Legal Sports Betting

The Supreme Court recently overturned a long standing sport betting law which essentially banned betting on sports at the federal level. The Supreme Court justices found the law violated the anti-commandeering clause of the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment determines what can be federally regulated and what can be regulated by the states. It dictates that powers not explicitly given to the federal government and/or barred from the states are powers that are reserved for the states. In other words, the federal government cannot commandeer, or make the states enforce federal regulations that are really the state’s responsibility and right to manage.

This ruling does not automatically make sports betting legal all over the United States. Instead, it returns the power to regulate sports betting to the states. With each state making its own rules about sports betting issues, such as licensing gambling operators, where bets can be placed, online betting, etc. it will undoubtedly be complicated to put this new policy into practice. Interstate betting will also be an issue since payment processing for sports bets across state lines is banned by the 1961 Wire Act, but with state by state regulation interstate betting will become more difficult to monitor. The sports leagues themselves will have a hand in monitoring suspicious betting activity and the head of the leagues are petitioning congress to consider a federal set of rules to keep things consistent across the states.

14 states are expected to have sports betting going in the next two years and an additional 18 states have five year plans to enact sports betting.

Would you like to know more? Contact Jake Johnson at or 720.488.9586.


From the May 2018 Pollart Miller Newsletter