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The U.S. Supreme Court Legalizes Sports Betting

Gaming Alert
May 15, 2018

In a historic ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Monday that the 1992 federal Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional. This law had barred the states - with a handful of exceptions - from authorizing or licensing sports betting. PASPA has resulted in a robust "illegal" sports betting market across the country estimated to be close to $200 billion annually. 

The "floodgates" for legalized sports betting in the U.S. have been opened by this ruling (Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association) . Now what?  While a  handful of states (in anticipation of this ruling) ‎have put in place a legislative  framework to operate a sports book within their boundaries (MS, NJ, PA, WV), most have just begun to review the issue. In New York, legislation was enacted in 2013 allowing sports wagering provided PASPA was struck down. The 2013 legislation requires regulations to be issued by the Gaming Commission and limits the sports book to the 4 commercial casinos authorized under that Act. 

The State Senate has introduced a bill which would expand the location of legal sports books to existing gaming locations - the 10 video lottery locations and Off Track Betting sites‎. Left out of the Senate version are the tribal casinos - but the Oneida Nation has announced their plans to operate their sports book within weeks. The State Assembly is working on their version of a bill which will likely differ from the Senate version. 

‎With the Legislative Session coming to a close in weeks, there are two questions to monitor - Is there enough time to modify both versions of bills to come to one legislative scheme? Will the NYS Gaming Commission issue regulations timely to take advantage of the NFL and MLB Championship seasons beginning, respectively, in  September and October?

The attorneys in the Hodgson Russ Gaming Practice will continue to provide updates to our clients as we monitor this evolving industry in NY.