What Did the Supreme Court Ruling Legalize in Sports Betting?

The past year has been an exciting time for sports bettors. In April 2020, the Supreme Court legalized sports betting in the United States. Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to figure out how this ruling affects the sports betting industry and, more importantly, whether or not it’s worth your time and money to get involved in the industry now that legal betting is a reality.

How the SCOTUS Ruling Helped Shape the Future of Sports Betting

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports industry needed a way to make up for the lack of live sporting events. They addressed this issue by modifying the NBA and the NCAA Division I basketball championships to a virtual format. Not only did this allow the games to be played without the threat of COVID-19 spreading, but it also freed up arenas and stadiums that could otherwise be occupied by the growing number of cases of the novel coronavirus.

With the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, the sports betting industry turned its attention to the future and what the Supreme Court ruling meant for their industry. Not only did the ruling legalize sports betting, but it also overturned PASPA, the Professional And Sports Booking Act of 2020. The bill, which sought to regulate and tax sports betting, had previously been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

Prior to the pandemic, PASPA had created confusion and uncertainty regarding the legality of sports betting as it pertained to federal and interstate gambling laws. After the ruling, however, sports betting was deemed to be a legitimate activity and the law no longer applied.

Did the SCOTUS Ruling Legalize Gambling?

While many people consider the SCOTUS ruling to be a win for the overall legalization of gambling in the U.S., it was actually quite the opposite. The SCOTUS ruling merely freed the industry, allowing it to operate with minimal restrictions under state law. Additionally, they did not legalize sports betting or remove all federal prohibitions against it.

Many states, like Nevada and New Jersey, had already decided to embrace legalized sports betting and created regulations regarding wagering. However, they could still be prevented from operating in other states under federal law. For example, many states along the Appalachians still do not allow casinos, so online sportsbooks located there could still be violating state law by accepting wagers from out of state.

With the industry now able to operate nationwide, it’s likely that some states will try to impose more restrictions on it. For instance, several states have considered legislation that would place limitations on the types of bets that can be placed and how quickly the bookmaker can pay out. Additionally, some states have banned certain sports, such as football, from being played for money.

Did the SCOTUS Ruling Improve The Odds For Sports Betting?

While the U.S. Supreme Court ruling certainly improved the legal context for sports betting, it didn’t do a lot to decrease the odds of winning. In fact, the odds of winning remain the same as they were before the pandemic. This is mainly because there aren’t that many legal sportsbooks out there. As a result, it’s still mostly dominated by the online bookmakers, which are more likely to have better odds.

Additionally, while gamblers can now place bets on all major sporting events, they are still not able to place in-play wagers. In-play wagers are bets placed while the game is still being played – for example, if a basketball player shoots the gun once the game has ended, the bettor would like to see whether or not the player will actually shoot the gun. In-play wagers can be hugely beneficial as they allow gamblers to make winning predictions based on real-time events. Unfortunately, this type of wager cannot be placed online as it is currently not possible to track or verify the outcome of an in-play wager.

Will It Be Easy For Newcomers To Enter The Sports Betting Industry?

One of the main issues the Supreme Court ruling sought to fix was the issue of whether or not it was easy for new entrants to the sports betting industry to earn a living. Thanks to the pandemic and the legal precedent set by the SCOTUS ruling, this should no longer be an issue.

As previously stated, prior to the SCOTUS ruling, many states, including Nevada and New Jersey, had already decided to embrace legal betting. As a result, it wasn’t as difficult for existing sportsbooks to expand into new states. Additionally, the industry already had a good handle on how to make a profit in the face of minimal regulation and taxation. Simply put, new sportsbooks were able to enter the market and enjoy healthy growth. This trend continued even after the pandemic.

Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to determine whether or not the sports betting industry was right to celebrate what the Supreme Court ruling accomplished. Will this be the year of legalized sports betting in the United States? Will the industry grow in size and scope? These are difficult questions, but one thing is for sure – it will be interesting to see how the sports betting industry continues to evolve.