Sports Betting Coming of Age in America

Since the Supreme Court struck down the laws against wagering on sports outside of Nevada this past spring, Americans are now beginning to gain access to smart phone and online access to placing bets on their favorite sports.


The various states are permitted to set their own gaming rules. New Jersey has made a lot of progress and now allows wagers to be made on smart phones as well as online. You can sit at home with your weekend lineup of games and the sports pages and a cup of coffee while you place your bets on your phone. It is no longer a requirement that you be physically present in a casino to wager. The first legal bet was made by New Jersey governor Phil Murphy wagered $20 on Germany to win the World Cup (they didn’t) and another $20 on the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup in 2019.


Delaware legalized sports gambling beginning June 5 and their governor fared well, winning his first bet of $10 that the Phillies would beat the Cubs. Pennsylvania has at least one petition waiting for the Gaming Control Board to approve from Penn National Race Course and interest being shown by others.


West Virginia has also given the green light to sports bets and they expect to bring in around $5.5 million in tax revenue the first year of operation. And down in Mississippi the sports books at several casinos opened this past summer.


Rhode Island legalized sports betting by putting it in their state budget and New York has legalized it in a patchwork fashion that is expected to expand to a statewide approval in the coming months.


State laws are rapidly changing with many states considering the issue in 2018 and 2019. And the avenues for customers are expanding with companies like 888 Sport US already up and operating.  You can keep track of activities within your home state at web sites like this one.


Do watch out for taxes when you wager. Pennsylvania has a 34% tax on operator revenue plus another 2% tax for local grants. Other states that have not yet passed their legalization statutes may be tempted by such a cash grab even though many gaming experts say this will reduce, not increase, their total revenue as it will send gamers elsewhere to pursue their passion.


Sports betting is destined to be seamless around the world. States and national governments learned from lotteries how profitable gaming is and know it is a tax that brings in few objections from users. Since governments have not proven themselves to excel at cutting spending this is a revenue stream that they need in order to balance their budgets.