The History of Sports Betting Laws in the USA

America seems to be in the habit of banning what they consider dangerous to their citizens. In 1920, when the 18th Amendment took effect, the government decided to make the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages illegal. While it did spur on an initial declined in drinking, it quickly gave rise to a black market that was being run by criminals. Consumer protection was lost and dangerous chemical additions to home brewed alcohol gave rise to severe health problems. The Prohibition Era lasted 13 years, before the 21st Amendment nullified the 18th Amendment in 1933, repealing the ban on alcohol.

Another prohibition that was put on yet another American pastime was the ban on sports betting. This was enacted in the form of a federal law; the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992. The law made the business of bookmaking illegal in all but a handful of states and lasted for 26 years; twice as long as the alcohol ban.

Much like with alcohol during the Prohibition Era, those who wished to bet on sporting events outside of Nevada simply turned towards the thriving black market in the country. The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates that close to USD $150 billion worth of bets are placed with these unauthorised off- shore operators annually.

On the 14th of May, the era of the sports betting ban also came to an ended, with a decision from the Supreme Court. The judges ruled 6 – 3 in favour of striking down PASPA, opening the doors to widespread legal sports betting all across the country.

A series of events over the last three decades led to the implementation and the subsequent repeal of the sports betting ban.

Pete Rose Gambling Scandal

On the 24th of August 1989, Major League Baseball commissioner, A. Bartlett Giamatti, releases a 225- page report detailing Pete Rose's gambling scandal. He also issued a ban for the all -time hits leader from baseball.

Pete Rose was banned from baseball for betting on games while he was a MLB manager. The rule against gambling in baseball is known as “Rule 21,” It states that “any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever on any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”

Giamatti said in the statement that the lifetime ban on Rose was a sad event in baseball history. He said, “The banishment for life of Pete Rose from baseball is the sad end of a sorry episode. One of the game's greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game, and he must now live with the consequences of those acts. By choosing not to come to a hearing before me, and by choosing not to proffer any testimony of evidence contrary to the evidence and information contained in the report of the Special Counsel to the Commissioner, Mr. Rose has accepted baseball's ultimate sanction, lifetime ineligibility.”

PASPA Issued

On the 3rd of January 1991, House Bill HB- 74: the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), was introduced in the House of Representatives. The companion bill, Senate Bill 474, was released a month later, backed by prominent U. S. Senator, Bill Bradley, who was also a former NBA player. The bill also had the support of the NCAA and major professional sports leagues in the country.

Senator Bradley said in an academic paper that sports betting belittled athletes and the integrity of game.

He said, “Athletes are not roulette chips, but sports gambling treats them as such. If the dangers of state sponsored sports betting are not confronted, the character of sports and youngsters' view of them could be seriously threatened.”

A year and a half later, on the 2nd of June 1992, The U. S. Senate voted 88 – 5 in favour of passing PASPA. The House of Representatives followed this with a voice vote, which is something that normally takes place after a bill receives overwhelming support in the Senate.

Tom McMillen, who was a U. S. Representative at the time and a former NBA player voted for PASPA. He recalled that it was right after the Pete Rose scandal was exposed, so people were vastly in support of putting an end to that kind of behaviour.

He said about the voting process that “it was very non- controversial.” He also added that “it was right in the Pete Rose aftermath.” The federal bill, as per protocol, was sent to the President of the country at the time, George H.W. Bush for approval. On the 28th of October 1992, He signed PASPA into law.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which is also knowns as the Bradley Act has been in effect since 1992. PASPA aims to stop the spread of sports betting in the USA. Under the federal law, only four states could continue with their practices of sports betting. This was because it had already been written into their laws at the time PASPA was issued. The states that are allowed to offer sports betting include Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana. Any new states wanting to legalising sports betting would face certain restrictions. The law still prevents most forms of sports betting around the country.

PASPA makes it unlawful for “a government entity to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorise by law or compact, [one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate, or are intended to participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games.]”

Secondly, under PASPA, it is unlawful for a person to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, pursuant to the law or compact of a government entity, a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based, directly or indirectly (through the use of geographical references or otherwise), on one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate, or are intended to participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games.”

Illegal Sports Gambling Takes to the Internet

In early 90’s, with the slow growth of interest in the internet, there was a slow rise of illegal online gambling. A team of researchers at the University of Illinois introduced a piece of software called Mosaic on the 20th of February 1993. This eventually became Netscape, the first popular internet browser available to the public. Soon after, underground bookmaking operations took their business to the internet. This led to the rise of the unlawful offshore sports betting industry that illegally served U. S. players

Nevada Gambling Industry Thrived with PASPA in Effect

The first year after PASPA was implemented, Nevada's regulated sports- betting market reported record high number of bets on games. In 1993, casinos in Nevada reported total drop on sports betting to be USD $2 billion. It was the first time they broke the USD $2 billion mark in a single year.

Arizona State Point Shaving Scandal

Around the same time, a sports betting scandal started to take shape. This was when Arizona Sun Devil’s Star Guard – Stevin “Hedake” Smith met Benny Silman. Silman was a student from Arizona State University and also a known bookmaker. Smith used to regularly place bets with Silman on professional hockey and football matches, but unfortunately, with his losing streak, at one point he had racked up a debt of USD $10,000 that he could not pay. As a way to pay him back, he agreed to fix four games for Silman.

Silman offered Smith USD $20,000 for each game he fixed. Knowing he would not be able to pull this off alone, he asked his teammate, Isaac Burton, to miss free throws at the end of the game if it came to that.

On the 27th of January 1994, Arizona State hosted Oregon State in a Pac – 10 college basketball game. It was the first of four games that were later found to be fixed for gambling purposes.

National Gambling Impact Study

On the 3rd of August 1996, President of the U. S. at the time, Bill Clinton, establishes a commission to study the social and economic impacts of gambling in the country.

He said in a statement when announcing the commission that often legislators were so blinded by the large revenues gambling could bring in that they overlook the social ills of the activity. Gambling brought with it a heavy cost to society in other forms and the commission was established to look into that.

Clinton said, “The Commission will help draw attention to the growth of the gambling industry and its consequences. Too often, public officials view gambling as a quick and easy way to raise revenues, without focusing on gambling's hidden social, economic, and political costs. The Commission will report on all of the effects of gambling to the President and the Congress.”

After a couple of years of research, in 1999, the commission issued the National Gambling Impact Study. They brought the scope of illegal sports betting in the country into the light. The commission estimated that the illegal sports betting market was worth between USD $80 billion and USD $380 billion at the time.

The report states that although most Americans understood the illegal nature of such bets, they were not deterred by any measure from taking part in it.

It read, “Even when Americans understand the illegality of sports wagering, it is easy to participate in, widely accepted, very popular and, at present, not likely to be prosecuted.”

The First Online Sportsbook in the USA

Also in 1996, the first online sportsbook to take bets from U.S. customers, Intertops, opened for business.

Intertops was one of the very first online gambling sites on the internet, with a long history of offering gamblers a safe place to bet. They are now affiliated with Kahnawake Gaming Commission, making them secure and safe.

Boston College Scandal of 1996

On the 26th of October 1996, Boston College, which was expected to take the win, lost a match to Syracuse. Two weeks later, 13 players on the team were suspended for placing bets on college and professional sports, which was a clear violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules.

Two players placed bets against their own team during the game but investigators alleged that they did not spend enough time on the field to influence the outcome of the match they bet on.

Thomas F. Reilly, the Middlesex County District Attorney, said that investigators were satisfied that point- shaving had not taken place.

He said, ”We have found absolutely no evidence, no indication of any game, the outcome of any game, the score of any game … was influenced or compromised in any way by players for Boston College.”

Northwest University Betting Scandal of 1998

Scandal struck next at Northwestern University of Illinois in 1998.  Two former college basketball players, Kenneth Dion Lee and Dewey Williams, were indicted on point match fixing charges during the Big Ten games of the 1994 – 95 season.

Prosecutors alleged that Lee and Williams were each paid USD $4,000 per game to influence home games against Wisconsin and Penn State in an effort to make Northwestern lose by more than the point spread.

On the 27th of March 1998, the two players were sentenced to a month in jail and two years on probation after their release from prison by a federal judge. Former Notre Dame place- kicker, Kevin Pendergast, also pled guilty for paying bribes and was sentenced to two months in prison and two years’ probation. The man who placed the bets, Brian Irving from San Francisco, was also sentenced.

At the time of the scandal, Bill Saum, a National Collegiate Athletic Association's anti-gambling representative, told The New York Times that sports wagering continued to grow in colleges across America despite being illegal and against college athletic rules. He said, “Illegal sports wagering continues to grow and is believed to exist in one form or another on virtually every college campus in America.”

Nevada Sportsbooks Take Wager of College Basketball Game

On the 10th of February 2001, the University of Nevada: Las Vegas hosted Brigham Young University in college basketball game. Nevada sportsbooks were allowed to accept bets on the match. This ended a 40- plus- year ban on wagering on the state schools.

Amateur Sports Integrity Act

Less than two months later, on the 4th of April 2001, U. S. Senator John McCain introduced the Amateur Sports Integrity Act. This bill was aimed at banning all forms of sports betting on college sports, including in Nevada. Thanks to stiff lobbying opposition from the gaming industry, the bill was defeated.

Toledo running back’s Involvement with Gambling and a Decade Long Investigation

On the 21st of December 2005, the University of Toledo faced The University of Texas at El Paso in a GMAC Bowl game. The Toledo running back, Quinton Broussard, fumbled late in the first half. Years later, Broussard admitted in court that he fumbled on purpose in attempt to manipulate the bowl game's outcome, in exchange for USD $500.

Six Toledo student- athletes, including three basketball players and three football players, were ultimately indicted on conspiracy to commit sports bribery charges in 2015. U.S. District Judge, Mark Goldsmith, said that he chose probation over prison for these men because the point- shaving scandal had happened a decade ago and the men had no other criminal charges in their record.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)

On the 13th of October 2006, The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was implemented with support from all the sports leagues, including the NCAA. The bill was designed to specifically target online gambling operations. It “prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.”

The act specifically excludes certain fantasy sports, skill- games and legal intrastate and intertribal gaming. The law does not expressly mention state lotteries, nor does it clarify whether inter-state wagering on horse racing is legal.

Rudy Garcia Arrested for Involvement with Multi- Million Doallar Gambling Conspiracy

Former New Jersey Assemblyman and the Mayor of Union City, Raul Garcia surrendered to the authorities on the 30th of March 2007, after a warrant had been issued for his arrest. This was because of his involvement with a sports betting operation. Garcia was one of eight Hudson County residents, who were charged in a USD $500 million illegal gambling operation. Dozens of other arrests were also made in conjunction with the scandal.

Retired New Jersey Senator, Raymond Lesniak, who has been a key driving force in betting expansion in the state, said that Garcia was a friend of his and this incident sparked his interest in overturning the sports ban in the country.

Lesniak said, “Rudy, a friend and former colleague, was merely placing a bet for himself and a few friends. Charges were ultimately dropped, but it started my challenge to overturn the federal ban on sports betting.”

Tim Donaghy Pleads Guilty on a Number of Gambling Related Charges

On the 24th of July 2007, NBA Commissioner, David Stern, held a press conference regarding gambling allegations against referee Tim Donaghy. Weeks later, Donaghy pled guilty to two felony counts. He admitted that he passed information to professional gamblers and bet on league games, some of which he was officiating. Stern said the scandal surrounding Donaghy was one of the most devastating things he has had to deal with in his long career with the NBA.

He said, “I have been involved with refereeing, and obviously been involved with the NBA for 40 years in some shape or form. I can tell you that this is the most serious situation and worst situation that I have ever experienced either as a fan of the NBA, a lawyer for the NBA or a commissioner of the NBA.”

He also added that he felt betrayed by Donaghy’s actions because it not only harmed the games but also the integrity of the sport and league as a whole. He said, “I feel betrayed by what happened on behalf of the sport regardless of how protective I've been. This is not something that is anything other than an act of betrayal of what we know in sports as a sacred trust.”

iMEGA Files Law Suit

On the 23rd of March 2009, lobbying group – Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA), with the backing of Sen. Lesniak and three New Jersey horsemen associations, filed a law suit against the U. S. Attorney General at the time, Eric Holder, and U. S. attorney for the district of New Jersey, Ralph J. Marra. The suit challenged PASPA on the grounds it unconstitutionally regulated commerce and discriminated against New Jersey and the 45 other states in the country. However, the suit was ultimately dismissed due to lack of standing.

Toledo Student Athletes Involved in Sports Betting Conspiracy

On the 6th of May 2009, six student athletes from the University of Toledo were indicted on conspiracy to commit sports bribery. The conspiracy involved three students from Toledo's basketball team and three from their football programs, as well as two Detroit- area businessmen.

According to the 20- count indictment charges, between December of 2004 and December of 2006, Ghazi “Gary” Manni, and Mitchell Karam paid the athletes in cash and good in order to influence the final score of both football and basketball games. Though the money paid to the players was not that much, this is believed to be the first major gambling case involving two sports on a college campus.

They were all charged in U. S. District Court in Detroit. U. S. Attorney, Terrence Berg, said in a statement announcing the indictment that these charges reflected how much damage illegal sports betting could bring.

He said, “Today's charges shine a light into the dark corner of illegal sports bookmaking and reveals the unfortunate consequences that the influence of money from betting can have on the integrity of both athletes and athletic contests.”

Delaware Governor’s Failed Efforts to Legalise Sports Betting

On the 15th of May 2009, Delaware Governor, Jack Markell, signed a legislation to legalise betting on college and professional sports within the state. However, within two months, the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and the NCAA sued Markell. The sports leagues eventually won in the federal court of appeals. In the early stages of the initiative, NFL attorneys argued that Delaware's sports betting efforts violated the state's constitution because sports betting was a skill- based activity.

NFL lawyers wrote in a 2003 memo, “Sports betting combines both skill and chance, but the element of chance, though perhaps significant, is not ‘dominant. Typical sports bettors gather and analyze information, sometimes in significant quantities, about the nuances of the sports on which the bet.” As a compromise, Delaware proceeded to offer parlay betting on the NFL through the state lottery instead.

Launch of Daily Fantasy Sports with FanDuel

Fantasy sports have been a popular recreational activity in the USA for many decades. It is usually conducted within groups of friends, family members, or workplace colleagues. However, a few years ago, taking advantage of some legal loopholes, FanDuel Plc. popped up and started offering a condensed version of season long fantasy sports contests to customers across the country, connecting interested players from all over the country via the internet. The company offered its first online money contest on the 2nd of July 2009.

Brandon Johnson Charged on Counts of Sports Bribery

On the 11th of April 2011, University of San Diego Guard, Brandon Johnson, who was also the program's all- time leading scorer, was arrested by the FBI because of involvement in a conspiracy to commit sports bribery. He ultimately pled guilty for his role in a handful of games during the 2009 – 10 season.

According to the FBI report, the whole ordeal started with an investigation against a group that was selling weed and running an illegal online casino. After some digging, they unearthed Johnson’s association with the group and the game- fixing.

During the 2009 – 2010 season, former USD assistant coach Thaddeus Brown recruited Johnson to influence the outcome of basketball games in exchange for up to USD $10,000 per game. It is believed that at least four games were “fixed” with Johnson’s assistance. The co- conspirators would often place their bets on the opposition, with Johnson manipulating the outcome, they net more than $120,000.

Blue Monday: BetEd.Com Forced to Shut Down

The 23rd of May 2011 went down in gambling history as Blue Monday, when 10 online gambling domains, including multiple offshore sportsbooks were seized by the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The U. S. government aided a local operation in Baltimore to bust online gambling companies that were in violation of state statutes regarding financial transactions and internet gambling.

Several of the sportsbooks simply changed the extension on their URL, and continued operating. However, one sportsbook, BetED.com, was forced to shut down. This left their players without their funds. The bust occurred after the Department of Justice indicted top executives from the major online poker sites serving the United States: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

The full list of sites that were involved in the sting included Bookmaker.com, 2Betsdi.com, Funtimebingo.com, Goldenarchcasino.com, Truepoker.com, Betmaker.com, Betgrandesports.com, Doylesroom.com, Betehorse.com, and Beted.com.

New Jersey Referendum Shows Support For Legalisation of Sports Betting

In the 2011 voter ballot, New Jersey residents were asked to vote on the issue surrounding legalisation of sports betting in the state. Question 1 on the ballot asked voters to weigh in on whether state legislators should push the federal government to overturn PASPA to allow sports betting to take place at New Jersey’s racetracks and at casinos in Atlantic City. Early reports suggested that the referendum from the 9th of November 2011, had the ‘aye’ votes outpacing the ‘nays’ by as much as 2 to1.

Governor Christ Christie’s First Attempt to Legalise Sports Betting in New Jersey

On the 17th of January 2012, New Jersey Governor at the time, Chris Christie, signed a legislation to legalise sports betting at the state's racetracks and casinos. However, this did not go unnoticed by those opposed to the move. On the 7th of August of the same year, The NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball sued New Jersey Governor. The case carried on for a while, but the sports leagues emerged victorious in the end, leaving New Jersey properties without the right to offer bets on sporting events.

Multi- Million Dollar Sporting Scandal Involving Las Vegas Sportsbook Executives

The sports betting world, both online and in Las Vegas, was shaken on the 25th of October 2012, when 25 individuals were indicted on gambling charges. This included the Owners of Curaco- based offshore sportsbook Pinnaclesports.com, and Nevada bookmaker Mike Colbert of Cantor Gaming. Stanley Tomchin and George Molsbarger of California, and Brandt England of Las Vegas were also named in the indictment as owners of PinnacleSports, one of the most prominent online sportsbooks. Other sportsbooks named in there were PinnacleSports, JazzSports.net, Wager4You.com and Playhera.ag.

The defendants faced charges of enterprise corruption along with various additional charges of promoting gambling, money laundering, and conspiracy. An ESPN source said that this was an extraordinarily large betting circle. He said, “The ramifications of this are huge. The guys involved had to be handling millions of dollars a week.”

District Attorney Brown also said in the release that these people were dealing with large amounts of money. Often money acquired by such means was quickly diverted to other criminal routes.

He said, “The defendants are accused of operating an incredibly lucrative illegal gambling operation, taking in more than USD $50 million in a year and a half. Such unlawfully earned profits are often, and easily, diverted to more insidious criminal enterprises. He also added that this was not a victimless crime, they pose a real serious threat for many who get caught up in it.

Browns said, “Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime. Those who participate in these criminal enterprises often use threats, intimidation and even physical force to collect debts and oftentimes charge usurious interest rates on outstanding debts. In addition to our NYPD and FBI partners, I want to thank our other law enforcement and governmental colleagues and authorities in other states for their cooperation and efforts in this investigation. So massive was the enterprise that only with their assistance could we bring these defendants to justice.”

Las Vegas Sportsbooks Break the 3 Billion Dollar Threshold

The great recession took a toll on Las Vegas revenues for a few years at the start of the millennium, but casinos started to bounce back in 2012. At the end of that year, on the 31st of December 2012, sports betting drop for the year was reported to be USD $3.45 billion. This was the first time that the Nevada sports betting market eclipses the USD $3 billion mark in handle in a year.

DOJ Indicts Legendz Sports for Their Illegal Off- Shore betting Operations

On the 20th of March 2013, The DOJ indicted operators of offshore sportsbook Legendz Sports. Thirty- four people and 23 businesses were named as defendants in an indictment. According to a federal grand jury, the indictment members and associates of the company took part in an illegal online gambling business that drew more than USD $1 billion in bets. The charges include racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy and running an illegal gambling business.

Bartice King, the owner of Legendz was accused of conspiring to run the Internet and phone gambling service first from San Jose, Costa Rica, and later from Panama City, Panama. The company took bets “almost exclusively” from U. S. gamblers and relied on bookmakers based in the U.S. to solicit and accept sport wagers as well as settle debts, Coats and acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Mythili Raman said in the statement.

Auburn University Basketball Team Point Guard Varez Ward Arrested Over Match Fixing Allegations

On the 3rd of June 2013, Auburn point guard Varez Ward was arrested on match fixing allegations. The authorities claimed that he attempted to fix a 2012 game between the Tigers and Arkansas.

Ward was charged on two bribery- related counts. The indictment alleged the former guard conspired with others to “commerce to influence, in any way, by bribery a sporting contest, with knowledge that the purpose of such scheme was to influence by bribery that contest” in January of 2011. Ward was, however, accepted into a pre- trial diversion program and, therefore, managed to avoid conviction.

New Jersey’s First Attempt to Legalise Sports Betting Declines

New Jersey had attempted to appeal against the verdict that was issued on their sports betting case. The decision was issued against them and in favour of the major sporting leagues who did not which to allow the legalisation of sports betting across USA.

However, on the 23rd of June 2014, the Supreme Court declined to hear New Jersey's first appeal in its sports betting effort.

New Jersey Launches Second Attempt to Legalise Sports Betting

After failing to legalise a full menu of sports betting in New Jersey, Governor of the state at the time, Chris Christie, revised the terms and signed a new piece of legislation on the 17th of October 2014, in a second attempt to legalise sports betting at the state's casinos and racetracks.

The state Assembly voted 73 – 4 to pass the bill S- 2460: An Act to partially repeal the prohibitions, permits, licenses, and authorizations concerning wagers on professional, collegiate, or amateur sport contests or athletic events. The Republican governor only waited one day after this before giving the bill its final legislative passage.

Christie said in a statement at the time that he has been a long- time supporter of legalised sports betting and wanted to follow the correct procedures to activate it in his state, especially given that the courts had already ruled against him once on the matter.

He said, “As I've said all along, I am a strong proponent of legalized sports wagering in New Jersey, but given earlier decisions by federal courts, it was critical that we follow a correct and appropriate path to curtail new court challenges and expensive litigation. I believe we have found that path in this bipartisan legislative effort.”

Only three days after the New Jersey Governor signed the sports betting bill into law, on the 20th of October 2014, the major sporting leagues -the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB sued Christie for violation of federal laws. This started another two- year long legal battle.

Adam Silver Writes and Op- Ed in NYT Supporting Sports Betting

A op-ed by NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver’s was published in The New York Times on the 13th of November 2014. In his article, he called on Congress to create a federal framework that would allow states to legalise and regulate sports betting. Silver said, “I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated.”

However when asked if he was pro- sports gambling, he clearly said that he was not but wanted sports betting to happen out in the open, in a regulated environment, instead of through illegal off- shore bookies like it had been happening for a long time.

He said, “One of my concerns is that I will be portrayed as pro sports betting, but I view myself more as pro transparency and someone who's a realist in the business. The best way for the league to monitor our integrity is for that betting action to move toward legal betting organizations, where it can be tracked. That's the pragmatic approach.”

The change in Silver probably began in 2006, when he took over the league's international operations. He spent time overseas growing the NBA's brand, giving him a vantage point to see how legalised gambling worked in other countries. The NBA's shift in position with sports betting also coincided with the league's investment in daily fantasy sports operator FanDuel.

UTEP Basketball Players Dismissed from the Team for Betting on Sports

On the 8th of January 2018, three University of Texas at El Paso men's basketball payers, McKenzie Moore, Justin Crosgile and Jalen Ragland, were kicked off the team for gambling on athletic events. The FBI investigation found no indication of point- shaving, but confirmed that they all participated in gambling on one or more sporting events. However, there's no indication that they bet on their own games.

NCAA rules mandate a year’s ban and suspension in the event of such a misdemeanour, but as the students were all seniors, this violation essentially ended their college career.

MLB Commissioner Changes Stance on Sports Betting

On the 5th of February 2015, the new Commissioner of the MLB, Rob Manfred, confessed to ESPN's Outside the Lines that the legalisation of sports betting needed “fresh consideration.” Manfred said that the nature of gambling has changed over the years and the sports leagues should also update their point of view. He said, “Gambling in terms of our society has changed its presence on legalization,” Manfred said, “and I think it's important for there to be a conversation between me and the owners about what our institutional position will be.”

A few weeks later, he appeared at the MIT Sloan Conference and said in a statement that he was in agreement with Adam Silver on the issue.

The AGA Joins New Jersey in Quest to have PASPA Repealed

On the 11th of November 2015, the board of directors for the American Gaming Association (AGA) took a vote to pursue the repeal of PASPA. Five months later, they created a task force dedicated to sports betting, as the gaming industry unites behind the movement.

Major Sports Leagues Relocate to Las Vegas

On the 22nd of June 2016, the NHL awarded an expansion franchise to Las Vegas. The Vegas Golden Knights became the first major professional sports franchise to be located in Las Vegas in its history. On the 27th of March 2017, the NFL owners voted 31 – 1 in favour of allowing the Oakland Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas. This allowed the first local NFL team for Las Vegas in a long time. Besides fans, bookmakers were also exicted by the prospect of offering bets on a local team.

The Supreme Court Agrees to Hear New Jersey’s Sports Betting Appeal

On the 27th of June 2017, to a lot of people’s surprise, the Supreme Court decided that they would hear New Jersey's appeal for their second attempt to legalise sports betting. Almost six months later, on the 4th of December 2017, the Supreme Court heard the opinions from both sides on New Jersey's sports betting case. Finally almost another half a year later, on the 14th of May 2018, The Supreme Court issued their verdict. SCOTUS decided to strike down PASPA,

The court’s opinion stated that states were now free to offer sports betting under their own regulatory laws if they wished to do so. It said, “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.”

Future of Sports Betting in America

This brings on another era in the sports betting history of the USA. How sports leagues, gambling operators and legislators choose to move ahead with this will determine its future. Many are concerned that it would be extremely important to get the right set of regulations set on in the first instance, with no room for error; while others are more concerned about the financial returns. Quite a few states are ready to get sportsbooks set up at their casinos within the next one to five years. It is most likely to be offered only at land based casinos to begin with and later on over the internet, through mobile and desktop platforms.

Thomas Rijks