The sports world was jolted into conversation Monday morning when the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its ruling in Murphy vs. NCAA, declaring the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that prohibited states from allowing sports wagering to be unconstitutional. The ruling now gives states the ability to decide for themselves whether they will allow sports wagering within their borders.
In the immediate aftermath of the ruling, plenty of questions have arisen in terms of what this means for sports betting in the U.S.
“Well, we’re going to have some legalized sports gambling in a number of states,” said Mark Conrad, Associate Professor of Law and Ethics at Fordham University via phone interview Monday. “Clearly a number of states have had bills on the table awaiting this ruling, and, given that the court pretty much emasculated the federal law that effectively banned states from legalizing sports gambling, that’s off the table. Now, legalized sports gambling will be a factor in the sports scene in the United States starting very shortly.”
How shortly? Well, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst tweeted earlier today that New Jersey, the state that brought the case to the Supreme Court, could begin to see gambling within a few weeks. Conrad agrees that the laws could be passed quickly, and we could see gambling legalized in multiple states by the end of the year.
“There’s bills also in West Virginia and I believe in the New York state legislature right now that can be passed very quickly because they’ve drafted those potential laws waiting for the ruling so the process is there,” said Conrad. “I think it’s a pretty good bet that you’re going to have ten states with legalized sports gambling by the end of this year.”
However, just because gambling laws could be passed in several states, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to place bets starting tomorrow.
“Pun intended, hold your horses,” said Conrad. “Because we have to go through a process, a legislative and regulatory process in a lot of states and we’re waiting to see what the contours are going to be. It may be a little bit trickier than just opening up a number of gambling casinos tomorrow. Even when these laws are going to be enacted even in two or three weeks, I suspect you’re going to have some sort of administrative apparatus set up to regulate it within the state.”
In the meantime, die-hard sports fans who love to throw a wager down from time to time are likely rejoicing, along with companies that have delved into the lucrative world of daily fantasy sports contests. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports each year, according to CBS News.