Sports betting in America could soon drastically change if the US Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey’s appeal against the current federal ban. If the high court finds flaws in the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and allows New Jersey to authorize sportsbooks, a new study concludes that major sports betting expansion would follow.
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, a research firm that tracks the gaming industry, says in a recent report that at least 18 states are expected to introduce sports betting legislation this year.
- Rhode Island
- New York
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
Already introduced sports betting bills:
Pennsylvania, in its wide-reaching gambling expansion legislation passed last fall, called for the creation of sports betting regulations should a change come to the federal prohibition. Connecticut has additionally passed its own sports wagering law.
“Assuming a Supreme Court decision or action by Congress permits it, we could see the largest simultaneous expansion of regulated gambling in US history with sports betting,” Eilers & Krejcik Managing Director Chris Grove told the Associated Press.
Odds Favor 11 States
The analysts opine that of those 18 states, 11 seem most likely to actually pass the legislation into law. And in the years to come, Grove predicts that more than 30 states will follow, as many state governments continue to search for new tax revenue.
PASPA currently prohibits sports betting in the US, with four exceptions granted for Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. Those four states had some sort of legalized sports wagering when the law was passed in 1992, and thus were granted a “grandfather” pass.
Nevada and Delaware, the latter which just offers parlay sports betting, are the only two states that currently take advantage of their PASPA immunity.
Overseas Books Watching and Waiting
Observers at the December SCOTUS hearing of New Jersey’s sports betting appeal said the majority of justices seemed to be on the petitioner’s side. But the court’s ruling, which is expected to be handed down sometime before June, doesn’t have overseas books overly worried.
Sports gambling is widespread throughout Europe, with many land-based betting shops, as well as online sportsbooks catering to remote customers. More sports betting jurisdictions in the US will expand the global market for everyone involved, but operators across the pond know that a full-blown American sports betting market is at least a few years away.
“We think there’s an awful long way to go, from where we are today to a legalized framework for sports betting that’s accessible to offshore operators,” Paddy Power CEO Breon Corcoran told the Irish Examiner this week. “We still think sports betting, as we know it in Europe, is a long way away in the US.”
In a note, financial services company Barclays agreed. “If the US market regulates on a state-by-state basis, we think US land-based operators will need to improve the sophistication of their land-based/online sports betting platforms,” Barclays reasoned. “UK-based betting companies are some of the most sophisticated operators globally.”