On Monday, May 14th, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) to be unconstitutional. The momentous decision sent waves across the sports and betting worlds. What does it mean for average US citizens?
What is PASPA?
PASPA is the federal legislation that restricted sports wagering and provided the lone exemption to the state of Nevada. The state of New Jersey challenged the law as unconstitutional and won based upon the states’ ability to make their own decision regarding sports wagering.
So does this mean I can now bet on games?
If you live in Nevada or have an offshore account, yes, you can. In all other instances, the answer is “not yet.”
When can I start wagering on sports if I do not live Nevada?
The answer to this one is “it depends.” There are five states (New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Mississippi) that have already passed legislation to legalize sports wagering. NJ, DE, PA and MS already have a wide array of brick and mortar casinos, which means they can be up and running almost instantly.
In fact, New Jersey casinos started posting jobs at the sportsbook a few months ago in anticipation of this ruling. Delaware already takes parlay bets, so they are also likely to be able to take sports bets quickly. Many experts believe both states will be running by the start of the NFL season at the latest.
What if I do not live in one of those five states?
The legalization of marijuana provides a decent means of comparison to answer that question. Over time, states have begun to legalize the drug, but not in any particular set pattern or order. Political agendas or belief structures of individual state legislatures will impact the timing of any potential legislation to legalize sports betting.
There are other barriers to entry as well for states that do not already have regulation, oversight, or a brick and mortar set up. For example, Texas does not have any casinos or gambling board, so they may be delayed if they decide to allow it.
Depending on the individual state in which you reside, the outlook could range from almost immediate betting opportunities to possibly never being able to bet on sports legally. It appears as though the northeastern blue states are particularly open to sports betting and will be taking wagers shortly. For other parts of the country, the wait could be lengthy.