You've probably heard the big Monday news in the sports world: a Supreme Court ruling has paved the way for states all across the U.S. to allow sports gambling, and it all started locally in New Jersey.
How will this affect you, the sports fan in the Delaware Valley? Let's get into it.
First off, what happened Monday?
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to override a 1992 federal law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which prohibited sports gambling outside of Nevada. The justices said that the law is unconstitutional, ruling in favor of the State of New Jersey, which originally brought the case to the Supreme Court.
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If you want the full context, our friends at NBC News can help. In a nutshell, the ruling means that New Jersey and the other 48 states can join Nevada if they choose to allow full sports betting in their state.
So can I bet on sports in New Jersey now?
Very soon. Establishments in New Jersey have been prepared to take advantage nearly immediately, thanks to the passing of a law in 2014 which allowed sports betting at the state level. That law was the precursor to Monday's Supreme Court ruling, and it can now go into effect because of the Court's decision.
"New Jersey has long been the lead advocate in fighting this inherently unequal law," New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said in a statement, "and today's ruling will finally allow for authorized facilities in New Jersey to take the same bets that are legal in other states in our country."
"Authorized facilities" will mean casinos and race tracks in New Jersey. A call to Borgata in Atlantic City did not yield immediate answers on when sports betting might be allowed, but their horse betting facility certainly looks well-equipped to handle it in the near future. The Press of Atlantic City reports that casinos there have plans to offer "Las Vegas-style" sports betting, which is a sweet sound to anybody who's ever been to Vegas during March Madness or an NFL Sunday.
Monmouth Park in Oceanport seems the most-ready to take quick action here, with the Asbury Park Press reporting that they expect to be ready to take bets by the end of the month. The casinos won't be far behind.
When can I gamble in Pennsylvania or Delaware?
Ultimately that decision is going to be up to those states, and we have an answer from Pennsylvania already: In 2017, the General Assembly passed a bill preparing themselves for today's ruling.
"It is also the intent of the General Assembly to authorize sports wagering when Federal law is enacted or repealed or a Federal court decision is filed that permits a state to regulate sports wagering," the bill said.
Well, guess what happened today? With this legislation already effective in Pennsylvania, it could become one of the first handful of states, along with New Jersey, to take bets. We're talking months to a year on the long end and a few weeks on the short end.
Meanwhile in Delaware, sports betting is currently allowed at three race tracks on an extremely limited basis, regulated by the Delaware Lottery. Bets have been limited to three-team parlays on the NFL only, but it's expected that Delaware will expand that. There is concern there, however, that Monday's Supreme Court ruling could hurt what previously was Delaware's "East Coast monopoly" on sports betting, according to the Wilmington News-Journal.
What will I be able to bet on?
Technically speaking, there are no longer any federal limitations on what bets can and cannot be placed, at least for the time being. Monday's ruling leaves the door open for the United States Congress to put regulations in place, but as of now, those decisions will be left to the states. We can use New Jersey as an example for how states may handle this, though: in the 2014 bill, the state allowed single game bets on all professional sports, but limited bets on college sports to exclude games played in New Jersey or by New Jersey schools. For example, bets would not be allowed on a March Madness game played in Newark, nor would bets be allowed on any Rutgers football game, whether home or away.
For the most part, though, Monday's ruling will open up sports betting all across the country, including across the Delaware Valley.