Can you legally bet on sports now after the Supreme Court lifts federal ban? Here are some answers.

By Scooby Axson
May 14, 2018

The Supreme Court issued a ruling on Monday saying that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional, leaving individual states to decide if they want to allow gambling.

The ruling effectively overturns the federal ban on sports gambling, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're free to gamble legally as you please. 

So what does this mean for gamblers in states that previously didn't allow it?

Here are some answers:

If I live in New Jersey, when I can start gambling legally?

Expect New Jersey's casinos and racetracks to be up and running with their wagering systems in a matter of weeks, with many more states, potentially as many as 20, following suit.

In short, whether you'll be able to legally gamble depends where you live. Four states—New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and West Virginia—have already passed bills that should allow legalized gambling in the near future. Other states are considering legislation. 

What is PASPA?

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was ruled unconstitutional, which forbid state-authorized sports gambling. When the act was signed into law only Oregon, Delaware, and Montana were exempt and the licensed sports pools in Nevada.

"The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make," the Supreme Court said in their decision. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own."

Are there any other legal obstacles that remain?

The short answer is no. But as states continue to consider legislation on the issue, those potential gambling operators could face a hefty start up fee and as well as taxes on any and all gross receipts. And some states ultimately won't pass measures legalizing gambling. 

What about concerns over point shaving?

Each of the four North American sports leagues and the NCAA have concerns about the possibility of their leagues being involved in throwing games.

The four leagues sent a statement earlier this year acknowledging the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning PASPA, saying they have discussed "the potential impact of legalized gambling on players' privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses."

The NBA and MLB have said they want a 1% percent integrity fee to be paid which would help any costs associated with compliance issues.

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