By Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editor, [email protected]
It looks like sports gambling may be on its way to Maryland, and every other state for that matter, as the Supreme Court decided Monday to ban laws that prohibit states from legalizing betting on sports.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of ending the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which barred state-authorized sports gambling with the exception of Nevada, the only state that was allowed to govern sports wagering.
“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the opinion.
One research firm has estimated that all 32 states will likely offer sports gambling within the next five years, according to NFL.com, which should generate a lot of money for each state. ESPN reported that more than four billion dollars was legally wagered on sports in Nevada last year; per the American Gaming Association, nearly $150 billion a year is illegally gambled on sports.
While major sporting organizations like the NFL, NBA and MLB have fought against legalization of sports gambling, claiming it would harm the integrity of their leagues, some feel legalization will remove the negative stigma associated with betting.
“More than anything, now it’s you don’t have to be secretive about it,” said Jimmy Traina, a S.I. writer and avid off-shore gambler, according to USAToday. “It’s out in the open now.”