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U.S. States Likely to Legalize Online Gambling in 2018

— April 18, 2018

U.S. Sports betting fans could be in for a treat soon as the Supreme Court revisits the PASPA. We look at states likely to legalize online gambling in 2018.

U.S. Regulation of Sports Betting in 2018. The U.S. Supreme Court is to revisit the Federal Sports Betting Ban (PASPA) very soon and because of this, a number of states are considering the regulation of sports betting in 2018. Below, you will find information on the states that are hoping to legalize online gambling and how they plan to regulate and tax gambling revenues.

In Canada, online sports betting is already legal in the province of Ontario and there are a couple smaller provinces that have regulated as well, but a change in the U.S. laws could see Canada take another look at the bill that restricts single-event betting and only allows Canadians to place parlay bets. Limited wagering options will result in 2 to 6 or 3 to 6 outcomes depending on the province. That being said, legal online casinos and sportsbooks for Canada continue to deliver quality casino games and sports betting options, with both platforms offering competitive odds and payouts. Casino games available include slots, blackjack, roulette, and baccarat, while sports fanatics can bet on NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, and other popular European sports leagues.

Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Sports Gambling. Back in November 2017, it was reported that Supreme Court justices would hear arguments in the case over a federal ban on sports betting. If this is repealed, it will open the doors for the states to legalize sports betting and allow them to promote and profit from gambling on major league and college games.

Sports betting is already legal in Nevada, but they are supporting the change and have said that an expansion of state-sponsored gambling would help eliminate illegal offshore gambling and also provide more protection and regulation to U.S. companies and their customers.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and current Gov. Phil Murphy (D) are hoping that the Supreme Court will find the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. New Jersey is arguing that the law interferes with a state’s right to regulate sports betting.

The NCAA and major sports leagues don’t want the ban lifted. They argue that the PASPA adheres to the Constitution and the 10th Amendment. The NCAA is backed by major sports leagues including the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), and the National Hockey League (NHL). They are arguing that the PASPA protects the integrity of the games. The Trump administration is also siding with the sports leagues.

Grandfathered States in the U.S. There are four states that were grandfathered when PASPA was adopted by Congress back in 1992. This is because they already had legal sports betting when the PASPA was passed. These states are Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware. New Jersey was given a year to get a sports wagering opt in but they failed and since then they have been trying to get sports betting into casinos and horse racing tracks to boost their economy. Nevada has backed New Jersey’s case and they want PASPA eliminated. They have stated that the law is out-of-date and that perceptions and attitudes have changed. The law was also adopted before the internet was established. Sports betting is now an acceptable form of entertainment for many people.

Man playing roulette on his smartphone; image by BagoGames, via Flickr, CC By 2.0, no changes.
Man playing roulette on his smartphone; image by BagoGames, via Flickr, CC By 2.0, no changes.

Major Sports Teams Moving to Las Vegas. The arguments to legalize sports betting are also stating the fact that the major leagues look like hypocrites in opposing sports betting on moral grounds because many of them have moved or are moving to Las Vegas, which is all about sports betting. The NHL Golden Knights have played a season in Las Vegas and the NFL approved a move that will take the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas in 2020.

What States Will Legalize Sports Gambling? A report published by U.S. Gambling research consultancy Eilers & Krejcik Gaming has suggested that there could be as many as 18 states that will want to introduce licensed sports betting and more than 30 states may seek to introduce individual sports betting legislation. This would mean the largest simultaneous expansion of regulated gambling in U.S. history.

The America Gaming Association (AGA) has stated that they have gathered a 50-State brief supporting the mandate to eliminate PASPA. State-wide support may not be enough to persuade the Supreme Court Justices though, and the legislation is still backed by the major U.S. pro-leagues including NFL, MLB, and NHL.

The states would prefer self-governance for all gambling, but the NBA’s Chief Commissioner, Adam Silver, and other big names are pushing for legalization of sports betting to be operated at a federal level which will create a unified code for all stakeholders involved.

Will 2018 be a year of hope or just more hype? We have to wait for the final decision on New Jersey vs PASPA to find out.

Legalized Sports Betting and the Impact on Illegal Gambling. The states that want the sports wagering ban lifting have argued that doing this will provide tax revenue and reduce illegal gambling at offshore casinos. It will also help regulate the industry. It has been reported that illegal sports betting in the U.S. has grown to $150 billion every year since the PASPA was passed. By giving states the authority to regulate and legalize sports betting they would also be protecting consumers and creating an estimated 150,000 new jobs. Legalizing it will also generate revenues for the state, too.

Nevada is backing the repeal against the PASPA and says that it will allow them to expand sports book operations into other states.

In the U.S., there are currently 1,000 casinos operating in 40 states and all eyes will be on the Supreme Court’s ruling when it is revealed. Legal experts have said that it is hard to predict what the outcomes will be at this stage. It can go a number of ways. The PASPA could be found unconstitutional and be taken off the books, or it could remain in place. We could also see some parts of the law being reversed, which would mean that the ban would remain in effect except in certain locales or sites. If the PASPA is ruled unconstitutional, any states that want to legalize sports gambling would still have to pass local legislation, so nothing will happen overnight.

Those in favor of removing the PASPA feel that the law is outdated and needs to be removed. They have good arguments, but ultimately it is not down to them. At present, it’s a waiting game with the decision from the Supreme Court expected later this year and more than likely June, 2018.

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