Sunday, on the way to an NFL game, fans can step into one of the numerous betting parlors that dot each city block here. They can wager on that afternoon’s game (or any NFL) game, such as whether Baltimore will defeat Jacksonville by 3.5 or more points. Or they can play the over/under of 39.5. Or even wager whether or not it will snow in Glasgow on Christmas Day (3/1 yes).
They can even wait until they take their seats inside Wembley Stadium, pull out their smart phones and gamble during live action. All legally. The world will not end. The game will not be cheated.
This is the reality of attending a game in the NFL’s International Series – four here in London, one in equally betting friendly Mexico. Sunday it’s the Ravens and the Jaguars…
Eventually it’s the future in the United States (even outside the Las Vegas Raiders), although when that occurs remains the multibillion-dollar question.
Hopes among gamblers were raised in June when the U.S. Supreme Court surprised many by agreeing to hear an appeal of New Jersey’s challenge of the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The 1992 law essentially bans sports betting outside Nevada but had been upheld by all lower courts. The case will be argued this fall in Washington.
The court agrees to take few cases. At least four of the nine justices must agree just to grant the hearing. That suggests to many that there is movement on the court to side with New Jersey, which is seeking to allow sports wagering at its casinos and racetracks. If they weren’t interested in overturning it, why bother hearing the arguments?
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