Sports betting has long been considered a stigma. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) bans sports betting in 46 states across the nation. There is a growing sense that something will change with sports gambling, as more and more states are pushing legislation and the major professional sports leagues are warming up to the idea of legalization. This feeling has now been quantified thanks to a study published by the Seton Hall Sports Poll out of Seton Hall University.
The study asked respondents the following question: “It’s been said a lot of people bet on sporting events anyway, so government should allow it and tax it. It’s also been said legal betting on sporting events is a bad idea because it promotes too much gambling and damages the integrity of sports. Which comes closer to your view?” 46% of respondents said sports betting should be allowed, while 42% were against the idea. 12% of respondents were undecided. Perhaps the most interesting takeaway from the survey is the fact that 67% of people in favor of sports betting fall within the 18-29 age bracket. This number echoes the sentiment that something is indeed brewing in the world of sports betting.
The biggest issue regarding sports gambling presently is whether states should have the right to implement sports gambling into their economy. PASPA is a federal law and has so far had the final say when it comes to states pushing for the right. New Jersey (which is even mentioned in the survey) has been the most outright in fighting for the right to have sports gambling. They voted in legislation that allowed for sports gambling, circumventing PASPA, but were swiftly shut down via a lawsuit from the major professional sports leagues. New Jersey is currently going through the bureaucratic motions, awaiting word from the Supreme Court on whether they’ll hear their appeal. President Trump also has to appoint a new Solicitor General. Whomever his pick, this will presumably be one of their first cases. The Sutton Hall survey also asked if New Jersey should have been able to pass a law regarding sports gambling. 47% of respondents were in favor.
This survey was released at a pivotal time. 2017 is shaping up to be a monumental year in regards to sports betting. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has spoken recently on how the MLB will look at their relationship with sports gambling, suggesting the league will take positive steps and embrace the industry. Manfred also hinted at the possibility of bringing a team to Las Vegas, the center of sports gambling in the United States. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has expressed his interest in legalizing and regulating the industry. The NFL and NHL are still on the fence, but they have at least acknowledged the issue and the possibility of legalization.
Iowa is one of the states affected by PASPA and Iowa sports gambling is restricted to the use of offshore sportsbooks as a result. These offshore sportsbooks are all legally sanctioned and regulated, but they are hosted online and don’t have any physical sportsbook locations like there are in Nevada. There are several pieces that need to fall into place regarding sports gambling in the US, like the outcome of the New Jersey case, PASPA’s repeal, the appointment of a new Solicitor General and the major leagues fully embracing sports gambling, to name a few, but this Sutton Hall poll shows that the nation is ready to make a change. After 25 years of service, this generation could be the one to repeal PASPA and bring sports gambling to the forefront.