The day has finally come for U.S. bettors. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 on Monday, May 14, that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (1992), banning states from legalizing sports betting, is unconstitutional.
The federal prohibition on sports betting is over! All states now have the right to legalize operators and get a cut of the nearly $60 billion Americans wager annually. Excited yet? I am. Here’s what the change means to me:
First, I am excited for sports, interest in sports, and fandom in general. Legal betting opens new pathways for all to engage and invest in the product itself. There is no question gambling enhances the sports experience, whether watching at home, taking it in live, or reading about results in the box score the following day. It fosters a unique level of passion, knowledge, and often a different state or attitude when following a game. Another “Golden Age” of sports might be the horizon with the significance of this ruling.
The appeal, as with most live events, is rooted in communities and shared interests. I experienced a sliver of this in my one and only trip to England to watch a few Premier League contests. Honestly, the soccer (football) and weather were dreadful when Sunderland and Blackburn clashed at Ewood Park on a blustery December afternoon sometime in the mid-2000s, but the handful of bets I made at the William Hill station under the concourse saved the day. Not only did I cash a +400 ticket that Benni McCarthy would score first for the Rovers, but I befriended a local sitting behind me with the same wager. We shared more than a couple of pints after the match with our winnings.
I’m also excited to introduce and talk sports betting to those wary of wagering in the past. The legal aspect of the court’s ruling fully lifts the lid on the taboo nature of the subject within the national discourse. Anyone who reads SBR picks understands the analysis sports betting elicits is thought-provoking and challenging. It invites you to read or interpret a game, player, or outcome differently and often with a more scrutinized lens. Maybe the professional sports leagues will begin to embrace how much betting means to their livelihood, both past and present.
I’m also excited for the regulatory changes, possible benefits to the consumer, and convenience the ruling should usher in. Competition will benefit bettors. Las Vegas will no longer hold a monopoly. You will not have to plead with your friend to cash your winning 2006 St. Louis Cardinals’ World Series futures ticket at Hooters while on his honeymoon (sorry, Steve). Also, let’s be honest. Although reliable, it’s often a headache to cash out at some of the offshore shops. I often sign fewer forms and show fewer identification completing my federal taxes.
An increasing number of operators should also improve odds and options locally, making it comparable to top-rated online books. Dime lines for all? One area that will definitely see a boon is live, in-play wagering. Expect a huge expansion in the number of bets one can make on self-interested outcomes, results of final game, single plays, player performances, etc. Added with an increasing mobile platform, the offerings will grow more robust and competitive. It’s the future, and will be a money-maker for both sides if approached correctly. Are you excited, yet?