The Future of Sports Betting in the US
This December might bring major changes to the gambling industry of the United States. Early in the month, the Supreme Court is set to hear the “Christie vs. NCAA” case, also known as the “New Jersey sports betting” case, concerning the fact that, according to New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the countrywide ban on sports betting imposed by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) represents too much interference in the internal affairs of individual states. New Jersey seeks to overturn the ban with the explicit goal of legalizing sports betting within its borders. All this in an atmosphere that seems to become increasingly friendly with the idea.
The United States gambling market has changed a lot in the last decade. Now almost all states have lotteries, an increasing number of them have either opened or are planning to open casinos, and some of them have even legalized online poker and real money online casino games to be offered within their borders – the most recent state to do so was Pennsylvania. And the sports leagues’ stance on sports betting also seems to be changing slowly. A few years ago, most major leagues were firmly against it – now they are a bit more open to the question, considering regulation to be a more viable path to take.
DraftKings, one of the two major daily fantasy sports operators in the US, also seems to be open to the idea of legal sports betting in the United States. During this year’s Web Summit, a major international technology conference held in Lisbon, Portugal, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins has hinted (with no commitment and no specifics revealed) that, if the federal ban on sports betting is ever lifted, the company might consider becoming a sports betting operator. Which, considering its great relations with the US’ biggest sports leagues and its popularity with users, would be a great idea for both.
Back in 1992, when PASPA was signed into law, sports betting was considered by many the greatest threat to the integrity of sports. Today, the opinions seem to have changed fundamentally, possibly due to the example of Europe. The EU has a comprehensive legal framework in force that regulates gambling in general, with a special focus on preventing any influence the betting industry may have in the world of sports. The biggest betting businesses have also teamed up to form industry groups with the specific goal of detecting any irregular activity that might indicate intentions of match-fixing or even money laundering. Besides, studies have shown that legal sports betting could not only boost the interest of fans in various sports, meaning more exposure and revenue for both the leagues and the media but could also bring all the extensive illegal betting to light, meaning more tax revenues for the states legalizing it.