According to a new poll conducted by The Washington Post and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, 55 percent of Americans support legalizing professional sports betting.
The US Supreme Court took over a New Jersey case in early December which was ostensibly about allowing more states to offer full blown-sports wagering. The verdict is expected to come out this year and reportedly, many states are poised to approve sports wagering. It means the decision would have broader ramifications for the relationship between the states and the federal government.
It is estimated that illegal sports betting is a $150 billion industry and reports and polls suggest that this industry is only going to get bigger.
This stands in stark contrast to the attitude of the Americans 25 years ago. 56 per cent of Americans supported Congress in 1992 when it passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act outlawing sports betting except in a handful of states, including Nevada.
The AP reported that 18 states plan to introduce bills to regulate sports betting in 2018, with 11 likely to pass. Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, which is responsible for tracking gambling legislation nationwide, told the wire service that the numbers could rise to more than 30 states that plan to get in on action.
States seem to be in a mood of supporting the online betting. One of the prime reasons for this kind of support is obviously, finding a new stream of tax revenue. According to the reports of Forbes the potential rake could be more than $6 billion annually, according to some estimates. It could be expected to go high as $15.8 billion if all 5o states opt to legalize such wagers.
In 2012, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation which established a regulatory structure making sports betting legal in his state. The move defied the federal law, but when professional sports leagues and the NCAA successfully sued to block the proposal, New Jersey lawmakers in 2014 passed a different version of the law intended to skirt the injunction. The leagues sued and the issue eventually made its way to the Supreme Court.
A ruling in favor of New Jersey could potentially give a whole new paradigm to sports betting.