In the United States, sports betting is already legal. Every year, offshore and underground bookmakers take bets worth millions of dollars. The Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports betting will bring much of this gambling into the light.
Change isn’t going to happen overnight. The court’s ruling did not make sports betting lawful worldwide, but it did pave the way for states to do so independently. That will take time, and conditions may end up with an assortment of rules to deal with the need for supervision when it does. Congress may potentially take steps to regulate sports betting, but states will have the last say until the federal government tells them differently.
Casinos and racetracks are obvious beginning sites for sports betting.
“I believe most states would first say, ‘OK, we’ll only allow it at the casinos,'” says Richard McGowan, a Boston College’s Carroll School of Management professor.
When the American Gaming Association tallied in 2017, twenty-four states had commercial casinos, including some already presented sports betting proposals in their legislatures. Many of these locations already have part of the necessary infrastructure, such as adequate space, security, and licensing, to conduct sports bets.
“It’s reasonable to expect casinos and racetracks to be the first to provide sports betting,” says Scott Cooley, an odds adviser at offshore book BetDSI. “The technical infrastructure is in place to some extent, and the regular visitors to those enterprises are the target population.”
Sports betting will be available at a major racetrack in New Jersey by Memorial Day.
Legal sports betting will eventually go online.
“Eventually, the app will be where it’s at,” says Dan Etna, co-chair of Herrick Feinstein LLP’s sports law department, offices in New York and New Jersey.
“Let’s face it: You’re still going to compete with the black market of bookmakers and the like. It’s a waste of time. You’ll need to set aside time to park at Monmouth Racetrack, the Meadowlands, or wherever you’re going, place your bets, and then get back in your car and go on with your day. It isn’t very user-friendly, and it’s not entirely practical. So I don’t believe you’ll see these massive sports palazzos springing out from the ground to accommodate sports betting. I believe this will be the most widely used digital platform.”
Hundreds of sportsbooks established in foreign nations currently accept American bets online. These items aren’t difficult to use. Bovada (located in Latvia) and 5Dimes are two sites where you may place a sports bet from your phone or computer (Costa Rica). They accept American credit cards and are simple to operate.
The legality of betting apps, like everything else in sports betting, is determined by the legal climate in each state. However, it’s easy to see a future in which new and established American media businesses launch their online sportsbooks.
A geofence, which restricts gambling to users where it is allowed, is expected to be included in betting apps. Sports gambling via interstate commerce or communication is banned under the federal Wire Act.
The leagues could want to get in on the fun as well.
Imagine watching a baseball game on MLB.tv while also being able to gamble on the game through a league-run portal. Consider placing a wager on football on NFL.com, which already sponsors fantasy football leagues.
John Wolohan, a sports law professor at Syracuse’s College of Sport and Human Dynamics, adds, “I’ll go even further.” “I’m sure you’ll see books right at the games.” I’m sure you’ll be able to go into Yankee Stadium and find a book right on the concourse where you can put a wager on the game that day.”
This is how it would work:
“Give me any number of runs, and the Yankees will win.” Also, offer me a prop bet on two hits in the first inning, or something along those lines,” Wolohan says. “I have little doubt that it will happen in a reasonable amount of time.”
Expect a lot of political wrangling around implementation in general.
How high will sports gambling taxes be in states that permit it? Who will pay them: bettors, casino owners, or both (in most cases)? Will the leagues’ budgets be slashed?
The leagues will argue that they are entitled to a piece. An “integrity charge,” a levy on the total amount gambled at sportsbooks that would go into a fund for each league, is one mechanism. The NBA claims that the charge is necessary to fund monitoring costs to guarantee that no one — players, officials, spectators, or coaches — is cheating. Integrity fines are opposed by the casino industry, claiming they might be disastrous for operators. Casinos only pay taxes on winning bets; however, an integrity charge would tax the overall wager amount, compelling casinos to pay sports leagues whether they win or lose. For lobbyists, these fees will be a key topic of dispute in the future.
Etna replies, “I understand that there is a need for some increased honesty.” “But, let’s not kid ourselves: This is merely a new, lucrative money stream for them to exploit.” You won’t be able to persuade me differently.”
The major sports leagues may argue to state legislators that they should have complete control over game and player data that is helpful to sportsbook operators, such as live stats and other in-game information that may assist bettors place large wagers. The NBA, MLB, and PGA Tour are already advocating for such a deal, similar to how sports betting operates in the UK.
“Their argument is, ‘This is our game.’ There is no product to gamble on without us. There are no participants in the game, and there isn’t anything. A sportsbook is not permitted in New Jersey, New York, or Massachusetts. There is nothing as a league, without us as an institution, and without our players,'” Wolohan said. “They’re saying that ‘we have a property right over this, and we should be able to govern it.’ Once again, they’re inventing a counter-argument. Today, they don’t have this right.” American courts have typically refused them it.
The states will also discuss ways to regulate usage. This brings us back to the most important fact about gambling: most individuals lose money when they do it.
“This is when the addiction problem will skyrocket,” McGowan predicts. “I think young boys between the ages of 18 and 35 will go insane trying to beat the odds on this.” Many college campuses already have it, and this will only make things worse.”