The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, commonly called PASPA, is a prominent federal US sports betting law that makes it illegal for most states to allow commercial or tribal sports betting. Also known as the Bradley Act, PASPA was sold to the states as a means to prevent interstate organized crime, while the public was sold some silly rhetoric about preserving the “integrity” and competitive “fairness” of professional and collegiate athletics. Of course, this morality only went so far. Sin City was exempt.
Actually, four states are exempt from PASPA: Delaware, Nevada, Montana, and Oregon. The US sports betting law has a so-called “grandfather clause” that allowed any state with an existing sports betting industry to continue offering any services that were in effect at the time of PASPA’s January 1, 1993, effective start date. For whatever reason, Nevada is the only one of these four to offer a comprehensive sportsbook menu, although Delaware does allow NFL parlay bets.
Most US sports betting laws (and gambling laws in general) are fraudulent, anti-rights reactionary nonsense. That much is clear. But PASPA has a particularly amusing origin: New Jersey senator Bill Bradley had the idea for a scheme to essentially give his state – home to Atlantic City, the largest casino town after Las Vegas – an east coast monopoly on legal sports betting. He did this by working an exception or “carve out” into the federal gambling law for any state with a history of at least 10 years of uninterrupted casino operation at the time of PASPA’s inception. That “any state” was New Jersey. And like all things New Jersey, they dropped the ball.
The Effect Of PASPA On The US Gambling Industry
PASPA has been a disaster since day one. The effect of PASPA on the US gambling industry has been ruinous, and its effect on the American economy has been even worse. Sports betting is the largest segment of the gambling industry worldwide. The money that folks spend on the pastime – some $500 billion per year in America alone – dwarfs all poker, table games, and horse racing betting combined. It even outpaces the combined totals of all state lotteries. In other words, it’s the one type of betting that everyone wants.
So instead of spending their money in their home states to help their local economies, sports bettors are avoiding PASPA by flocking to where sports betting is legal, and they’re sending all of their money overseas. And no, not all of it comes back. Not even close. If the onerous US sports betting law is eliminated, legal sports betting in the US could generate billions of dollars in yearly infrastructure, cut overall state tax rates, and employ hundreds of thousands of people nationwide.