Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Sports Betting: Then and Now

Posted on April 16, 2019 by Aaron Beallor

In the course of less than a year, the world of sports betting in the USA has changed exponentially. Where once, betting on sports on websites like Caesars Casino and sports was illegal, now across the USA, more and more states are allowing people to wager on their favorite teams. Today, we’re looking at sports betting then and now, to see just how far things have come…


Before last May, sports betting was outlawed across the USA as a result of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, a federal act which saw sports betting outlawed for almost two decades. This law was introduced in a bid to preserve the integrity of the sport. Nevada was an exception to that rule, as sports betting laws were already in place. Additionally, sports betting was possible in Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, where they had pre-existing sports betting frameworks and sports lotteries already in place. Despite the ban, it is estimated that around $150 billion was spent in illegal wagers on the Black Market every year in the United States on both professional and amateur sports betting. That’s more than the GDP of Nebraska! Back then, if you wanted to place a legal wager on the Super Bowl or March Madness, you’d have to hop on a flight to Las Vegas…or risk the consequences of placing a bet with an illegal bookie.


In 2012, New Jersey brought in legislature that allowed people to have a flutter at racetracks and casinos within the state but it wasn’t until 2018 that things really shifted when the US Supreme Court struck down a law banning commercial sports betting in most US states. Delaware became the second state after Nevada to implement full-scale sports betting. New Jersey was hot on its heels, followed by Louisiana, Connecticut, Mississippi, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, California, South Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Ohio, New York and West Virginia, who all started drafting bills to legalise sports betting within their states. Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia were the fastest off the bat. In addition, where once the NFL and MLB were resistant to sports betting being legalized, it seems that they are now coming around to the idea.

So, how big can the sports betting industry actually get moving forwards? It remains to be seen, but experts are (conservatively) predicting that it could hit $250 billion in the next few years, bringing it level with the alcohol industry, and overtaking the legal cannabis industry, which is predicted to reach $146 billion by 2025. Watch this space!

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