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Legalized Sports Betting in the U.S. Could Soon Be a Reality

Supreme Court Could Make Major Waves

In 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act banned sports betting everywhere in the U.S. except in the state of Nevada. This led to an increase in illegal yet lucrative sports betting operations in the United States. In fact, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA), roughly $150 billion is wagered on sports annually. Only $4.5 billion of these bets were legally made in Nevada last year.

legalized sports bettingIn the next four months, many sports betting websites and sports betting software companies expect the Supreme Court to decide whether to hear an appeal by Governor Chris Christie and the State of New Jersey. This would allow states to make their own decision on whether or not sports betting would be legal within their borders.

The AGA’s main initiative over the past two year has been to the regulation of sports betting. This week however, they took it one step further. The AGA’s board of director outlined the industry’s approach to sports betting legalization.

This would include amongst other things:

  • Give each states the ability to decided whether to make sports betting and casino wagering legal within their borders
  • Ensure the integrity of sports wagering and sports with state licensing and regulation
  • Make all sports betting transactions and businesses transparent to law enforcement
  • Ensure proper taxation so that state licensed and regulated sportsbooks are compete against illegal offshore operators.

What the court will do is not certain. The debate will mostly be about state vs. federal regulations. Major US pro sports leagues are either against legalizing sports betting or want it to be legalized at a federal level. This is a debate of states’ rights versus intrusive and economically harmful federal overreach. On the other hand, the regulation of gambling in the United States has always been a decision of each state.

Legal Sports Betting could be a reality in the Trump Presidency

Several experts in the sports betting industry believe that legal sports betting will come. Many think it is before the year 2020. The end of Trump’s first term in office could be an end-point.

With the rise of daily fantasy sports and its legalization across the US, an increasing number of States that are interested in legal sports betting. This is due to the added tax revenue. That would drive money for infrastructure and improvements. Passage would drive tourist revenues in States that could make it legal. This added popularity makes it more likely that the Sports Protection Act will either be repealed or replaced.

Then we have President Trump. He has at one time or another owned three casinos in Atlantic City. He has shown in the past he is in favor of legalizing sports betting.

“I’m OK with it because it’s happening anyway,” Trump told Fox Sports in November 2015. “Whether you have it or you don’t have it, you have it.”

For the offshore sportsbook, does this mean that this is the beginning of the end? Will it still be a profitable era for them? Or will this be the beginning of a mass migration of sportsbooks moving their office’s to the United States?

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