The outlook for sports betting in the United States

Bishop Woosley of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery explains the PASPA overturn and how this ruling of the Supreme Court is set to radically alter the sports betting landscape across the United States.

Bishop Woosley, Director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery


Prior to the Supreme Court of the United States ruling from May this year in the case Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 16-476 which stroke down the federal ban on betting on professional and collegiate sports (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 or the so-called PASPA), only very few exemptions existed: licensed sports pools in Nevada and state sports lotteries in Montana, Oregon and Delaware. All the other sports gambling during that time period was illegal, as all the states failed to make use of a one-year window of opportunity foreseen by the Congress to pass laws which would allow sports wagering (for those states which operated licensed casino gambling for the previous ten-year period).

In particular, what has been struck down is a provision of PASPA which mandates that states may not “sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law or compact” sports betting. This left the states free to determine on their own whether they believe gambling on sports should be legal within their borders or not.

Looking back, this outcome was the result of a long-running attempt by New Jersey to legalise sports betting, following the 2011 (non-binding) referendum where New Jersey voters overwhelmingly supported the creation of a state constitutional amendment that would permit sports gambling.

The post-PASPA prospects

In fact, already prior to the ruling, several states had made their moves to enact legislation which would permit sports betting in the event PASPA was overturned. With the PASPA ‘roadblock’ now effectively out of the way, it is likely that we will witness a proliferation of operators moving quickly to establish sports betting and claim ‘their’ share of the new market.

A considerable number of states are now gearing up for the 2019 legislative sessions by pre-filing bills or initiating studies, but the exact timeline is still very much uncertain, as all will depend on how quickly a given state is ready to push through legislation of their own.

Talking of his native Arkansas, Woosley announced the ballot initiative for November election 2018 which would legalize sports betting in four casinos.

GamblingCompliance estimates that within the next five to seven years, legal, regulated sports betting in the US could spread to between 25 and 37 states and generate between $2.0bn and $5.9bn in annual gaming revenue.

The presentation was given at the 2018 EL Legal and Regulatory Seminar.

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Les perspectives concernant les paris sportifs aux États-Unis

Avant la décision de la Cour suprême des États-Unis de mai dernier, qui a mis fin à l’interdiction fédérale sur les paris sur les sports professionnels et universitaires (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, PASPA), il n’existait que très peu d’exemptions : des lotos sportifs sous licence au Nevada et des loteries d’État dans le Montana, l’Oregon et le Delaware. Tous les autres paris sportifs étaient illégaux durant cette période, car aucun État n’avait fait usage du créneau d’un an prévu par le Congrès pour adopter des lois autorisant les paris sportifs. Les États sont désormais libres de décider par eux-mêmes s’ils pensent que les paris sportifs doivent ou non être légaux à l’intérieur de leurs frontières. De fait, plusieurs États avaient déjà décidé, avant cette décision, d’adopter des lois autorisant les paris sportifs dans l’éventualité où la PASPA serait abrogée, et un certain nombre d’États se préparent maintenant aux sessions législatives de 2019 en déposant des projets de loi ou en lançant des études. Nous assisterons probablement à une prolifération d’opérateurs s’organisant rapidement pour mettre en place des lotos sportifs et revendiquer « leur » part du nouveau marché, mais le calendrier exact reste encore incertain, car tout dépendra de la rapidité avec laquelle un État donné sera prêt à faire adopter sa propre législation.


Perspectivas para las apuestas deportivas en los Estados Unidos

Antes del fallo del Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos realizado en mayo de este año con el que se eliminó la prohibición federal sobre las apuestas relativas a deportes profesionales y universitarios (la llamada PASPA), solo existía una cantidad muy limitada de excepciones: los consorcios autorizados de apuestas deportivas en Nevada y las apuestas deportivas estatales de Montana, Oregón y Delaware. Cualquier otra actividad relacionada con apuestas deportivas durante ese periodo era estrictamente ilegal, debido a que los estados no aprovecharon un periodo de oportunidad de un año previsto por el Congreso para promulgar leyes que permitiesen la realización de apuestas deportivas. Los estados pueden ahora determinar por sí mismos si creen que las apuestas deportivas deben ser legales dentro de sus fronteras o no. De hecho, antes de dicho fallo, varios estados habían dado pasos para aprobar leyes que permitiesen las apuestas deportivas en caso de que la PASPA fuese revocada y diversos estados están en estos momentos preparándose para las sesiones legislativas de 2019 presentando de manera preliminar proyectos de ley o iniciando estudios. Es probable que presenciemos una proliferación de operadores que pasen rápidamente a establecer apuestas deportivas, reclamando “su” cuota del nuevo mercado, pero el cronograma exacto sigue siendo incierto, ya que todo dependerá de lo rápidamente que un estado determinado esté listo para impulsar legislación propia.


Die Zukunft der Sportwetten in den USA

Vor dem Urteil des Obersten Gerichtshofes der USA im Mai dieses Jahres, das ein Verbot von Wetten im Profi- und College-Sport aufhob (den „PASPA“), bestanden nur wenige Ausnahmen: Sport-Pools in Nevada mit einer entsprechenden Lizenz und staatliche Sportlotterien in Montana, Oregon und Delaware. Sämtliche anderen Sportwetten waren bis dato verboten, da die anderen Staaten das einjährige Zeitfenster, das der amerikanische Kongress zur Verabschiedung von Gesetzen zur Legalisierung von Sportwetten eingeräumt hatte, verstreichen ließen. Nach dem Urteil des Obersten Gerichtshofes steht es den Bundesstaaten frei, Sportwetten in ihrem Territorium zu legalisieren. Schon vor dem Urteil hatten verschiedene Staaten Gesetze vorbereitet, die im Fall der Aufhebung des PASPA Sportwetten legal machen würden. Einige Staaten bereiten sich jetzt auf die Legislatur 2019 vor, indem sie Gesetzvorschläge einreichen oder Studien in Auftrag geben. In aller Wahrscheinlichkeit wird die Anzahl von Wettanbietern rasch zunehmen, die Sportwetten vertreiben und sich ihren Anteil am neuen Markt sichern wollen. Derzeit ist der zeitliche Ablauf dieser Entwicklung noch unklar, da nicht absehbar ist, bis wann die einzelnen Staaten die entsprechenden Gesetze verabschieden.

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