For over two decades, bets certainly have been placed on sporting events within the United States. However, the passing of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA) means that such bets were placed illegally. Many offshore entities or organized crime syndicates were responsible for facilitating these types of wagers, and the underground industry thrived.
Based on information from the American Gaming Association, the illegal betting industry brings in approximately £108 billion each year. With the exception of just a few states, the whole country saw sports betting outlawed with PAPSA, but now the landscape might be changing.
The state of New Jersey has put forth a legal challenge in regards to PAPSA, and the US supreme court is hearing the case. Although the outcome is uncertain, industry experts suggest that New Jersey will emerge victorious and PAPSA will end up being repealed.
British Bookmakers Looking Forward to the Decision
The decision should occur before the month of June is over, and British bookies are chomping at the bit to seize the opportunity. Sharing the same language as the US and with years of experience in a more lenient gambling market, the UK is poised to quickly enter new territory.
Online casino and sports betting provider William Hill already has a leg up on the competition. The firm currently runs betting operations in the state of Nevada, home to the gambling mecca of Las Vegas. William Hill owns more than half of the sportsbooks in the state. It has also expanded into New Jersey and is ready to take bets in partnership with the Monmouth Park racecourse. While the US gambling industry is still in its infancy, William Hill believes that the country could end up being the most profitable region in the world.
Paddy Power Betfair may not be as dominant as William Hill, but the company does have a US presence. There are more than 300 individuals on staff in the US who are employed by Paddy Power Betfair. The company also has a dedicated television network that broadcasts racing events. It is able to do so by way of a loophole in the PAPSA regulations. This “foot in the door” could be the foundation for Paddy Power Betfair to gain strength in US markets as new states begin to adopt legal forms of gambling.
Two more gambling firms, GVC and Ladbrokes, are in the process of completing a merger that is worth £4 billion. At the present time, neither company has a very strong presence in the United States. However, their combined experience in the industry will make it easy for becoming a prominent force in the market.
Of course, everything depends on what the supreme court decides. While the outcome could be favorable for bookies, another result would dash the hopes of UK gambling firms. The court may decide to make an exception for sports betting in New Jersey along, which would delay the opportunities for a nationwide industry. Such a decision will likely cause further legal action from other states, leading to a drawn out process.