Sports gambling became illegal in the US in 1992 after the Federal Government enacted the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) that banned any gambling activity on the outcome of a sporting event. The law barred all US States from permitting sports betting, with Nevada being the only exception. This means that for the past 26 years, US punters could not enjoy regulated sports betting across the country, and you had to travel to Nevada or cross the border to look for some gambling action. However, things are now taking a better turn after the US Supreme Court overturned this rule early this year.
The big announcement came on May 14, 2018 when the Supreme Court uplifted the federal ban on regulated sports betting across the country. The verdict allowed other US States to permit gambling and regulate wagering within their boundaries, which is good news for punters since they will now access a safe and controlled sports wagering market.
The various State governments of the US also stand to benefit from the ruling with lucrative tax expected to accompany legalized gambling. According to the former Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, the American population already spends more than $150 billion each year on illegal sports betting hence it would be better if the activity was legalized to allow State governments to levy taxes on controlled sports gaming.
A new era for sports bettors
The historical ruling ushered a new era for the sports betting market in the US. There was an increased demand in gaming stocks immediately after the announcement and most of the big gaming software and sportsbook like bet365 providers closed the day with unusually high gains. Most racing facilities and casino shares also rose to a record high, and these companies are becoming even more valuable by the day. As this trend continues, more global companies are hoping to capitalize on this opportunity, and American punters can now look forward to gambling on a range of sports from all the major leagues of the world. If the forecast by betting analysts is anything to go by, the US is expected to be the World’s biggest sports gambling market by 2023.
More states to join the bandwagon
In the past, one could only place a single bet on the outcome of a sport in the State of Nevada, and to some extent, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware. However, gamblers can expect to access sports gaming in a majority of other states within the next two years. As at now, there are 8 states where you can find fully operational and authorized sportsbook and they include Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. The State of Arkansas may also join this bandwagon soon after a recent vote by its residents to approve a constitutional amendment that will expand permitted gaming offering in the state to include sports wagering.
Several states have already taken the initial steps to draft policies that will help them regulate gambling within their precincts. They include Kentucky which intends to permit sports wagering on both collegiate and professional games for persons aged 18 and above, and the state seeks to establish a gaming commission to oversee the betting activities. Tennessee also plans to authorize gambling on sports outcomes both online and in casinos, but you have to be 21 years or older. Other states preparing to allow sports gaming include Michigan, Indiana, Oregon, Virginia, Ohio, California, Montana, Massachusetts, as well as the Capital, Washington D.C.
The future of online sports betting in the US
The US sports gambling market is set to experience a surge in growth in the coming year with more states rushing to enact laws that will allow authorized facilities within their borders to take sports bets. As this type of wagering becomes legal, more casinos in the United States will expand their offerings to incorporate online sports betting. Many international gambling companies are also likely to open subsidiaries in the US and this move will bring diversity to the American gambling scene.
Besides the regular sports like soccer, American Football, ice hockey, basket ball, baseball, and tennis, punters can also look forward to placing bets on electronic sports games from popular leagues like Overwatch, League of Legends (LOL), and CounterStrike Global Offensive (CSGO). The leagues already draw millions of viewers from across the country, and if the number of fans is anything to go by, eSports betting may be the next big thing if a majority of States legalize it.
However, fans of virtual sports betting may have to wait a little longer before they can enjoy regulated wagering because Nevada and New Jersey are the only two states that permit this type of gambling at the moment.
Need for more legislation
The overruling of PAPSA was a big step towards realizing legal gambling in the States and the swift action by various state governments to permit authorized sports wagering shows that this move was long overdue. However, there is need for more comprehensive and refined gambling acts within the different US States. Most of the current laws lack provisions for mobile sports gaming, virtual sports wagers, and in game currencies such as cryptocurrencies. If enacted, these laws will protect gamblers from possible exploitation by illegal providers in the black market, and they will also encourage more gambling platforms and sportsbook operators to invest in the US market.