Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

U.S. Government Tells Supreme Court Not To Hear Sports Betting Case

Industry Focusing On Legislative Fix


Despite a former casino owner in the White House, the U.S. government has told the Supreme Court to reject the state of New Jersey’s appeal to have sports books in Atlantic City.

The Garden State for years has been challenging a 1992 federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that prohibits sports betting nearly nationwide. Nevada is the only state with single-game sports betting, while Delaware allows parlay sports bets at its casinos. The pro sports leagues and the NCAA sued to block Atlantic City sports books.

The U.S. Solicitor General’s office told the high court this month that it should deny New Jersey’s attempt to argue that PASPA violates states’ rights. The Solicitor General is the person appointed to represent the federal government before the Supreme Court.

Luckily for the casino industry, there’s another way to get PASPA nixed if the court ultimately ends up denying the appeal. The American Gaming Association is pushing for a new law.

“The 25-year-old ban on sports betting is fueling a thriving $150 billion illegal gambling market that deprives states of revenue,” said AGA CEO Geoff Freeman.

“While the Supreme Court has yet to decide whether to hear New Jersey’s case to overturn the federal ban, the casino gaming industry is building a diverse coalition of stakeholders who will work with Congress and the Trump Administration to lift the unconstitutional ban on sports betting and give states the freedom to regulate this increasingly popular American pastime.”

Casinos are now in 40 states, which could all be interested in sports betting if it was legal. The U.S. commercial casino industry wins a little over $40 billion a year from gamblers, but the market has only been inching up since the Great Recession. Tapping into that $150 billion unregulated sports betting handle would be a boon for the industry.

According to recent study for the AGA conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, only about 40 percent of Americans “recognize that [sports betting] is not legal in most of the nation.”

The study also found that 55 percent of Americans support legalization on the federal level. Only 35 percent oppose. Ten percent are undecided on the issue.

The breakdown is even better for the millennial generation, which the casino industry is trying hard to attract as the baby boomers age. Millennials support a nationwide sports betting framework by a 61-30 margin. Just 41 percent of seniors support sports betting.

The research also said that were it legal to bet on sports, 12 percent of American adults would be more likely to bet on sports, which represents roughly 28 million people.

About 20 percent of Americans bet on sports in the last year.

The increasing popularity of sports betting can been seen clearly in Nevada. A record $231.8 million was won from sports bets in 2015. The handle was a record $4.5 billion last year.

In another positive development for sports betting, the NFL approved the Raiders relocation to Las Vegas, and betting on the team will be allowed in the state’s nearly 200 sports books.