In 1992 the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, also known as PASPA, defined the legal status of sports betting in the United States. Ultimately, sports betting was banned in every state, with the exception of a few. Despite this fact, America, as we know it, has become more and more open-minded to new streams of revenue. Here recently, gambling and sports betting seems to have gained special attention from state legislatures. In May 2018, the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, ruling that it conflicts with the tenth amendment of the United States Constitution. Supreme Court case Murphy v. NCAA brought this issue to light. The case focused on states rights. The tenth amendment states that if a law is not explicitly defined in the Constitution, it is to be defined by the individual states. New Jersey found an interest in state-sponsored sports betting and sought to have PASPA overturned.
After the ruling, the flood gates opened. It was clear that New Jersey shared its thoughts with a good number of other states. Mississippi, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Arkansas, Delaware, and even Rhode Island, have all jumped on the bandwagon to legalizing sports betting. A significant number of investments are being made in Oklahoma for future gambling leagues and franchises, and there are many other states in motion to follow the trend.
It seems as if this new age “Gold Rush” will also provide new economic opportunities for professional sports organizations. Teams like the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys have already made deals with WinStar and MGM to be the official gaming partners for their clubs. Sara Slane, Vice President of the American Gaming Association, has estimated an economic growth spurt of about $4.2 billion with the participation of these sports clubs.
In addition to a slew of legislative changes and partnerships, the NFL has showed its support by changing its conduct policy for the players. Now, a professional football athlete can place bets on games not exclusive to football. This could be problematic. Point shaving could become more seductive and tempting in such a gambling liberal environment.
What would happen if gambling ruined the integrity of sports altogether? In the end, integrity is the glue that solders children and fans to their favorite teams. Steroids have been an issue for many years. However, it allowed players to perform better, which made the game more exciting. The impact of gambling could inspire the opposite effect. Games are just not as thrilling when they’re fixed. WWF is a perfect example. When was the last time you watched a wrestling match?
Nevertheless, Americans nationwide are anxious. Some patiently waiting to place their bets. Some may be worried we’ll end up back in the Las Vegas ’70s, living out of a scene from an American movie classic like “Casino”. Others are preparing for a golden opportunity. Only time will reveal the end of this newly discovered chapter in American history.