Pennsylvania Ready to Play Ball on Sports Betting

Supreme Court Decision Strikes Down Federal Ban

Joe DeStio
May 14, 2018 - 3:02 pm
A U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a federal ban on sports betting means Pennsylvania is about to get in the game.
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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – A U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a federal ban on sports betting means Pennsylvania is about to get in the game. The high court reversed a 1992 law that banned sports bets everywhere but the four states that had it before the ban went into effect. Nevada remains the only state where bets are allowed on individual games.

Republican State Representative Jeff Pyle of Ford City chairs the House Gaming Committee. “We’re giving the people what they want. This is going on already. It’s a big underground industry and why shouldn’t Pennsylvania jump into it.”

The legislature prepared for sports betting late last year when it authorized the Gaming Control Board to draw up regulations if and when the Supreme Court rejected the ban. Pennsylvania is already the second biggest gambling state behind only Nevada. An estimated $123 billion was put down in sports wagers last year, most of it illegally.

The law sets Pennsylvania’s take of sports bets at 34 percent, a number the gambling industry says could force players to bet in other states where the percent is far lower. Owners of Pennsylvania’s 12 licensed casinos could apply for a $10 million license to operate sports betting at a casino or online.

The American Gaming Association calls the court decision striking down the ban, “a victory for millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner.” The NFL which has long opposed legal sports betting issued a statement calling on Congress to enact a core regulatory framework for sports betting. None of Pittsburgh’s professional sports teams has commented.

But Representative Pyle believes the ruling will be big money for everyone. “To be able to legally go down and bet on the Steelers or the Penguins or something, that’s going to open up some opportunities in Western PA.”

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