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Legalized Sports Gambling soon Nationwide

Mike about Money | Legalized Sports Gambling

​The headline read, "Supreme Court lets states legalize sports gambling." This is a major ruling that will impact the personal finances of millions of Americans. Your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers will be at risk.

According to CNN reporters, Ariane de Vogue and Maegan Vazquez, the 6-3 ruling is a victory for New Jersey and other states who have considered allowing sports gambling as a way to encourage tourism and tax revenue. The NCAA, NFL and NBA had backed the federal prohibition.

The court said the federal law violated constitutional principles limiting the federal government from controlling state policy, unconstitutionally forcing states to prohibit sports betting under their own laws.

"The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the 6-3 opinion. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own."

USA Today reported that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of New Jersey effectively killed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the federal law that essentially limited sports betting to one state for the last 25 years.

PASPA was declared unconstitutional in the 6-3 decision, meaning it will be up to states – including New Jersey, which has sought to establish sports gambling for years – to decide whether to allow its residents to bet on sports.

NCAA's chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement that while the organization is still reviewing how court's decision affects college sports, it will "will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court."

Major League Baseball released a statement saying the decision will have "profound effects" on the sport.

"Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games," MLB's statement continued. "We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal."

West Virginia and 17 other states, and the governors of three more, sided with New Jersey in the case. They said in court briefs that if the high court sided with the sporting leagues, "Congress could compel the entire machinery of state government -- legislatures, executives and courts -- to maintain and enforce repealed state laws at the behest of the federal government."

How soon could states offer sanctioned sports betting? A.J. Perez, USA TODAY Sports reports states now can establish their own regulated sports betting. Many are expected to move quickly to establish sports betting as a means to increase their respective coffers. West Virginia Lottery general counsel Danielle Boyd told Legal Sports Report that the state – which already passed a law to authorize sports betting – could have sports betting very soon.

"That's the news every one of these states was waiting for," sports and gambling law attorney Daniel Wallach told USA TODAY Sports. The ruling allows the states to legislate immediately and for all such laws to become effective immediately."  

West Virginia is among 17 states that has passed or have bills making their way through state legislatures to legalize sports betting. New Jersey and Mississippi are two other states Wallach said he sees moving the quickest to allow betting. 

Here is a state by state breakdown from ESPN with updates on sports betting status being legalized.


In July 2017, Assembly Member Adam Gray introduced a constitutional amendment that would allow the state "to permit sports wagering only if a change in federal law occurs." The proposed amendment specifically refers to PASPA's federal sports betting ban being amended or repealed. "All other gaming activities in California are subject to regulations that ensure the safety of consumers," said Gray in a press release. "Sports wagering should be treated no differently."


In July 2017, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill that will allow the state to move quickly if the federal sports betting ban is overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by Congress. The new Connecticut law allows state officials "to regulate wagering on sporting events to the extent permitted by state and federal law." The law designates the Department of Consumer Protection to oversee any new sports betting.


In January 2018, a Senate bill called the "Sports Betting Consumer Protection Act" was introduced. The draft bill could "authorize sports betting or electronic sports betting by an electronic sports betting patron or sports betting facility patron." Also, in January 2018, Rep. Lou Lang submitted a "shell" bill in Illinois. The work-in-progress bill intends to legalize sports betting in the state and would potentially be fleshed out later via the legislative process.


One version of a January 2018 bill introduced in Indiana would allocate a 1 percent "integrity fee" to specific sports leagues based on handle. The bill also would require a 9.25 percent tax on sports betting-related revenue. Bill sponsor Alan Morrison -- a member of the Indiana House -- said the bill resulted after some input from the NBA and MLB. A different sports betting bill was introduced on the Senate side.


A bill proposed in January 2018 would allow casinos and racetracks licensed in Iowa to offer sports betting on-site and possibly online. A February 2018 amendment to the proposed bill included language more favorable to certain sports leagues lobbying in the state.


A proposed law "relating to sports gambling" was introduced January 2018. The bill would expand the purview of the Kansas lottery to sports betting involving "one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate, or are intended to participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games."


In 2017, a sports betting bill was filed in the Kentucky legislature with regulatory authority granted to the horse racing commission. The bill would take effect only if the partial federal sports betting ban in PASPA was deemed to allow such state-level bills.


A new House bill "authorizes additional games and sports betting at eligible live horse racing facilities." The new legislation introduced in March 2018 is narrowly tailored and would only allow sports betting at the small number of land-based “racinos” already operating in the state.


Maryland House Bill No. 989 was introduced on Feb. 9 and calls for the establishment of a task force to "study the implementation of sports gaming in the state." The draft legislation includes the allocation of a "sports gaming license" and the ability to accept wagers on sporting events if the bettor is at least 21 years of age. The proposed Maryland legislation would only come into effect if federal law allowed it.


In 2017, legislation was introduced to amend the state's current gaming control law. Michigan's proposed bill would allow any holder of a casino license to "accept wagers on sporting events." The state's gaming board would be required to "promulgate rules to regulate the conduct of sports betting under this act."


According to Mississippi State Rep. Scott DeLano (R-Biloxi), language in a fantasy sports bill passed in the first half of 2017 would allow the state to offer legal sports betting if the federal ban is lifted.


In January 2018, Rep. Bart Korman introduced a new bill that would allow already-licensed riverboat casinos and daily fantasy companies to expand their offering to also include traditional sports betting.

New Jersey

After the state won its Supreme Court case, the 2014 New Jersey law that 'partially repeals" sports betting prohibitions for licensed casinos, licensed racetracks and former racetracks is now in place. Some form of sports betting will likely take place in New Jersey within days or weeks. In addition to the legislation passed in 2014 that was part of the long-running court case, a new bill was introduced in early May that would establish a more formal regulatory framework for sports betting in the state. Armed with its Supreme Court win, New Jersey can pursue a number of regulatory options for sports betting moving forward.

New York

On March 7, 2018, Sen. John J. Bonacic introduced comprehensive legislation that would address both in-person and mobile sports betting in New York. The 14-page bill -- S7900 -- includes detailed provisions about tax rates, consumer protection, bettor eligibility and restrictions on certain types of sports wagers. The bill would also establish a "sport betting integrity fund" and mechanisms for the payment of an integrity fee to sports leagues. The New York State Senate held an informational hearing on sports betting in January 2018.


Pending legislation would allow the Oklahoma governor to expand the tribal-state compact and include "sports pools." The expansion would consist of "wagering on the outcome of one or more competitive games in which athletes participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games where all bets are placed in a common pool or pot from which all player winnings, prizes and direct costs are paid." The proposed bill would only take effect if permitted by federal law.


In October 2017, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a new sports betting bill as part of a broad legislation push that included online poker and DFS. "My hope is that Pennsylvania will be positioned to offer sports betting sometime in 2018," said Rep. Rob Matzie -- the author of the new law -- after it was enacted. The new Pennsylvania law would only take effect if PASPA is struck down by the Supreme Court or Congress opts to repeal the federal law.

Rhode Island

In January 2018, five lawmakers in Rhode Island introduced draft legislation that would allow the "state to conduct sports wagering hosted by Twin River and the Tiverton gaming facility." The bill is narrow in scope, as it would permit sports betting in only two facilities. Rhode Island's lottery division would oversee any sports wagering allowed under the proposed law.

South Carolina

House Bill No. 3102 would amend South Carolina's Constitution to allow "sports betting on professional sports." Any betting would be "strictly" regulated and limited to "specified" areas. According to a court document from the now-resolved New York daily fantasy litigation involving DraftKings and FanDuel, South Carolina's current definition of gambling "includes betting money on the outcome of any 'game,' regardless of the skill involved in the game."

West Virginia

In March 2018, the West Virginia legislature passed a new sports betting bill, but it is only activated if the Supreme Court or Congress removes the federal ban contained in PASPA. The West Virginia Lottery Commission would oversee regulating under the new law. The law includes a provision to allow for both in-person and online sports wagering within the state.

No matter how it shakes out, American professional sports and how fans consume and interact with them are about to change. And the NBA and MLB have been working tirelessly to construct a way to profit from it.