In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court has stuck down the “Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act” a law barring sports betting in all US states other than Nevada.
This opens the doors for any US State to make sports betting legal on their own terms. New Jersey is stepping up first to get programs going but analysts expect Delaware, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to quickly follow.
A great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions. New Jersey citizens wanted sports gambling and the federal Gov't had no right to tell them no. The Supreme Court agrees with us today. I am proud to have fought for the rights of the people of NJ.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) May 14, 2018
How big of an impact could this have on states who put sports betting programs in place? We won’t know until we see reports but take into consideration that Nevada Sportsbooks had $4.8 Billion dollars of wagers in 2017 alone. The American Gaming Association estimates that $150 Billion in illegal bets are made every year in the US. Big numbers.
Geoff Freeman, CEO of The American Gaming Association sees amazing opportunities ahead for the new market:
“Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting,” – “Through smart, efficient regulation this new market will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the games we love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others.”
Sporting bodies such as the NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA and NBA were pushing against the legalization of betting in fear that it risks the integrity of the games. All of these organizations actively participated in legally backing up the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act but now that it’s overturned, they’re making statements showing concern, but support.
“The NFL’s long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our game remains absolute. Congress has long-recognized the potential harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events. Given that history, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting. We also will work closely with our clubs to ensure that any state efforts that move forward in the meantime protect our fans and the integrity of our game.”
What does this mean for Esports? Much the same. As a large but still fledgling industry, legal betting on Esports will power billions of dollars in new opportunities around the sport and a race has now begun to see who can take the lion’s share of the pie.
It’s going to be an interesting ride!