Sports betting across the US

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We would bet our bottom dollar that most Americans who have placed a sports bet have heard of Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PESPA for short. Enacted way back in 1992, it was the Federal law that prohibited sports betting and most forms of gambling for over a quarter of a century in all but 46 of the 50 US states.

In addition to PESPA, other bettors may have even heard of the Federal Wire Act that also had a big impact on gambling in the US. In essence, the Act prevents cross-border sports wagers being made by wire, telephone or online.

As well as these two Acts, there is a more recent Act (passed in 2006, by then-President Bush) The unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, known as the UIGEA for short. The Act was created to keep the U.S. gambling businesses from ‘knowingly accepting payments’ for bets and wagers over the Internet that are ‘unlawful under any federal or state law’. The Act was brought in to try and prevent money laundering which thanks to the new age of the internet and technology were becoming an increasingly growing problem.

So why does all this matter now? Well as of last year the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PESPA) was repealed meaning states were now able to introduce bills to allow legal sports wagering and other forms of gambling in the state. PASPA hit the headlines in a big way back in May 2018 when the Supreme Court shot it down on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. New Jersey was one of the main states pushing to legalize gambling because they saw the massive potential in tax to the state. Those wishing to place a wager were still doing so but were turning to offshore sportsbooks or venturing cross country to places like Las Vegas, or one of the tribal-based land casinos. Effectively, taking the money and more importantly, tax away from the state that could be used to fund state projects.

In June 2018 The Garden State became the first state to start taking legal sports bets. Facilitating in-person wagers at a casino and race track betting windows, as well as via online through laptops and smartphones. The state has paved the way and provided the blueprint in which many other states are now following.

Keen to get in on the action, Pennsylvania soon followed New Jersey in legalizing gambling in the state. Offering up a wide choice of online sportsbooks and casinos, they are drawing keen bettors from neighboring states too. The tax paid in the state by operators is almost triple that of New Jersey and Nevada but this has not stopped a lot of big-name players opening up in the state.

There are still several key states that haven’t regulated for online gaming and gambling……….yet. New York is one of those and that decision is helping nearby New Jersey flourish. While they have approved land-based casinos across the state, mobile wagering is still not legal. It is a widely debated topic in the state and several efforts are being made to push for legalization of mobile wagering, including a number of studies into the effects for the state’s pocket.

Now it has been over a year since sports betting and casino games are legal, we can start to look at their impact and truly see how they have performed. All states that have legalized gambling have seen an increase in betting handle. Why are online sportsbooks and casinos proving so popular? Well, they offer players the chance to play several versions of their favorite games in the comfort of their own home. There’s the live casino experience too with players being able to interact with live dealers so players can even feel like they are at the table, even if they are on the couch. Online gaming is the way forward and 2020 is likely to see the online gaming revolution continue with the opening of more online casinos in the U.S. Many industry experts have said this is just the tip of the iceberg with regulated and legal gambling expected to reach the 2 billion dollar mark and beyond by 2025.

That’s good news for players who love visiting online casinos and trying their luck on games such as blackjack, roulette, and baccarat. It’s even better news for the states as they see the amount received from taxes continue to rise to bring in much needed and appreciated revenue to the states. A lot of this is being spent on infrastructure and improvements within the states. Some of the tax revenue raised will also be used to help protect players, especially those problematic gamblers and those with gambling addictions.

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