The U.S. Celebrates Sports Betting Anniversary

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks about the American Rescue Plan as US First Lady Jill Biden listens at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP)

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, aka PASPA, was overturned in May of 2018 paving the way for legalized sports betting in the United States, and the states that have allowed it have seen a betting bonanza!

Landmark Ruling

New Jersey led the charge in getting PASPA overturned and took its case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

After months of litigating, the justices ruled 7-2 that parts of PASPA were unconstitutional and ruled 6-3 that the entire law was unconstitutional.

This effectively eliminated the federal law banning sports betting throughout the nation, except in a few jurisdictions like Las Vegas, and allowed states the right to decide whether or not to permit sports betting within their boundaries.

New Jersey Governor’s Led the Charge

Then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the initial mover and shaker of the lawsuit and stepped down before he could see its successful conclusion.

Christie tweeted after the ruling, “A great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions. New Jersey citizens wanted sports gambling and the federal Gov’t had no right to tell them no.

The Supreme Court agrees with us today. I am proud to have fought for the rights of the people of NJ.”

Phil Murphy, the incumbent New Jersey governor, carried the torch after Christie stepped aside and signed the bill into law only a month after the decision was rendered.

“Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy.

“I’m thrilled to sign Assembly Bill 4111 because it means that our casinos in Atlantic City and our racetracks throughout our state can attract new business and new fans, boosting their own long-term financial prospects. This is the right move for New Jersey and it will strengthen our economy.”

Sports Betting Craze

The repeal of PASPA was not only good news for New Jersey, whose casinos were previously not allowed to take sports bets which proved to be a competitive disadvantage against its competitors in Las Vegas, but many other states have seen a lucrative new tax stream flowing into its coffers because of it.

As of this writing, 35 states as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized sports betting, five of which have yet to launch, and the economic impact has been staggering.

States Late to Wagering Party

Since 2018, over $125 billion has been wagered and $1.3 billion has been collected by state and municipal governments.

But that figure is deceiving because so many states were late to the party and wary about backing sports betting in their jurisdictions.

But money talks and once it did, the state legislators in those states began to understand the passion Americans have for betting on sports.

Therefore, it can be argued that had all of these states started at the same time, the $124.4 billion betting handle would be much higher.

Online Betting Is Popular

As for how Americans are betting on sports, the metrics tell us as many as 95 percent of the wagers are placed online which has caused many states that initially demanded customers sign up for accounts in person, to eliminate that requirement.

Karol Corcoran, general manager of FanDuel’s online sportsbook, said, “When PASPA was repealed, I don’t think any of us would have expected how big the (industry) would be just four short years later.”

DraftKings president and co-founder Matt Kalish said: “I got into this industry because I was always the kind of kid who liked to predict things, to compete with my friends and make predictions.

For people that like to do that, sports betting has become far and away from the No. 1 thing.” And for Americans who wanted a way to make a bet without breaking the law, it’s been a long time coming.

But the wait still continues for those in the remaining states that have yet to legalize sports betting. The question is, what are they waiting for?