Sports betting legalization is a hot topic. The subject keeps coming up from people who can have an actual impact. A new report A new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute pressures Congress to lift the federal ban on sports betting, allowing states to decide for themselves whether they want sports betting or not.
The federal ban, known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), was passed back in 1992 and banned 46 states from having state-sponsored sports betting markets. At the time of PASPA’s enactment, several states were trying to bring legalized sports into the fold. The authors of PASPA were hoping to deter sports betting from taking over because they felt it would jeopardize the integrity of the game. The only four states who ended up being exempted from the federal ban are Montana, Oregon, Delaware and Nevada. Nevada is the only state out of these four to have unrestricted sports betting, meaning they are truly the only state reaping the financial benefits of a regulated market.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s report believes that legalizing sports betting would have no effect on the ‘integrity’ of the game. If anything, a regulated legal sports gambling industry would only increase fan interaction and excitement surrounding the various sports leagues. It would also give bettors a proper avenue to place bets through, instead of revenue being lost out to black market sportsbooks.
This report comes out amidst a flurry of pro-sports gambling news, including another report published by the Sutton Hall Sports Poll that found the majority of Americans support sports betting legalization. Even some of the major professional sports league commissioners have come out in support of sports betting. Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner, has put his opinion into writing, arguing for the repeal of PASPA. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has come out and said that the league would be looking into their perception of sports betting and how it could affect them. As history tells it, the major professional sports leagues have been the main obstacles between states and sports betting legalization. For example, New Jersey tried passing legalization that allowed for sports betting in its casinos and racetracks, only to be silenced by a lawsuit brought on by the leagues. There seems to be a changing perception regarding the industry, and state lawmakers are keen to exploit that.
There is also a bill going through the House of Representatives that would give states a four-year window to decide if they want to have sports betting or not. This timeframe allows lawmakers to draft up legislation and put it to a vote. One of the main arguments of those against PASPA is that states should have the right to pick for themselves.
All of these efforts, most recently the Competitive Enterprise Industry’s report, are trying to legitimize sports betting. There are socioeconomic benefits to be gained, and the leagues themselves could gain something out of the increased fandom associated with betting. Vermont is one of the states affected by PASPA, meaning Vermont sports gambling isn’t up to the Vegas-standard. If legislators start to listen to the league commissioners, to the various reports and to the fans themselves, they may find that perhaps PASPA isn’t as applicable as it once was and the benefits outweigh the enforcement of it.