El Estoque

Sports gambling is now legal, but must be regulated closely

With sports betting now able to be regulated by states, adequate protections must be implemented to protect the vulnerable

Anthony Moll and Daniel Lin

The Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 to be illegal on Monday, in the court case Murphy v. NCAA. Previously, the act barred states from creating laws that regulated sports gambling. With this new ruling, sports betting is now free for states to regulate. Now, states are able to regulated a multi-billion dollar industry that previously operated largely under the table and illegally.

Some have praised the Supreme Court decision, anticipating it will revive the casino industry, generate jobs, and draw revenue from tourism. Government regulations tend to make endeavors such as sports gambling safer and friendlier to the average citizen. And, with the industry coming out from under the table, this ruling will create more channels for the average citizen to get in on the activity. Sports betting will generate over $10 billion nationwide, and would be distributed between local and state governments.

However, now that the government is able to regulate sports gambling, there are many considerations to take into account. The government has a duty to protect its most susceptible citizens. For example, those most impacted by marijuana legalization are those whose lives have been adversely impacted by the war on drugs. In states where marijuana has been legalized, those with marijuana convictions have difficulty overcoming the barriers of entry to the industry. The same thing could conceivably occur now that sports gambling has been legalized. Therefore, it is crucial that those who have been convicted on the grounds of PASPA be granted reprieve from their offenses, to promote equality in a decriminalized sports betting world.

Those who benefit most from this decision are casinos and investors of the industry. Undoubtedly big players of the industry will emerge, which could be a detriment to small businesses that are trying to make headway into the industry. Larger corporations will inform lawmakers on policies that suit them, potentially regulating out smaller players.

Of course, sports gambling itself needs safeguards to protect citizens whose families and livelihoods are most impacted by sports gambling. Gambling can be addictive, and those who are most hurt by its legalization are not businessmen or casinos; average working people are at highest risk of developing addictions to sports gambling. While gambling may be a flourishing enterprise, it will come at a cost. And in the end, somebody will have to pay. This decision could have dire implications for wealth and social inequity. Therefore, it is vital for lawmakers to implement adequate safeguards that will protect innocent, low-income households from potentially predatory actions in the industry.