To the surprise of online gambling operators and prominent legal experts in the field, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will review the court ruling that blocks New Jersey based sports gambling. It was the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled against the law initially because they considered it to be in direct contention with the federal law that prohibits state based sports wagering in all but 4 states, The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). PASPA has long been considered unconstitutional by legal proponents of the online gambling community and the American Gaming Association which has most of Las Vegas’ major gambling money makers as members. If a law in New Jersey that was ruled in direct opposition of PASPA is reinstated, this likely means it might also lead to national repeal of PASPA and open the option for legal sports betting across all states.
Some might be brought to question if this is even a good thing for Nevada. If all the states are opened up to legalized sports betting at the state level, it certainly means that some of that business might go elsewhere. Industry leaders in Nevada argue the exact opposite. They posit that if and when the national prohibition on sports betting ends, it would have more of a detrimental effect on the legal offshore gambling websites currently providing sports betting services to US residents than in the four states that are legally allowed to have them currently. They remain confident that Nevada will maintain their status as the top dog in the American sports wagering world.
The infrastructure in Nevada for sports betting is already established and would be able to adapt to a national level much faster than brands just starting out in the industry. Companies like William Hill and MGM who have already embraced online sports wagering, live betting, and mobile optimization of sports gambling are already primed and ready to create a national sports betting brand. People will undoubtedly still flock to Las Vegas for the complete experience at the highest rated sports gambling establishments in the country.
However, the Supreme Court’s review of the New Jersey law that could lead to the repeal of PASPA might go exactly the opposite way. According to one theory by legal experts, Ryan Rodenberg and John Holden, one possible scenario of the review might lead to what’s known in the legal community as “equal sovereignty”. The “equal sovereignty doctrine” that has been used in the US courts before means that the federal government must treat all the states equally. If the review concludes with the legal opinion that PASPA is constitutional and it does not get repealed, there is a case to be made for equal sovereignty. This means that those states that are currently allowed to regulate sports wagering legally would no longer be exempt from the law that gives them those rights because other states won’t have them either.
To further muddy the waters, the pending GAME Act and/or RAWA would all have a national impact on sports wagering within the US. Regardless of which direction all of this goes, legally licensed offshore gambling sites accepting US players will still be available to offer the same services to American bettors that they’ve been providing thus far.