The Law Forbidding Gambling in the United States

January 8, 2013

Sports’ betting is currently restricted to four of the United States, Delaware, Oregon, Montana and Nevada, but now, almost all states receive revenue from non-lottery gaming, and moves are afoot to open up the market through changes to the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1993. This could enable Cantor Entertainment Technology, a division of Cantor Fitzgerald, the parent of Cantor Index, to become a major competitor in the sports betting market of the country.


The Act was introduced by then-Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey. Two decades later at the age of 68, he said he still believed in the usefulness of the Act. He said that Atlantic City saw sports betting as a panacea, but the city’s real task was to make itself a destination for tourists. He was formerly a basketball star and has a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Once, he was playing in a match where his team was ahead by around five points and the opposition hit a basket. Cheering erupted because the other team had covered the point spread. He said he disliked the idea of being a roulette chip.


The Third Circuit agreed with the Sports’ Leagues interpretation that offering betting on single games in Delaware violated the act. All the major professional sports leagues are part of the plaintiff body – the NCAA, NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL. Bettors are thus obliged to bet on multiple games. Delaware’s governor, Jack Markell, said the state, which has spent thousands of dollars on lawyers, would evaluate its options.


The Sports’ Leagues also filed suit against New Jersey, where the bombastic Governor, Chris Christie had signed a law clearing the way for bets in January. Every state around New Jersey has some form of casino gaming, and profits in the state have fallen as a result. Christie said, “You know, I think we’re going to win.” He said the federal government had no right to allow gambling on sports in certain states and that there was no basis for this. He accepted that there was “a long road ahead of us” but that the state was prepared to fight. The state’s constitution would have to be amended, requiring a referendum on the question which took place on November 8 last year and passed overwhelmingly.


In California, the Senate passed a bill by a vote of 32 to 2 to challenge the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act by allowing bets on single games. Bets would have to be made in licensed gaming establishments by the individual placing the bet, who must be 21 years-old or more. Credit cards could not be used. State senator, Rod Wright, said the situation in New Jersey would be resolved before any conflict arose between California and the federal government and that N.J. Would absorb all legal costs.


The National Gambling Impact Study Commission Report of 1999 stated that illegal gambling could amount to as much as $380bn a year, which many people wish to see taxed.