American Sports Betting Regulation Could Benefit British Bookies

NJ Chris Christie.

New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie wants to make sports betting legal across the US and, potentially, open up new opportunities for British bookies. (Image: app.com/AP)

America’s sports betting market could soon be open for business across the country after analysts suggest the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) could soon be overturned.

Unlike the UK and Europe, sports betting in the US has long been a source of contention with only four states having the right to offer it legally since 1992.

However, following a battle between New Jersey’s Governor and those in support of PASPA, things could be set to change in the second quarter of 2018.

PASPA’s End Could be Insight

Following the case, analysts at Barclays have concluded there is a “good chance” the federal law will be overturned and states being given the right to offer sports betting if they wish.

“If the US market regulates on a state-by-state basis, we think US land-based operators will need to improve the sophistication of their land-based/online sports-betting platforms. UK-based betting companies are some of the most sophisticated operators globally. We would not rule out the potential for further sector consolidation,” read a recent statement from Barclays.

On December 4, 2017, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared in front of the Supreme Court of the United States in a final bid to repeal PASPA. Alongside the state’s Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Christie has been fighting to make sports betting legal in New Jersey since 2011.

Fighting back against the efforts from the outset has been the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Backed by the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball, the NCAA has argued that the legislation violates PASPA.

A series of court battles have since taken place, with rulings and appeals favouring PASPA. However, as 2017 was coming to a close, Christie took his case to the Supreme Court for another hearing.

This time, the Governor argued that blocking a sports betting bill is commandeering states to accept a federal law.

Reversal Could Boost Business on Both Sides of the Pond

Leaving the legal and political nuances aside, Barclay’s analysts have pointed to a number of factors that could produce a positive result for sports betting fans. Aside from the growth of daily fantasy sports betting reopening the debate, public opinion is now moving away from a ban.

Moreover, President Donald Trump is in favour of regulation, while sports betting across the country could help boost flagging viewing figures.

For states outside of Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon, a new sports betting culture could generate some much-needed revenue. According to Barclays, overturning PASPA could be add as much as $22 billion to the US GDP per annum.

For bookies this side of the pond, the US could quickly become a target market. Operator such as William Hill currently have a presence in Nevada and could use this to expand.

However, before Europe’s leading bookmakers can invade the US, former Paddy Power chief executive Breon Corcoran believes a lot of work will have to be done.

“We think there’s an awful long way to go, from where we are today to a legalised framework for sports betting that’s accessible to offshore operators. We still think sports betting, as we know it in Europe, is a long way away [in the US],” Corcoran told the Irish Examiner.

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