This week, the US Supreme Court began its consideration into whether an almost blanket ban on sports betting is constitutional or not. On Monday, the high court attracted major media attention, with New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie and other lawmakers addressing reporters.
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New Jersey is challenging the ban on sports betting which pertains to 46 out of the 50 states in the US. If successful, the Supreme Court could essentially be legalizing a business that rolls tens of billions of dollars each year.
On the other end of the scale stand the four major professional US sports organizations, namely the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. Joining these groups is the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The sports groups are arguing to maintain the status quo and retain the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
On the ground, however, sports federations are being more realistic about the issue, recognizing that legal sports betting is the way to go, and that there is too much money at stake for governments to miss out on. Some sports groups seem to be less opposed to the legalization of this market if the federal government chooses to vote in New Jersey’s favor.
The American Gaming Association has estimated that the grey sports betting market in the US is worth around $150 million each year. It comes as no surprise, then, that many states have their eyes on the potential taxes that could come from a legal sports betting landscape, where operators are licensed and taxed. A total of 18 states have backed New Jersey’s appeal.
The Supreme Court will continue hearing all sides of the arguments and it expected that a final decision will be handed down within the first half of 2018.