Sports betting is in the United States is about to go through a major changeover thanks to a Monday U.S Supreme Court decision that has effectively made it possible for widespread regulation of the activity in various states.
The long-awaited Supreme Court ruling was made in favor of the New Jersey, which had filed a petition against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 that made sports betting illegal in all states save for Nevada and a handful of Parlay-based state lotteries. The ruling has paved way for the state-by-state expansion of sports regulations – this is similar to the what online poker in the United States has been handled for the past few years in the wake of 2011’s Black Friday.
New Jersey had initially lost the case but the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in appeal and the oral arguments commenced officially in December 2017. From the onset of the appeal case, the observations of industry experts favored New Jersey, but the sports leagues and the NCAA argued in opposition.
Eventually, after months of deliberations and wild speculation about the repeal of PASPA, New Jersey triumphed. Of the Supreme Court’s nine justice’s, six of them ruled in favor of New Jersey – only two dissented while the remaining one offered partial agreements with both the majority and the dissent. PASPA was repealed on grounds that it violated state rights.
“It is as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in a summary of the majority opinion. “A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine.”
“The legalization of sports gambling is an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” he continued. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own.”
Poker players have always been known to place sports wagers every once in a while and they certainly have welcomed the news of legalized sports betting. Many states have been eyeing sports betting legalization as a potential avenue for expanded online poker regulation. Pennsylvania happens to be one of these states – when it became the fourth state to regulate online poker, the Keystone state also included sports betting provisions in the bill. These provisions were an indication of the state’s hopes that the both expanded online poker and sports betting could expand hand-in-hand.
“Any state considering legalizing sports betting, particularly online or mobile sports betting, should also consider legalizing online gambling at the same time,” reads a report by an industry expert. “Online gambling and sports betting would fall under the purview of the same regulatory body. Online sports betting and online poker/casino would require largely overlapping regulations, including identity verification and geolocation.”