Supreme Court Lifts Ban on Sports Betting

Breaking news this morning that the Supreme Court lifts the ban on sports gambling and that’s music to every gambler’s ears. I never thought it was a question about if, it was just when. I was actually having this conversation over the weekend and said that Sports Betting would be legal in all U.S. states within the next five years. With the breaking news today, each state now has the opportunity to decide if they would like to legalize it. Nevada has always been the one state that has allowed legal sports betting but New Jersey will be the second to be up and running within the next couple of weeks. I’ve been bombarded with DMs since this news broke and a lot of you have the same questions on this topic so I’m here to give you some answers.

So what does this ruling mean exactly? Just because the Supreme Court lifted the ban and overturned the “Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act” doesn’t mean that you can just start betting legally, unless you live in Nevada or New Jersey. The reason for this is because each state will need to legalize it and now that the federal ban has been lifted, they can do so. I will say it right now, I will be shocked if there are any states that decide they are not going to legalize sports betting. I think most states have been waiting to see which way the Supreme Court ruled on this case and now that the ban has been lifted, most states will start moving pretty quickly on this. My prediction is that within five years, Americans will be able to bet on sports – in casinos, mobile apps, gas stations, bars, restaurants, ect – very similar to the lottery/keno.

How much money could this generate for each state? Obviously it depends on the availability and the population of each state. In 2017, there was a record $4.8 Billion wagered at Nevada sportsbooks and that’s just the wagers that went through the actual casinos. New Jersey is expecting to generate $8 billion annually due to the larger population. How will the states cash in on this? Similar to the way the lottery works and a famous saying of mine, there are winners and there are losers. There are more losers in sports betting than winners, that’s a fact. There are also 12-15 million active illegal sports bettors in the U.S. They will also be able to tax it so that will be a large dollar figure itself.

Will the leagues cash in on this? It has been put out there that the NBA and MLB  are interested in getting involved and I think that they will make a serious push to do whatever they need to. Unfortunately, that opens the door for corruption of the games – maybe. I’ll be the first to say that you’re living under a rock or you don’t watch sports closely enough if you don’t think that leagues/refs are involved in manipulating the outcome of games for sports betting already. Games have been fixed in the past and they will be fixed in the future. Not every game, not every day but there are games that have been fixed – it’s obvious. I could go on for days about that but that’s a different argument. The way the leagues could generate revenue (the right way) without tarnishing their image or potentially losing viewers/fans is by advertising revenue. That gives them the chance to generate ad revenue from sportsbooks or other companies without being directly involved in the actual wagering side. I think that will be the route that the major leagues take at first to see what they can generate.

What negative effects do you think this will have on sports? Unfortunately, I think that this will lead to more fixed games. With the legalization, it’s going to lead to more people betting, which means there’s going to be more money to be had. There will be more fixed games no doubt. That could potentially lead to some of these leagues losing fans. The people who don’t bet on these games who invest in their teams (tickets/apparel) just to see them get fixed out of a win could very easily decide that they are no longer going to invest their time and money. The leagues will need to do a better job investigating players/refs ect. to maintain credibility through this transition.

On the flip side, what positive effects will this have? I think this will help all of the leagues generate more fans. Someone who isn’t currently a sports fan could very easily become attached knowing that they can put $10 on a moneyline every game. It adds more excitement and that’s what people want. You can’t make money while watching Law and Order SVU or The Big Bang Theory. I also think the legality and regulation will have a positive effect on sports gamblers. What do I mean by this? Well, let’s just say if you’re dealing with your cousins’ “guy” to put your bets in, you might not be dealing with the most trustworthy/safe guy. If you’re betting through online sites, you always deal with the risk of cashing an international check at your bank who could open an investigation. The legalization and regulation will make betting safer and more easily accessible for sports bettors. I think that’s a good thing for sports bettors.

Does this mean that I can be a bookie if my state legalizes it? Nope. The states are going to legalize and regulate it. It’s still going to be illegal to be a bookie because the states will want to drive as much action as possible through their regulation so they make the most profit. So unfortunately for you, you won’t be able to be a bookie (legally) even if your state legalizes it.

This is just the beginning of questions to come so keep them coming guys. This is the first step that needed to be taken to legalize sports betting. I think there will be 10+ states up and running by the end of 2018 but we will see how it plays out. In the meantime, keep your questions coming.