States Move to Get Ahead of Sports Betting Reform

Sports betting is increasingly getting the attention of state lawmakers. The uptick in legislative activity for traditional sports betting — think point spreads, totals, money lines and prop bets — follows dozens of states that have considered laws specifically permitting daily fantasy sports.

New state laws about sports betting had been largely dormant since the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was enacted. For two decades, PASPA dissuaded states from legalizing sports betting. But that changed in 2012 when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation to permit Nevada-style sports gambling. The NCAA, NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL sued to stop New Jersey’s plan. That lawsuit will now be heard by the Supreme Court.

Despite the lawsuit, additional states have recently moved to introduce legislation that would legalize sports betting. Some of the proposals would only be activated if PASPA is repealed by Congress or overturned by the courts. Other proposals are direct affronts to PASPA and might result in additional litigation.

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