For most US citizens, the closest they ever got to gambling, especially online, was reading a guide to casino games on their smartphones. But things are set to change in the near future thanks to the relaxation of online gambling laws a few years back and the sports betting legislation more recently. For those of you unfamiliar with the matter, a secular legal battle between the NCAA and the state of New Jersey ended with the Supreme Court repealing the PASPA, the law that forbade betting on sports in the entire USA (except for Nevada) in the early 1990s. States are now free to regulate their own sports betting markets, and some of them already plan to do so.

Although New Jersey was the spearhead of the attack on the PASPA, it seems that Delaware will be the first state to actually regulate sports betting within its borders. “Delaware has all necessary legal and regulatory authority to move forward with a full-scale sports gaming operation, and we look forward to next week’s launch,” Governor John Carney said in an interview on May 31. “We’re hopeful that this will bring even more visitors into Delaware to see firsthand what our state has to offer”. Initially, the casinos in the state will allow punters to bet on “single-game and championship wagering on professional baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf, and auto racing”. The state officials haven’t mentioned college sports, the main driver for sports betting in Nevada, and also haven’t mentioned sports like boxing and MMA.

Does the relaxation of sports betting laws translate to legal UFC betting – and betting on other MMA promotions – in the near future? Well, it all depends on the attitude of the sport’s governing bodies on the matter. Last November, when asked about the intersection of MMA and wagering, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner said the following: “I know offshore there’s betting everywhere. In Nevada, all our fights are put on the board, you can bet on the first fight through the last. Personally, not for the UFC, I am in favor of sports betting around the world, around the country especially”. But remember, this is Ratner’s personal stance on the matter – this doesn’t mean that the UFC is also in favor of sports betting.

Right now, there is no way to know whether the UFC’s fights will be “put on the board” in states other than Nevada. The one thing that’s for sure is that Delaware has already rolled out its sports betting options, and its example will be soon followed by New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania (that recently legalized online poker and casinos), and probably many others. Given the sports betting business’ potential to increase the fans’ interest in sports, it wouldn’t be a surprise for MMA fights to make it on the boards in these states in the near future.

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