In all American states but Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana, organized gambling on sports is an illegal activity. However, on Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over the sports-betting ban in New Jersey, which could dramatically reshape the landscape of American sports betting in the future.
Recently, nineteen other states, including California, have signed onto a court filing that challenges the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) on the grounds that the federal ban infringes on the rights, according to USA Today. Additionally, The National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislators have filed briefs supporting New Jersey. Politicians and like-minded individuals who are in favor of the legalization of sports gambling have pushed as hard as anyone to legalize sports gambling in the United States, aiming to dismantle PASPA (Chicago Tribune). The nine justices hearing the arguments are expected to issue a ruling by 2018 in the spring. Even if the ruling falls in favor of PASPA, it is likely that an appeal will be filed by support groups in favor of turning the current rules on sports gambling, as reported by USA Today.
There is around $150 billion gambled illegally on sports in America, according to the American Gaming Association, which shows the strong interest already in place. In Nevada, where sports gambling is legal, the books fielded around $4.5 billion in sports wagers just last year.
The hope for those who want to legalize sports gambling is to crack down on illegal and unregulated online gaming and replace it with a safe option which includes protection against money laundering and fraud. Additionally, people hope to generate more revenue in a field that is so popular in America and already generates a great amount of attention. With a large audience, along with the potential to draw in more people with the pending legalization of gambling, the idea of legalizing an already billion dollar industry is enticing to many people.
Despite support for legalized sports gambling from the NBA and the MLB, the lawyers representing the MLB and NBA along with other leagues will argue in favor of PASPA during the Supreme Court hearings, possibly hoping to have changes on sports gambling coming from a federal level rather than states coming up with their own regulations and restrictions.
The New Jersey voters have endorsed sports gambling for more than six years, and hope the hearing this upcoming Monday will change the booming, illegal gambling industry into a legal one for sports fans to take part in.