Online sports betting is illegal in the United States. This does not mean that a better in the States cannot place online sports bets. What it does mean is nobody in the United States may operate a sports betting site. Why is sports betting online illegal in the US?
What one must understand about American politics is that it takes money to be elected to office. Big businesses donate (or even bribe) candidates to take care of their interests once in office. When you have a near monopoly on a business such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, you have a lot of money to spend to make sure others do not move in on your territory. So Vegas casino owners can spend tons of cash to make sure certain laws stay on the books, such as the Wire Act of 1961.
The Wire Act of 1961 made it illegal to place bets over the telephone. Of course the lawmakers couldn’t have seen the internet coming. What will it take to get internet sports betting and online casinos legal in the United States?
One thing it will take is public demand. If a politician feels like there are enough votes to be had in making it legal, then it will happen. One thing politicians covet more than money, is votes. They cannot stay in power without votes.
Another thing that gives those who want legal sports betting hope is President Donald Trump. Trump ran for President with his own money. He didn’t need a ton of money from donors who would then expect favors from him. Trump is also a business man. He’s a very successful businessman. If he believes legal sports betting is good for the country, (aka job creation), he will be on board.
But, Trump was as we all know, a casino owner at one time. So he also knows the business from the side of the casino owners point of view.
Here is an interview he did with Jim Gray on the subject:
GRAY: “You know quite a bit, as a former casino owner, and you have a particular insight — today an estimated $5 billion will be wagered, $4.8 billion, unregulated and untaxed illegally. What is your position and thoughts on making sports gambling legal nationwide?”
TRUMP: “Well, what I’d do is I’d sit down with the commissioners. I would be talking to them, and we’ll see how they feel about it. Some would not want it, and probably others — and I’ve read others maybe do. But I would certainly want to get their input and get the input from the various leagues, and we’ll see how they feel about it. I’d also get the input from lots of law enforcement officials, because, obviously, that’s a big step.
“So we wouldn’t do it lightly, I can tell you. It will be studied very carefully. But I would want to have a lot of input from a lot of different people.”
There is a lot of money to be made in taxes and fees if sports betting were legal. Right now, billions of dollars are going overseas and billions more are being bet illegally, which means the government makes nothing.
With the legalization marijuana in many states, there is certainly hope for online sports betting. In recent years we’ve seen many things legalized that people would not have thought possible only a few years ago. So online sports betting surely has a good shot.
Within the past few years we’ve seen the Daily Fantasy Sports industry boom. Then we predictably saw politicians go after the business in many states, saying it was online gambling and therefore illegal. But when all the legal battles are over, we will still have some sort of legal Daily Fantasy Sports in the US, because there is money to be made, and therefore taxed. Once that is deemed legal, it should be very difficult to say it is legal to bet on players performance online in the United States, but not their teams.
The NBA is requesting that sports betting be made legal in the United States. The league wants 1% of all bets placed on its games. This could generate massive sums of money for them and the other pro sports leagues.
This is a huge flip on pro sports stances on sports gambling in the past. Perhaps afraid of being burned like Major League Baseball was in 1919 when the World Series was fixed by gambling interests, sports leagues have not wanted anything to do with legalized betting for decades.
But now the NHL has a franchise in Las Vegas, the NFL’s Oakland Raiders are set to move there in two seasons and now, the NBA is on board officially with legal betting.
So with President Trump saying that he is going to sit down with the League Commissioners to feel them out, and we know the NBA’s position, it could happen soon.
Of course, Trump and the NFL are not exactly on speaking terms these days, with Trump’s stance on players kneeling for the National Anthem. His remarks that players should be fired for their protests has strained his relationship with the NFL and its Commissioner, Roger Goodell. So these meetings may not happen in the very near future.
But if the NFL sees the NBA raking in a huge windfall, then perhaps they will make nice with the President.
As we can see, it takes quite a bit to change the law in the United States. As with most laws, some people will be happy while others will be hurt with the change. This is why it takes a lot of time and even perhaps court battles or congressional votes to get it done. Casino owners will lobby against the change and the black maret will also fight against it as well. But in the end, if the public demands it, it will likely get done. And with a president in office that is not in the back pockets of the casino lobby, it could speed it up.