Outside of a few specific cases like casinos on Native American reservations—sovereign property of the relevant tribe that is protected by the federal government’s National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC)—the United States government has largely left the issue of monitoring and regulating mobile and in-person casinos to the state governments.
The Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 in May of 2018, with the conservative-leaning Roberts Court ruling that the issue of legal sports gambling should be left up to the voters and individual state governments. Conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion and harped on the issue of states rights, saying that “it is as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals…a more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine.”
The next major sports gambling event approaching is the 2023 NCAA Tournament: with 67 hectic games and upsets galore across three weeks, the allure of filling out a perfect bracket spurs a flood of wagers in states where betting on college sports is legal.
Most of the sportsbooks had The Houston Cougars as the favorites to cut down the nets in April as of February 14, listing them at +600 to win March Madness this year! And you can take advantage of the WynnBET Promo Code before making your bets. They’ve won both games since then and retained their hold on the top spot in the AP Poll, so those odds have probably remained pretty steady.
Updates on the Federal Government’s Push to Legalize
With the federal government now effectively powerless to regulate the gaming industry in individual states following the 2018 Supreme Court ruling, senators opposed to the industry have been vocal about their qualms, although their responses have been largely toothless.
US Senator Richard Blumenthal (D, Connecticut) wrote a letter to casinos represented by the American Gaming Association demanding that they stop advertising on college campuses in late 2022.
Another vocal critic has been New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who opposed the Roberts Court’s ruling almost from day one. Schumer co-authored a bill with now-deceased Utah Senator Orrin Hatch in 2018 that attempted to give the power to legalize sports betting back to the federal government. Despite its bipartisan origins, the bill never caught on. Following Hatch’s retirement in 2019, former presidential candidate and fellow Utahan Mitt Romney stepped in to back Schumer, but again the bill went nowhere.
Schumer’s efforts have died down considerably since those early failures, but the Brooklyn native may have a successor (albeit one who is 18 months older than he is). Democrat Paul Tonko, who represents New York’s 20th District in the US House of Representatives, recently introduced a bill that would ban all online and electronic advertisements for sports betting, perhaps setting his sights lower and proposing less drastic measures in an attempt to garner more support. Whether Tonko’s less ambitious suggestions gain any traction in the lesser house of Congress remains to be seen.
While most of the federal government’s reaction to sports betting has been in favor of increasing regulations, state governments have largely taken the opposite approach.
Updates on State Government’s Push to Legalize
The push to legalize sports betting in states that are currently holding out has picked up steam in recent months. Many of the holdouts are in traditionally red states, with the vein of social conservatism causing voters and legislators alike to shoot down any laws that are proposed.
One place where that’s starting to change, however, is the American South: sports are a way of life down there with powerhouse teams like the University of Georgia and Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide, and there’s a roaring market just waiting to be tapped into because of this.
Georgia state lawmakers don’t want to waste any time in getting sports betting off the ground. They’ve recently taken steps to legalize sports betting without having to jump through all the hoops it would take to amend the state constitution, attempting to use the loophole of the state lottery to force legislation through.
Mississippi was one of the first states to legalize in-person sports betting at casinos, but they’ve long been resistant to the idea of doing so with apps. That could change soon, as a bill to study the implications of mobile sports betting using a task force overwhelmingly passed the state House of Representatives 140-4.
Sports gambling is an issue where voters on either side of the aisle have found common ground: voters in the state of California, traditionally seen as a bastion of left-wing opinions in the United States, have repeatedly shot down attempts to legalize the endeavor.
Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay
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