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Home » Why 2018 Has Been A Landmark Year in Sports Law

Why 2018 Has Been A Landmark Year in Sports Law

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2018 has been a pretty exciting year for sports fans in the United States. This is the year when one of the most hotly contested pieces of legislation, the PASPA law, has been ruled as unconstitutional.

What is PASPA?

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was first enacted in 1992. According to the law, only those states that already had legislation in place regarding sports betting would be allowed to continue with it. It would be illegal in all other states.

How Did the Law Get Overturned?

The infographic below provided by NJ Games reports that New Jersey was one of the states that had been vehemently opposed to the law. There were several actions brought by the state and others to have this piece of legislation overturned.

However, none of the attempts were successful which resulted in the matter being referred to the Supreme Court in early 2018.

In what some are calling a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional. It further ruled that each state should be able to decide whether to allow sports betting within their territories.

Is Betting Legal in All States Now?

No, each state will need to decide for itself whether or not to allow sports betting. And it bears considering that most states had no legislation dealing with this issue before the law was enacted. So, while there are many states where the legalization process has started, the correct legislation has not been enacted in all of them yet.

And if you are in Utah and hoping to bet on the outcome of your favorite game, you’re going to be disappointed. This is the only state so far to have come out with legislation that prohibits betting.

Why is This Ruling Important for Sports and Boxing Fans?

If you are betting on a boxing match in a friendly wager between you and your friends, then this might be of little interest to you. But the legalization of sports betting is going to affect everyone eventually. Let’s see why.

It Boosts the Economy

$22.4 billion is a lot of money. But that’s exactly what experts predict that sport’s betting will add to the GDP of the United States.

Local economies will be boosted through sport’s tourism, job creation, and the potential to monetize sports data. In general, legalization of this industry is expected to directly or indirectly create 210,000 jobs.

It’s expected that around 87,000 people will find work within the industry itself and that the rest will find work in related industries. Cashiers to take bets, for example, would be considered direct employees. But there will also be a lot of jobs in supportive industries. For example, in the cleaning company that cleans up the cashier’s cubicle.

The Government Will Get its Cut

Of course, the idea of an industry that boosts the local economy and creates jobs is very interesting to the local government. What is even more interesting for them, though, is the boost in tax income as a result.

Prior to legalization, the government is thought to have been losing out on around $8.4 billion in tax revenue in the form of both state and federal taxes.

It Benefits Sports Teams and Boxing Leagues Alike

The NBA and MLB have requested a 1% cut of the proceeds of betting as an integrity fee. They want to use this money to ensure that betting is fair and that games are not rigged.

The next area that sports teams and leagues can benefit from is through the monetization of their data. As they monitor their players’ health and statistics very carefully, they could sell this information to create a new revenue stream for themselves.

This could lead to them having more money to spend on trainers, new players, etc. Hopefully, the upshot will be that the quality of play improves as a result.

What About the Ethical Implications?

Not everyone believes in betting of any kind. That is a personal choice and should you be against this kind of wagering; you don’t have to participate. But think about all the backyard betting that has been going on. Just because it was mostly illegal up to this point didn’t mean that it didn’t go on.

By making it legal, you actually allow for much tighter control over the industry. Controls can be put in place to protect punters and make the process more fair overall.


Whether you’re a punter or not, legalized sports betting is bound to have an impact on your life. Even if your state decides against making it legal, you should still benefit because the federal government’s income is being boosted.

But before you go off to place your first bet, make sure that your state has created legislation making it legal to do so. Many states have begun the process, but only a few have actually completed the process so far.