What’s next for sports betting?

May 24, 2018 10:18 AM

Now that the celebrations of the Supreme Court’s ruling that PASPA is unconstitutional are settling down, it is time to look forward as to what happens next for sports wagering.

Sadly, in the ruling that overturned PASPA, the majority of justices did not follow Justice Thomas’ opinion that sports wagering within the boarders of a state are the state’s exclusive jurisdiction, but the majority in essence ruled PASPA failed because Congress over reached by putting the burden of enforcement on the states.

This is important to keep in mind as it leaves the door open for Congress, if so motivated, to come back and fix PASPA, or adopt some other national laws concerning sports wagering, or pass laws sponsored by the sports leagues. But, until Congress passes new laws on sports wagering, if ever, legislation and regulation, for the time, being is back in the hands of the states.

Some states in anticipation of the ruling passed permitting laws, others are now putting permitting laws on the fast track and of course there will be some states that will never permit sports wagering. But it is safe to say the majority of the states will permit some form of sports wagering in the not too distant future.

Unfortunately all those state laws will not be homogenous, there will not be a cookie cutter mold for the states to follow and as each state’s motivations are different, taxes, structures, permitted activity, regulations; governing authorities will be all over the place. Some states will allow sports betting through their lottery organizations, some through race tracks and others will go to the sportsbook-in-casino model, all likely to permit online sports wagering in some form or another.

The online betting will beg new questions for regulators. Let’s say California, New York and Florida all permit some form of online sports wagering. Will I as a Nevada resident be able to bet into their pools if I am betting online from my living room? Will Nevada permit it? Will those states permit it?

Currently Nevada requires verification that the betting person is within the borders of the state to be permitted to make a bet. If sports wagering is no longer a Federal “no-no,” should Nevada care where the bet comes from?

The Federal Wire Act permits information for wagering purposes to be transmitted from one legal jurisdiction to another. So, if California permitted sports wagering could I have an online California sports betting account and a Nevada sports betting account?

Or if the majority of the sates adopt sports wagering, should the Wire Act be revised and brought up to date, or simply tossed by Congress as being antiquated? Why should anyone care where the bettor is sitting when they make the bet if it is being made into a legal and regulated online sportsbook?

While legal sports betting will be a new opportunity for national gaming companies, a boost to their marketing and gaming revenues, it will also be a boost to the providers of sportsbook systems, linemakers and sports information service providers. Of them all, the sports information providers are likely to see the best benefit as all bettors want information to improve their chances.

If we were to compare sports betting with the stock market, what informed stock trader does not subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, or Bloomberg to get information?

Conversely, as sports wagering spreads outside the Nevada borders, fantasy sports are likely to see their ranks and demand for leagues start to erode over time as why bother to work so hard on fantasy when you can legally bet the real thing. Similarly, as sports wagering will no longer be a unique offering, there will be a lessening of the need to come to Nevada to make sports wagers.

These impacts will not take place over night but will start being felt as other jurisdictions allow unrestricted sports wagering and their regional casinos start hosting Super Bowl parties and March Madness events.

Sports wagering events will not disappear from Nevada casinos, but as time goes by competing demand is inevitable and will have varying impacts. The new competition will also likely create new variations of promotions and betting tournaments to help existing books keep or grow their share of the market place.

As a bettor, I must admit I look forward to the expansion of sports wagering. I look forward to getting access to sportsbook lines and betting options in other legal jurisdictions, especially during this new era of sports betting expansion. There will be many books opening and pending where they are based and prior to a smart network of books laying off with each other being developed we are likely to see greater line changes and spread differences among jurisdictions.

Think about it, a sportsbook in New York will likely find themselves a bit heavy on bets on the Yankees while a book in Los Angeles will be a bit heavy on the Dodgers, prompting betting lines, money lines or pointspread gaps that might provide an opportunity or two for a disciplined sports bettor.

No matter what, for the time being, and thanks to the Supreme Court, good times are coming for sports bettors, sportsbook operators, sportsbook staffs, sports information providers and sportsbook system providers.