been keen to bring in legal sports betting for a long time and will undoubtedly be one of the first to do so now the law is on its side.
Indeed, some states have already moved to pass bills to allow sports betting, putting them in prime position to do so now the law has been overturned. Once the decision is rubber-stamped, we could see New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Mississippi getting underway very quickly. Other states look set to follow once the sports betting bills are completed, including New York and California. Those states waiting to see what happens before considering whether to allow sports betting are likely to bring up the rear. It is hard to imagine there will be that many states deciding not to allow it in the coming years. Watch this space as the situation develops.