The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned by the US Supreme Court two years ago today.
On May 14, 2018, the decision gave states the right to enact sports betting laws after the federal ban was repealed in large part due to the special exemption carved out for Nevada in 1992 being found unconstitutional.
Although the coronavirus has put a dent in the launch plans and revenue projections, most industry experts still believe legal US sports gambling has a bright future.
Today, a total of 22 states and Washington DC have legalized sportsbooks in one form or another, whether it be brick-and-mortar locations, Internet-based options, or some combination of the two.
States With Legal Sports Gambling
Statewide Mobile: Colorado, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennslyvania, West Virginia
Restricted Mobile: Iowa, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island
In-Person, No Mobile: Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New York
Launch TBA: North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC
Stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines mean opening physical locations are out of the question. Sportsbooks typically have launched inside well-known casinos, but gambling operators from around the country have been forced to shutter their business.
Like other services deemed non-essential, casinos have stayed closed following the national emergency declaration from President Donald Trump two months ago, meaning there won’t be in-person gambling on sports until further notice.
However, states with legalized mobile gambling apps, such as New Jersey from the start and Colorado most recently, have a significant advantage over there traditional counterparts and only need to account for new ways to wager in our current sports-less society.
Leading US sports betting sites have introduced a buffet of new bet types while sports leagues figure out a safe way to resume play.
Gambling action on esports has seen a spike in popularity, and the video games are even being used for AI vs. AI computer simulations of real-life sports, like with Madden 20 for the NFL and NBA 2K20 for the NBA.
Everything from gambling on the over/under temperatures for tomorrow’s weather forecasts to odds on marble races has popped up in sports sections of America’s online casinos in recent months.
But even with a myriad of new ways to gamble, sportsbooks can’t make up for the colossal loss in handle and revenue without any sports being played. New Jersey is reporting a 65 percent drop from March of last year, and operators are losing between 70 and 80 percent on average globally.
Sports will return one day due to the simple fact that the NBA, MLB, and others will go from losing millions of dollars to hemorrhaging billions if a long-term hiatus happens.
Fortunately, it appears the worst of COVID-19 is over. With the spread rate slowing, America has begun to reopen businesses slowly, and sports may return in the coming months if the federal and state governments follow the strict guidelines from health experts.
Today is a somber second anniversary of PASPA. Though it may be difficult to see the end of our dark tunnel currently, odds favor the light shining brightly on US sports betting as states continue to legalize, and the world can hopefully return to normal.