Supreme Court Closes the Book on the Federal Sports Betting Ban

Image of sports betting in Las Vegas. Photo by

The federal ban on sports betting was struck down 7-2 by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, ruling that regulation on sports betting is unconsitutional, upholding New Jersey’s sports betting law from 2014.

As Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis puts it, a multi-million dollar sports betting industry once living in the shadows will now be brought to light.

States will vote individually once more on whether to allow sports betting, but the removal of the federal ban gives most states the green light.

Much like the push for marijuana legalization in recent years, states want to tap into the profits of a multi-million dollar shadow industry, with the idea that government control would make this industry safer, more profitable, and less of a burden on state and federal court systems.

New Jersey joins Nevada as the second state to allow gambling on sporting events. Since 1992’s Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), sports betting has existed just below the legal level.

This is positive news for pro sports leagues and for your crazy uncle who knows a guy. The NCAA takes another loss this year after attempts to block New Jersey’s betting bill in court.

If you ever watched sports in the company of men older than 30, most sports betting terms are probably familiar to you. ESPN always includes the “line” for each game right under the time it starts.

If you’ve ever watched Sunday Night Football, some of these references may or may not have flown over your head. Ha, over.

For as much as this ban enables a potentially addictive habit, taking the industry away from bookies and into safer hands is a plus for anyone interested in sports betting. This bookie isn’t going to send his hitman after you anymore if you can’t pay your debt, but they may foreclose your house and send you angry letters until you pay up.

Pro sports leagues will, of course, cash in on sports betting, but that all depends on how sports betting is regulated.

Will sports leagues be allowed their own official betting leagues? Will sports betting get tacked onto the existing state lottery systems such that you can bet just like you can buy a scratch ticket?

Will the NCAA come out and oppose this ruling even though they stand to gain millions more in revenue?

I’m not a gambling man, but if I…

Okay, I’ll stop.

Featured Image: Graphic of sports betting lines. (Getty Images)


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