Numerous things attract people to sports betting as a form of entertainment. It’s now more accessible thanks to the internet and apps. Furthermore, it gives people the chance to feel excited about the potential to win and lets them grow their knowledge of the sports associated with betting in the process.
Regulations and restrictions have historically made it difficult for sports betting to gain momentum. But that’s changing due to many relatively recent events, including some of particular interest to people in the legal sector.
U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Sports Betting Prohibition
In the spring of 2018, the United States Supreme Court did away with a law that banned sports betting in most states. The law, passed in 1993, allowed Congress to forbid states from making choices about the authorization of sports betting. Now, each state can make individual decisions to allow gambling or not.
Some state representatives believe permitting gambling in their locations will drive tourism and revenue. Many of them are investigating ways to begin offering both on-site and online betting to provide interested people with choices while giving states opportunities to profit. Lawyers can be advantageous for clients who want to provide betting sites and do it fully under the law.
Americans Are Already Embracing Sports Betting
If you’re under the impression that the majority of Americans still need to warm up to the idea of sports betting, it’s time to reconsider. You may be surprised at how the pastime gained popularity despite not yet being widely available.
In one example, the most recent March Madness tournament was a huge hit with sports betters in the United States. A report found that 47 million Americans would bet nearly $8.5 billion during the series of games.
Another study showed that even if Americans haven’t tried sports betting yet, most agree it’s okay. A June 2018 poll showed 60% of Americans approve of betting on professional sports. That suggests they’re open to it whether or not their states currently offer the possibility.
More States Taking Steps to Make Sports Betting Legal
Following the previously mentioned Supreme Court decision that found a federal ban on sports betting unconstitutional, numerous states began the process of attempting to make sports betting legal.
In early May, Montana legalized sports betting. But, the laws there are stricter than you might expect. For example, New Jersey now allows betting anywhere in the state’s borders. But in Montana, bettors must stay within the confines of a venue licensed as a betting location.
Ohio, Louisiana, and Illinois are among the states still deciding what action to take, and many of the proceedings are still in the preliminary stages. But the fact that legislators are making moves is promising for sports betting enthusiasts. This is also an excellent time for state representatives to start forming legal teams to ensure they do everything by the book.
One of the best practices for building or maintaining a legal team is to communicate its value to others in an organization, such as C-suite members. At the state level, this might mean discussing how catastrophic things could become in this new territory without legal guidance.
Similarly, legal representatives should use this time to get educated about the status of sports betting in the states where they practice and stay abreast of the developments. Then, they can deliver the kind of specialized assistance that their clients want—and possibly grow their practices, too.
Technology Helps Make Sports Betting Possible and More Enjoyable
In some places, online betting allows people to place bets online as long as they do so—and reside—in the states that have legalized gambling. Then, they can engage in the activity at any time of day without the need for travel.
In January 2019, however, the Department of Justice reversed its stance on the Wire Act and barred interstate wire transfers, such as those that happen when people place bets online. It’s too early to say how that could affect online gambling, especially since several states with legal gambling filed lawsuits in response.
The solution could be that the places allowing gambling on the premises utilize technology such as geofencing to ensure that bets only come from people within the defined region. Montana already takes that approach, and it could become even more necessary depending on what happens with the Wire Act.
People should keep in mind that technology could be instrumental in allowing legal betting to occur without creating hassles for those who want to participate in it. Outside of geofencing, sports betting companies are investigating new technologies that could allow jurisdiction-free wagers, plus options to place bets on the blockchain. It’s also possible that virtual reality (VR) could come into play as people decide which athletes deserve their bets.
As any new technologies come to the forefront, it’s smart for your law firm to determine how or if they impact sports betting and the other issues you deal with while helping clients. This will help you apply your expertise in current and relevant ways.
Hopeful Developments on the Horizon
Things are looking up for the sports betting sector in general. As technology improves and people get opportunities to participate in sports betting in more states, the industry should continue to gain prominence. Forward-thinking legal professionals can also use such progress as a reason to stay abreast of legal ramifications and position themselves as well-equipped to serve clients.