[toc]New Jersey, gambling and 2018 are all tied together by six letters: SCOTUS.
The Supreme Court of the United States will decide sometime in late spring or early summer about NJ’s appeal for the legalization of sports betting. It would amount to the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
And with that anticipated repeal — many experts are convinced NJ will win — the landscape of gambling in the US will change dramatically as doors start to open.
Quick background on New Jersey’s sports betting case
Throughout the past decade, New Jersey lawmakers have on several occasions passed legislation that would pave the way for legalizing sports betting.
However, the existing law — PASPA — essentially prohibits states from adding new sports betting legislation.
Part of the original intent of the law was to curb illegal betting by halting legal betting. The law wasn’t quite as stark because of one provision: States had one year to legalize sports betting.
You could argue that one year wasn’t enough to build the support needed to pass such a law or referendum, making that more of a fairy tale than a reality.
But, what’s often lost in these arguments is that, at the time, the majority of Americans were opposed to the legalization of sports betting.
A PASPA repeal could open the way for online gambling
While America may have been opposed to sports betting in the 1990s, recent polls show that, for the first time since the implementation of PASPA in 2013, Americans were in favor of sports betting.
That public sentiment, along with the support of politicians and pro-sports administrators, has led many to believe SCOTUS will rule in favor of NJ.
And when that happens, there’s a good chance that sports betting will open the way for multiple platforms of online gambling.
David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, told the Associated Press he thinks the proliferation of online gambling in the wake of a PASPA repeal is inevitable.
“If we win sports wagering, online gaming will go to every state that adopts sports betting,” he was quoted as saying. “As soon as sports wagering is legalized, online gambling will follow right behind it.”
NJ online gambling sites will be sports betting Petri dish
The logic behind Rebuck’s conclusion is simple. We live in the internet age; sports betting means that individuals will be able to bet at brick-and-mortar locations as well as online.
If online sports betting sites exist, then it will be natural to expand that to online table games and slots. States would, moral issues aside, have a hard time saying no to added revenue as Pennsylvania has proved in the past year.
There is enough evidence in New Jersey to indicate that Rebuck’s prognostication about NJ online gambling and sports betting is anything but premature.
MGM has already announced that they’re beginning construction on a $7 million sports book at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
We expect that online sports betting operators will publicize their plans for New Jersey as the SCOTUS decision draws closer and afterward, in the event it passes. Online gambling operators were quick to make plans for sites in Pennsylvania following the state’s new gambling expansion laws.
In truth, there is no way to predict with certainty what SCOTUS decides. However, past history has shown that breaking the legislative dam results in a quick, profitable influx of gambling expansion. And it won’t matter if it’s in states that allow gambling or states that don’t.