To bet on sports legally in the United States, one has to go to Las Vegas, the place filled with big wagers on & by star-studded celebs. There, sportsbooks in casino resorts accept bets on a variety of sports, ranging from football to boxing and even MMA. But this activity could expand to many other states in the US in the coming years – especially to New Jersey, spearheading the fight for the repeal of PASPA and the regulation of sports betting in the United States.

Back in the 1990s, a piece of legislation called the “Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act” effectively outlawed sports betting at a federal level with the intention of protecting the integrity of sports. They were a handful of carveouts – Nevada retained the permission to organize sports pools, and Oregon, Delaware, and Montana could still organize sports lotteries. And this was not an issue back then, as sports betting was not regarded as an acceptable form of entertainment as they are today. But times have changed – and it seems that the laws have to do the same.

There is an ongoing legal battle between the state of New Jersey, fighting to repeal the PASPA and to be able to regulate sports betting inside its borders, and the four major sports leagues of the US trying to prevent it from doing so. But things look a bit different outside of the courtroom, with all four leagues making comments that legal sports betting wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. All leagues except for the NBA have spoken in the favor of sports betting as a way to enhance interest in their respective sports, thus attracting more viewers, more revenues, and more sponsorship money for the teams. And this is just one of the many reasons why betting on sports should be legalized in the US.

The other reason is that people are betting on sports across the US as we speak, with no government oversight whatsoever. The betting ban and the impossibility to handle payments through traditional methods has banished most major betting groups from the US market but left a major “power vacuum” that was used by smaller operators that kept offering such services to locals over the internet. Today, the only people who don’t bet on sports in the US are those who don’t want to. There is a major underground betting industry in the US that legalization could bring to light. Besides, illegal betting operations running amok in the US are a far bigger threat to the integrity of sports than any legal operation – and the stakeholders seem to be realizing this as we speak.

Next year can be an important cornerstone in the quest for legal sports betting in the US. And NFL team Oakland Raiders will relocate to Las Vegas as early as 2019, which might soften the heart of the league toward legal sports betting overall.

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