What Did the Supreme Court Just Do to the Sports Betting Industry?

On June 26, 2019, the United States Supreme Court released its ruling in the case of DiDonato v. Pennsylvania, which struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on sports betting. The case was initiated by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in collaboration with attorneys from Kutak Rock LLP. The case was argued before the Supreme Court in March 2019. In its ruling, the highest court in the land granted a historic victory for sports fans everywhere and sent a strong signal to the entire United States Congress to legalize sports betting.

It’s important to note that the Pennsylvania case was not the first step toward lifting the ban on sports betting. In fact, the high court has been considering cases like this for more than a decade. In 2018, the court declined to hear the case of Murphy v. New York, which would have permitted sports betting in New York, and in 2007, the court declined to hear the case of United States v. State of Oregon, which would have permitted same-state sports betting. In both of those cases, the ban on sports betting was upheld.

Five Stakeholders Who Will Benefit From The New York Decision

In the wake of the Pennsylvania decision, the New York Attorney General’s office released a statement saying that, because of the court’s decision, the state’s sports wagering systems will now be able to operate normally. As a result, customers will now be able to place sports wagers as they normally could before the June 26 ruling. However, the state does reserve the right to reevaluate its sports wagering policies in the future.

The New York Attorney General’s office named five stakeholders who will benefit from the court’s decision to overturn the Pennsylvania ban on sports betting:

  • Customers who want to place sports wagers in the state will now be able to do so
  • State and lottery officials who will now be able to implement sports wagering in New York as they see fit
  • Operators of sports wagering operators who will now be able to compete in the state on an even playing field
  • Poker companies, whose operations will no longer be at a disadvantage due to the ban on sports wagering
  • And finally, NBA, NHL, and MLB teams, whose fans will now have the opportunity to wager on the games they love

What Is The Current Status Of Federal Legislation That Would Legalize Sports Betting?

Although the high court has decided to grant a historic victory to the sports betting industry, it is important to remember that there is still no federal legislation in place that would legalize sports betting across the country. In the absence of federal legislation, the 28 states that currently prohibit sports betting have the power to regulate it themselves, as they see fit, which in many cases means that they will continue to prohibit it. It is still unclear if, or when, Congress will take up the issue of legalizing sports betting. For now, it’s important to note that thousands of individuals and businesses, ranging from the NFL to the NCAA to the NBA, still operate in the grey area that is currently prohibited by federal law.

Did The Supreme Court Just Blow Up The Global Sports Betting Industry?

In many ways, the 2019 Supreme Court ruling has ramifications far beyond the world of sports betting. For years, the global sports betting industry has operated in the shadows, with bookmakers, sportsbooks, and casinos trying to avoid prosecution by federal authorities. Now that the sports betting ban has been struck down, it is quite possible that the entire industry could be uprooted and reconstructed, especially considering that many countries, like Australia, have already adopted legal and open-minded policies regarding sports betting.

On the other hand, the industry may now be given a chance to prove itself, and it will no doubt take a little time to see how things play out. Bookmakers and casinos may now be forced to adapt to the changing times, including possibly closing down or moving abroad, if they don’t want to risk running into legal issues. And finally, sports fans may now have the opportunity to bet on their favorite teams, whether it’s the sports stars they grew up with or the teams that represent their favorite sport. There are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding the future of the sports betting industry, but at least it’s no longer considered an illegal activity.