If you're a hardcore fan of sports wagering, you've probably been keeping an eye trained on the hows, whens, and wheres of betting legalization.
You've also probably become somewhat of an amateur lawyer. You might even know the names of the state legislators who hold your betting fate in their hands.
If you're a casual fan, however, you probably aren't aware of the legal wrangling that's gone down over the last couple of decades. Now that we're inches away from legal sports betting availability across most of the country, it's the perfect time to get up to speed on how we got to this point.
To that end, let's talk PASPA.
PASPA is the acronym for the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. In 1992, it was passed by the House of Representatives, then signed into law by then-President George H.W. Bush.
PASPA's aim was to stop the spread of sports betting within the United States. It had been drafted after concerns were raised over the potential expansion of gambling throughout the country.
The Act took no action on states that had already legalized betting. As a result, Delaware, Oregon, Montana, and Nevada were allowed to continue operating their own versions of legalized betting.
For the other 46 states, PASPA was a line in the sand that could not be crossed. That is, until New Jersey disrupted everything.
In 2009, New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak filed a lawsuit with the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. He argued that PASPA discriminated against certain states by only allowing the aforementioned four states to offer sports betting.
The case was dismissed, but over the course of the next few years, New Jersey repeatedly attempted to repeal PASPA. In 2017, the case was accepted by the United States Supreme Court.
On May 14, 2018, SCOTUS ruled in favor of New Jersey, repealing the 25-year-old law by a 6-3 majority.
In its decision, the Court stated that parts of PASPA were unconstitutional, as they removed power from the hands of the states. As a result, the entire act was deemed to be in breach of the constitution. States were then free to set their own laws on sports betting, so long as all betting took place entirely within state borders.
Since the PASPA repeal, a number of other states have joined New Jersey and brought in their own legislation to legalize sports betting within their boundaries, the first six being Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Indiana, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.
It behooves states to move quickly on betting -- legalization creates jobs and cash flow, plus it makes a whole cross-section of the voting public super-happy -- so you'll likely have the ability to wager on your favorite team sooner than you might think.
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