The Supreme Court recently ruled that PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) was unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision. The ruling gives states the ability to decide whether or not to allow their respective residents to bet on sports.
While New Jersey has been quick to act, and Delaware is in the driver's seat to become the first state to offer sports betting starting June 5, there is still a lot of confusion and questions regarding what the Supreme Court's ruling actually means for the future of sports betting. In terms of potential revenue, one has to assume that the majority of states interested in making sports betting permissible will create a controlled environment, similar to the lottery, which will help limit underground activity and generate much needed state-level income.
The ruling from the highest court in the U.S. will undoubtedly result in some large valuations, acquisitions and deals. Already, daily fantasy sports company FanDuel was purchased by U.K.-based sports betting powerhouse Paddy Power Betfair, and it will continue to be a fierce and competitive race to get a piece of the action.
Everything is happening very quickly after years of pondering whether the federal ban on sports betting would be lifted. Below are answers to four common questions that many people have regarding the Supreme Court's recent ruling.
What does the Supreme Court's ruling really mean?
The Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional on the grounds of states' 10th Amendment rights. It essentially stated that if Congress doesn't decide to regulate sports betting directly, then it can't prevent states from making their own decisions, in a decision that could have sweeping future consequences beyond the sports betting landscape.
"Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own," wrote Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., a New Jersey native. "Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not."
Does this mean that it's now legal to bet on sports?
Not right now, but it's coming in many states albeit gradually. New Jersey is considering several options, allowing bets placed at casinos, racetracks and online, which will roll out as soon as possible. Delaware will offer sports betting at the state's three casinos, and online betting may follow but it will not be immediately available.
"Once New Jersey and Delaware are fully operational, I would expect to see more states pursue the opportunity more aggressively. The revenue potential is far too great for them to ignore," says Joel Farar of Farar & Lewis LLP. You can track each state's status here.
It's a safe bet -- no pun intended -- that many states will follow not too far behind and it isn't far fetched to believe that a majority of states introduce new sports betting laws within the next 5 years. The next states to follow Delaware and New Jersey are likely to include West Virginia, Mississippi and Pennsylvania.
"I see there being an influx of investments in the space as sports betting is rolled out in more states, and it wouldn't surprise me to see a large push to make it extremely mobile-friendly, with apps being the prominent leader in the industry," says Nima Haddadi, founding member of H Law Group.
Haddadi's prediction regarding technology leading the charge is spot-on, as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently voiced his opinion regarding technology's role in legalized sports betting, saying, "With technology, apps, and always-on access, it's something that will be a new form of entertainment that effects us all."