Professor Keith Miller: Sports Betting Ruling

One of the most popular forms of gambling in the United States is sports betting. It’s a very popular activity among people. In fact, there are estimates that over $150 billion a year is bet on sports in the United States. The problem is that there’s a 1992 federal law that effectively limits sports betting to the state of Nevada. What that means is that almost all the money bet on sports has been bet illegally because of this federal law. We have exciting news, at least in the gaming world, because last Monday the United States Supreme Court held that this federal law, which limited sports betting to Nevada, was unconstitutional. It violated the 10th Amendment as an infringement of states’ rights. States now are free to offer sports betting if they want to. And several states have already jumped into it. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Mississippi have all been moving forward with a system of establishing sports betting and more states are likely to follow. And even more states will be considering whether or not they want to have sports betting. There are a number of public policy issues that are implicated by this that for me, someone who studies gaming law, I’m very interested in. There are concerns about the demographics of sports betting. Young people really like sports betting. But there are also people who are most at risk for problem gambling. So that’s one of the concerns we have about the expansion of sports betting. All in all, however, it’s a really transformative time in the world of regulated gambling. It’s a very exciting time to be studying this area of law.

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