Sports Betting to Provide Tax Revenue for States

The Supreme Court is expected to rule within the next month on whether to allow legalized sports betting across the country, and many states are lining up at the gate to cash in on the possible tax revenue and job creation.

Millions of people regularly wager on college and professional events, from office pools to internet gambling or placing bets with a bookie. It is estimated that about $150 billion in sports bets are placed each year.

Under a 1992 federal law, sports betting is only completely legal in Nevada and partially in several other states. The Supreme Court heard arguments in December in a case brought by New Jersey, which argued the federal law violates principles of states’ rights. A ruling could come as early as this month.

Five states have passed legislation to pave the way for sports betting, and this year at least 17 are considering bills related to such gambling.

However, in Nevada sports betting only brings in about 2% of the state’s overall gaming revenue and in large part that money comes from California visitors.

The current push to legalize sports betting began in 2011, when New Jersey voters approved a state constitutional amendment that legalized sports betting, in part to help struggling casinos in Atlantic City. But when the state passed the law in 2012, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, joined by pro sports leagues, said it violated the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which forbids sports betting except in a few states that were grandfathered in.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, led the fight for expanded sports betting. Current Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, supports the effort, a spokesman said.

Unfortunately sports wagering is being sold as a cure to State fiscal troubles and it will fail in that area. Because of cannibalization of gaming money, no taxation of offshore betting and, the likely over regulation by legislators.

The reason for sports wagering to be legalized is that adults should be able to spend their money as they choose. As for the legislators who think this is a quick fix. I would say to them that they only fix for your State’s fiscal problems would be to vote for new legislators.