On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court ended the federal ban on sports betting by vacating the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The 26-year-old bookmaking prohibition ended after six of the nine justices in Murphy v. NCAA held that the law violated the “anti-commandeering” principle against Congress legislating through the states. The majority reasoned that in prohibiting states from authorizing sports betting, Congress overstepped its constitutional authority by forcing states to legislate against sports betting.
The decision is a big deal for fans, especially those who bet on games. Americans spend about $150 billion in sports bets annually on the black market.
While the decision preserves some of Congress’ ability to regulate directly the sports and sports betting industries, it opens the door to individual states allowing sports betting, both online and in “brick-and-mortar” establishments. It remains to be seen, though, how states will apply their new authority to allow sports betting. Will they simply repeal bans or sports betting, or will they come up with new rules and guidelines for sports betting? Will different states take different approaches, or will there be an effort to standardize approaches across the U.S., as states have done with the Uniform Commercial Code?
The overturning of PASPA will transform the way fans cheer for athletes, just as fantasy sports revolutionized fandom. Digital and in-person viewership likely will increase, a welcome development to the NFL as viewership has declined in recent years. In fact, NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell supports standards that protect consumers from corrupt figures in the betting market.
For perhaps the first time in our history, Sports Fans Coalition thinks that Goodell is right. Standards must reflect pro-fan protections that are easily enforceable.
The legislative games have begun. Fourteen states recently introduced bills to legalize sports betting, while an additional five — Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware — recently passed sports betting bills. In Delaware and New Jersey, sports betting will begin within the next month.
Sports Fans Coalition is committed to ensuring that fans’ rights are protected throughout all the states that legalize sports betting. Fans love to bet on games, players, and anything else involving sports. We don’t like getting ripped off, though. We believe that the legalization of sports betting should be accompanied by strong fan protections against fraud, deception, and mismanagement, just like in any legal business.
Leave a comment below and let us know what kinds of protections you would like to see in your state.