Get ready for the sports betting boom. In a significant ruling on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal law banning sports betting from most states, opening the door for the sports betting industry in all U.S. states, including a half-dozen that already have laws ready in hopes that the ruling would go their way and another dozen states that have plans to enact their own pro-betting laws in the near future.
The ruling addressed New Jersey’s 2014 state law permitting sports betting by people age 21 or older on all sports except college teams or teams playing in the state, which the court upheld Monday. By a 6-3 vote, the court chose to strike down the federal law banning sports betting in most states in its entirety.
“The ruling takes the U.S. a step closer to legal sports betting in numerous states, possibly even nationwide,” CNBC reports. “Currently the practice is legal only in select places such as Nevada, home to the gambling capital Las Vegas. The current illegal sports betting market is worth billions of dollars annually.”
CNBC notes that several states have plans to get in on the sports betting action if the court ruled their way, including six that have already prepared laws in anticipation of Monday’s ruling: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. At least a dozen others have plans or proposals in the works: California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Carolina.
“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the ruling. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”