US set for legalised sports betting after Supreme Court ruling

Last Updated May 14 2018, 19:23Other Sports
March Madness in Nevada
March Madness in Nevada

The United States Supreme Court has overturned a federal law that effectively banned betting on sporting contests in every state apart from Nevada, paving the way for the other states to legalise sports gambling.

The nine judges on America's highest court voted by a margin of seven to two - although one of the seven did so with caveats - to scrap the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

The case was brought by the state of New Jersey, which has been trying to break the monopoly enjoyed by Nevada's Las Vegas for years, but it has already been celebrated by the gambling industry.

While sports-based lotteries are legal in Delaware, Montana and Oregon, until now US gamblers could only place bets on individual contests in Nevada, although that did not stop an illegal industry that is estimated to be worth more than £100billion a year.

With significant tax revenues on offer, New Jersey and four other states have already passed bills to legalise sports gambling and 14 more have started the process. That number is expected to double within five years.

The court explained its ruling over 49 pages that can be boiled down to a single argument: the federal government had overreached itself by telling the states they could not do something without actually making it illegal itself.

"Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own," the court wrote.

Money changes hands in Nevada
Money changes hands in a Las Vegas casino

Reaction to the decision from the major sports leagues and their player associations, which all opposed New Jersey's attempt to overturn the status quo, has been mixed.

For many in US sport, the opposition was not based on a fundamental revulsion towards gambling - although that does exist - but more to do with concerns about a chaotic roll-out of legal betting and a piecemeal approach to regulating it.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), for example, has previously acknowledged it was probably time to legalise something that millions of Americans were doing anyway.

In a statement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: "We remain in favour of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it, but we will remain active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures."

This stance was broadly in line with the statements issued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the organisation that regulates America's huge college sports industry, and the National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA).

The NBA, NCAA and NFLPA statements also talked about defending their players' safety and their games' integrity.

These issues are perhaps most acutely felt by baseball, though, as it is arguably the sport that has shaped US policy on gambling for a century.

America's eyes were opened to the risks of match-fixing when the Chicago White Sox - or Black Sox as they became known - were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series, while Major League great Pete Rose remains "permanently ineligible" from the game and the sport's hall of fame for betting against teams he played for and managed throughout his long career.

In a statement on its Twitter feed, Major League Baseball said the decision "will have profound effects" and it will "continue to seek proper protections" for baseball in partnership with the other professional sports.

The Major League Baseball Players' Association executive director Tony Clark went even further, saying the decision is "monumental, with far-reaching implications for baseball players and the game we love".

Clark added: "From complex intellectual property questions to the most basic issues of player safety, the realities of widespread sports betting must be addressed urgently and thoughtfully to avoid putting our sport's integrity at risk as states proceed with legalisation."

Most Read

Douglas Costa playing for Juventus1

Friday's Paper Talk

Manchester United are ready to pay £79m to grab Douglas Costa if Juventus don't keep him, according to the back pages.

Trainer Roger Charlton2

Friday's racing preview

Nick Robson sides with Roger Charlton's Aspetar in Friday's feature at Goodwood and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Check out our horse racing nap of the day3

Sporting Life: Daily Nap

David Ord previews Friday's action with the Sporting Life Daily Nap running at Bath - and two selections from Goodwood too.

Real Madrid face Liverpool in the Champions League final4

Champions League final tips

It's goals on the menu in Kiev as Paul Higham predicts a Champions League final thriller between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Sands Of Mali5

Richard Fahey: Mali magic

Richard Fahey can't wait to unleash Sands Of Mali in the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock - check out his thoughts on a bumper Saturday team.

Most Read

Douglas Costa playing for Juventus1

Friday's Paper Talk

Manchester United are ready to pay £79m to grab Douglas Costa if Juventus don't keep him, according to the back pages.

Trainer Roger Charlton2

Friday's racing preview

Nick Robson sides with Roger Charlton's Aspetar in Friday's feature at Goodwood and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Check out our horse racing nap of the day3

Sporting Life: Daily Nap

David Ord previews Friday's action with the Sporting Life Daily Nap running at Bath - and two selections from Goodwood too.

Real Madrid face Liverpool in the Champions League final4

Champions League final tips

It's goals on the menu in Kiev as Paul Higham predicts a Champions League final thriller between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Sands Of Mali5

Richard Fahey: Mali magic

Richard Fahey can't wait to unleash Sands Of Mali in the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock - check out his thoughts on a bumper Saturday team.

Racing Tips

Trainer Roger Charlton

Friday's racing preview

Nick Robson sides with Roger Charlton's Aspetar in Friday's feature at Goodwood and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Check out our horse racing nap of the day

Sporting Life: Daily Nap

David Ord previews Friday's action with the Sporting Life Daily Nap running at Bath - and two selections from Goodwood too.

Battaash pulls clear of his King George rivals

Saturday's racing preview

Keith Hamer previews Saturday's action and expects Battaash to make a winning reappearance at Haydock. He has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Next Race Off
12:15 Fairview
1
(10)
Supreme Winter
J: M Yeni
9
(9)
Pilothouse
J: Lyle Hewitson
7
(6)
Kobus
J: K Zechner

Football Tips

Aleksander Mitrovic will be aiming to fire Fulham back into the Premier League

Villa v Fulham: Play-off tips

Aston Villa and Fulham meet at Wembley on Saturday and Tom Carnduff has 17/10 and two 5/1 best bets for the play-off final.

Gabriel Jesus can lead the line to World Cup glory

World Cup: Outright tips

Five-time winners Brazil are given the confident selection for World Cup glory as Matt Brocklebank takes a look at the outright betting market.

Dean Henderson will be hopeful of more celebrations at full-time on Sunday

Rotherham v Shrews: Play-off tips

Sky Bet League One takes centre stage on Sunday when Rotherham meet Shrewsbury. Tom Carnduff has 12/5, 7/2 and 18/1 best bets.