US Ban On Sports Betting Overturned

Tia Winter | 17 May 2018

In a move that surprised not only Americans, but also the rest of the betting and gambling world too, the US Supreme Court has thrown out a 1992 ban on sports betting across the country. The doors have now been opened for all States to choose for themselves as to whether they will permit sports betting or not, and how they should regulate it.

In a landmark judgment delivered this week, six Supreme Court Justices voted in favour of overturning the federal ban. Three Justices failed to convince their counterparts that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act should not be put out to pastor.

In written judgment this week Justice Samuel Alito said it was not up to the judiciary to make the important policy choice regarding sports gambling. This was the job of Congress. Congress could regulate sports gambling but if it did not then each state was free to decide on its own terms.

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A Win for New Jersey

The state of New Jersey has been trying for years to get the courts to lift the ban on sports betting. In its judgment, the court upheld the legality of a 2014 state law, which allowed for sports betting at New Jersey casinos and horse racetracks. In judgment, it discarded the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

New Jersey wanted the industry legalised to shelve illegal gambling amounting to billions of dollars.

New Jersey is not alone. Numerous other leading operators and sporting associations joined the fight for a regulated sports betting market. The National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour were amongst its supporters.

Competition for Vegas

The American Gaming Association (AGA) said the ruling was a victory for millions of Americans who wanted to bet. Nevada; which has for 26 years been the only state to fully offer a variety of sports betting options; arguably stands to suffer.

In 2017 about $4.8 billion was legally wagered in Vegas but that pales in comparison to the approximate $150 billion that was illegally bet on sports by Americans.

Ready & Waiting

Leading up to the ruling, gaming operators around the world have been waiting in anticipation. Many have even started to get the ball rolling to compete in an industry that will change the face of sports gaming across the globe.

AGA said 55% of Americans believed it was time to end the ban on sports betting.

The ruling means that states and sovereign tribal nations can game in an open, transparent, and responsible market. The AGA said done wisely and properly regulated consumers would be protected and law enforcement would be in a better position to fight illegal gambling.


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