What does May 14 mean to you?
Sure, it’s the birthday of Star Wars creator George Lucas. In addition, May 14 was the date Lewis & Clark embarked on their famous expedition to “discover” the American West, and also the date when the first game of rugby was played.
But that’s not why May 14 is special for gamblers. This year, once again May 14 is “Free To Bet Day” to honor the anniversary of the date that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed. On May 14, 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of New Jersey, declaring PASPA unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision from the highest court in the land.
The landmark ruling paved the way for legalized sports betting in the United States. In the three years since New Jersey won their case, 25 (or 24?) states have legalized sports betting including Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, and several more like Arizona, Maryland, and New York are poised to launch during the NFL season.
To celebrate the repeal of PASPA, DraftKings Sportsbook will offer free bets:
What Was PASPA?
President George H.W. Bush signed PASPA into law in 1992, and it went into effect the following year. Ironically, PASPA did not ban sports betting, because sports betting was already legal in some states. Instead, the law prohibited the regulation of sports betting (except for the few states that leady had it).
Previously, only Nevada allowed statewide gambling on sports. Three additional states (Delaware, Montana, and Oregon) that allowed limited sports betting were grandfathered in.
In 2017, New Jersey challenged PASPA and won, which has led the way to regulated sports betting, both in-person (retail) and online.