At least 11 states are likely to legalize sports betting this year should the U.S. Supreme Court (SC) declare the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional.
The Associated Press reported that sports betting bills are in the cards of at least 18 U.S. states in case the high tribunal rules in favor of New Jersey’s petition.
Citing the latest Eilers & Krejcik Gaming research, the states that are going to introduce sports betting bills this year are Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and California. Both Indiana and Kentucky have already introduced betting bills.
However, the same research showed that only 11 of these 18 states are likely to have a good chance of enacting their betting bills. These states are Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Indiana.
“Assuming a Supreme Court decision or action by Congress permits it, we could see the largest simultaneous expansion of regulated gambling in U.S. history with sports betting in 2018,” said Chris Grove, the company’s managing director, according to the news outlet.
The more “conservative” states—Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii—are least likely to consider enacting sports betting bills, according to the research firm.
The push for legal sports betting in the United States received a boost during an early December hearing after a majority of the Supreme Court justices appeared to agree with New Jersey that PASPA violates the U.S. Constitution’s protection of state’s rights.
The true fate of New Jersey’s sports betting appeal, however, won’t be known until the high tribunal issues its verdict sometime before June. If the long-standing federal ban is lifted, gambling analysts forecast the U.S. sports betting market could bring between $2 billion and $5.8 billion in gross gaming revenue annually within five years.