Legalized sports betting is paying off

Photo Credit: Getty

A year ago, New Jersey’s fight to overturn the failed federal ban on sports betting was vindicated by the Supreme Court, with the justices deeming the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. After 25 years of federal inaction and rampant illegal sports betting, it took states just a year to demonstrate why Congress never should have taken away state lawmakers’ freedom to regulate the activity as they and their constituents see fit.

The vast majority of states and tribal nations successfully regulated other sorts of gaming for decades, providing consumers opportunities to wager responsibly in safe environments. Rather than eliminating illegal sports wagering, the federal ban hamstrung state officials from addressing the growing $150 billion illegal sports betting market. The ban left consumers vulnerable to organized criminals, siphoned billions of dollars from the legal economy, and put sports integrity at even greater risk.

Recognizing the magnitude of this problem, New Jersey lawmakers challenged the decades-old law, winning at the Supreme Court.  

Since then, New Jersey and six other states have provided citizens with what they said they wanted in 2011 when voters approved a sports betting referendum: a competitive and convenient legal market. Consumers have responded enthusiastically to the bevy of new, legal products the state now offers. In the first three months of 2019, more than $1 billion has been legally wagered across the state. In March alone, New Jersey’s sports betting handle made up a third of the total amount bet legally on sports across all states with legal markets. That means valuable tax revenue, with nearly $20 million in new revenue going to the state since the ban was lifted.

Read the full article at The Hill.