After 25+ years of states not being allowed to host regulated sports betting options, the federal ban on sports gambling has been lifted. The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey in their sports betting case. As a result, PASPA was repealed and the 46 states it enforced can now host legal brick-and-mortar betting options.
Sports betting advocates have a lot to celebrate with this decision. The domestic sports betting market has been lacking compared to other countries like the United Kingdom and PASPA was entirely to blame. Nevada had a monopoly on the sports gambling industry and were practically untouchable. Many Americans resorted to licensed offshore sportsbooks because they presented the only viable legal option to bet on their favorite teams. Soccer fans in particular flocked to offshore betting sites because since it is not the most popular sport in the country, betting lines are hard to come by. Now, soccer bettors can wager in their own state should that state choose to vote in sports betting.
To make things clear, SCOTUS helped cause PASPA to be repealed, but this decision does not mean you can walk into a sportsbook tomorrow and start betting. SCOTUS’ ruling deemed PASPA unconstitutional. They stated that states should have the right to vote in sports gambling if they want it. This is similar to the Department of Justice’s 2011 ruling with the Federal Wire Act that gave states the right to vote in legal online casinos and poker. Some states have already passed sports betting legislation and will be on their way to hosting wagering options within months. Other states still have to work things out on the legislative level.
Because of this, more states will likely have to do business with the major sports leagues. Although the leagues were the ‘bad guys’ of this whole debacle, they now will want a piece of the betting action. The NBA and MLB have already begun lobbying. The MLS has stated before they support sports gambling, so it is possible they too will want to obtain some portion of state revenue—especially in states where they have franchises.
SCOTUS acknowledged that Congress may decide to pass federal regulations on sports gambling. If this happens, sports gambling will become uniform from state to state. If this doesn’t happen, each state will likely have a slightly different framework in place for legal betting. Either way, US residents will have plenty of access to legal sports gambling.
Keep in mind that this decision only applies to land-based betting. The Federal Wire Act still prohibits US based online sportsbooks from being operational. This law be also repealed in the wake of the PASPA decision, but nothing has happened yet. The fact that the US now has brick-and-mortar betting is still a significant victory though. For soccer fans, expect to soon have numerous venues available where you can walk in and place a wager on your favorite domestic or international teams.