An optimistic Poker Players Alliance is saying that Monday’s Supreme Court decision overturning the federal ban on sports betting will positively impact lawmakers when it comes to online poker legislation.
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), a federal law that banned sports betting in all but four states, paving way for individual states to determine legality.
Online poker and sports betting are now in a similar position where both forms of gambling are legal at the federal level. But so far, only four states have passed legislation that legalizes online poker.
For most states, it will take many months if not years before sportsbooks begin popping up, but the process will likely move along quicker than it has for internet poker. Only three states (Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware) currently have licensed poker sites, seven years after Black Friday with Pennsylvania soon to be added to the list.
Currently, Nevada is the only state with legal sportsbooks in operation, but most experts predict New Jersey and Mississippi are weeks away from taking wagers.
The Center for Gaming Research at UNLV projects more than 30 states could have legal sports betting within five years, half of which could be taking bets within two years.
Riding Sports Betting Coattails
PPA President Rich Muny has been on the frontlines of the war against online poker for many years, tirelessly working to convince lawmakers to pass legislation on behalf of poker players and the poker industry. The process has been slow and frustrating, but he believes that Monday’s ruling was also a win for the poker community.
“This is a great decision for consumers who for years have had no alternative to wager on sports other than the black market,” Muny said in a press release. “It presents states with the perfect opportunity to establish sensible policies not only to regulate sports wagering, but also other forms of gaming, including internet poker.”
Muny said lawmakers must make it a priority to protect consumers, “whether you’re betting on sports or playing poker.”
“It makes sense for states that are eyeing sports betting to also realize the benefit of regulated iPoker and iGaming,” the non-profit executive opined.
“Now more than ever, states should take control of unregulated internet poker and sports betting,” Muny said, “and create systems that protect adult consumers and provide governments with new streams of revenue.”
Following a survey that concluded more than 68 percent of its members also wager on sports, the PPA recently joined the fight for sports betting legislation, a decision that angered some of its faithful poker-playing members. The non-profit organization continues encouraging lawmakers of online poker’s benefits, however.
Forgotten in the excitement following yesterday’s SCOTUS ruling is the man who is most responsible for PASPA being overturned: the often criticized former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
A great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions. New Jersey citizens wanted sports gambling and the federal Gov't had no right to tell them no. The Supreme Court agrees with us today. I am proud to have fought for the rights of the people of NJ.
— Chris Christie (@GovChristie) May 14, 2018
Christie, who left office in January after eight years as governor, has been fighting since 2010 to make sports betting legal in his state at casinos and racetracks. If not for the former governor, who is a former prosecutor, taking his case up with the Supreme Court after a district court struck down a bill he signed into law in 2012 that would have legalized sports betting in New Jersey, chances are PASPA would still be the law of the land.
After another failed attempt to bring sports betting to the Garden State, Christie brought his case to the Supreme Court and won. As you may have expected, Monday was a great day for the controversial former governor.