Sports betting has been off limits for the majority of US states’ residents for ages. A bill meant to protect the integrity of professional and college sports called the “Professional and Amateur Sports Protection” (PASPA), effectively outlawed it in 1992, with just a few carveouts for jai alai, parimutuel horse and dog racing, the sports lotteries of Oregon, Delaware, and Montana, as well as the licensed sports pools in Nevada. Along with the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act” (UIGEA) of 2006, the US has pushed sports betting and online gambling out of the country, leaving nothing but state lotteries and land-based casinos for the US public with a taste for betting on sports and gambling online. Things might change soon, though, as many states look at online casinos, poker rooms, and sports betting as a whole as a means to round up their yearly tax incomes.
Sports betting is illegal in the majority of US states today. Online casino and poker games are also in a legal gray zone – the residents of most US states have no way of transferring money to and from online casinos and poker rooms thanks to the UIGEA, with the exception of New Jersey (where online casinos and poker rooms are legal), Delaware, and Nevada (where online poker is legal and regulated). This means that the vast majority of US citizens are cut off from international operators like the Vegas Palms and have no local alternatives either. The UIGEA prompted the majority of international operators to exclude US-based players, so there is no way for US citizens to play exciting new slot games at Vegas Palms or any other similar gaming venue.
At the same time, many US residents are playing online casino games at offshore operators brave enough to accept US-based players, and estimates speak of a massive, multi-billion dollar illegal sports betting business within the country.
Bringing it into the light?
Not long ago, New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone forwarded a legal initiative that would repeal the PASPA. The context of this initiative is quite interesting – New Jersey prepares to unilaterally legalize sports betting, both online and in real life. At the same time, the Connecticut legislature passed a bill that would legalize sports betting within the state’s borders. The state is not looking to repeal the PASPA but builds upon the momentum of the New Jersey and a previous West Virginia bill, considering the moment to be the right one to try to push forward in this matter. Other states, like Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, are also working on similar bills.
Legal sports betting would not only be beneficial for the states’ budgets but would also boost the interest in – and the revenues of – the NFL, a recent study has shown. The NFL is currently the only major sports league that keeps its anti-sports betting position firm.