The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), also known as the Bradley Act, was signed into law by President Bush in 1992. The bill prevented states from offering legal sports betting, with a few exceptions.
On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down PASPA as unconstitutional after a long battle between New Jersey and the major professional sports leagues in the case of Murphy vs. NCAA. . “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own,” the court wrote in its opinion. “Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution.”
The landmark decision upheld the 2014 New Jersey state law that permitted casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting within state lines. It also paved the way for every other U.S. state to do the same. In the shadow of this court decision several states across the nation now have legalized sports betting industries with more joining the fray with pushes for state legalizing legislation.
Who’s Got It
The current U.S. states with legalized sports gambling systems in places are; Arkansas, Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Illinois, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, Iowa, Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee,Washington D.C., and West Virginia. Colorado and Michigan became the most recent states to legalize sports betting on Nov. 6 and Dec. 11, 2019, respectively. These states with legalization can be broken down into 3 categories; recently legal; no betting yet (7), physical sportsbooks + mobile (9), and only physical sportsbooks (4).
Who May Have It
Several more states look particularly close to having legal sports betting, as Florida, Maine, and North Carolina have put bills on file in the past few months that will likely legalize the practice in the coming months. Kentucky has entered the field with the news that a constitutional amendment is not required to push a bill through the state legislature.
It was thought that Kentucky would need a constitutional amendment to be able to allow sports betting within the state, but attorney Daniel Wallach told the legislature on Dec. 16 that there was nothing in the state’s constitution that prohibits sports gambling since it’s a game of skill. Wallach found a discussion from 1890 that said the state’s constitution only banned games of luck, not games of skill such as sports betting.
Two state legislatures introduced Bill ACA 16 in California, which would amend the Constitution to allow for the regulation of sports betting in 2020. The sports gambling situation in Texas isn’t as promising though, as a bill introduced on Feb. 1, 2019, which would authorize mobile and online sports wagering, has been put on hold by the state GOP platform.