It’s game on for the race to cash in on sports betting.
The U.S. Supreme Court sided Monday with New Jersey in its six-year quest to allow legalized sports betting, breaking up Nevada's near-monopoly in the market and paving the way for other states to break into the billion-dollar business.
In the lead-up to Monday’s decision, five states — Connecticut, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia — along with New Jersey had already passed legislation to allow legalized sports betting, contingent on the Supreme Court’s favorable ruling. Similar bills have also been introduced in 14 other states nationwide since the beginning of 2017, according to a Center for Public Integrity review. The bills either explicitly allow legalized sports gambling or lift any prohibitions against it.
Now, with the green light, more states will likely join in. Gambling Compliance, a trade publication, expects that up to 37 states will eventually legalize sports betting and reap potential tax benefits.
Those efforts, in turn, will attract interest from gambling companies and even the major sports leagues themselves in influencing the nitty gritty details, a tried-and-true playbook that is followed in statehouses around the nation through campaign donations, wining-and-dining by lobbyists and model legislation handed out by special interests.
Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association will likely step up their lobbying efforts — already underway in a number of statehouses across the country — to have a say in how sports betting is legalized. Most notably, the two leagues are looking to get a cut from the profits in the form of “integrity fees” of up to 1 percent of all wagers placed on their games. Such fees, the argument goes, would help the leagues police against efforts to sway the outcomes of games.
Marc Edelman, a law professor at the City University of New York's Baruch College, expects other professional leagues to join in the lobbying efforts.