Free Minds & Free Markets

With or Without Legalization, Sports Betting is Here to Stay: New at Reason

U.S. politicians prevented the development of a legal market for sports betting, driving eager gamblers to underground bookies.

Fanatic Studio/agefotostock/NewscomFanatic Studio/agefotostock/NewscomThe U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a federal law forcing most states to ban sports betting is unconstitutional. The decision didn't, strictly speaking, legalize sports betting—it just got the federal government out of the states' various ways so they could decide policy on their own terms.

It's still not clear that they'll get to do that, given that Orrin Hatch, in his role as a senator from Utah and co-author of legislation that was just kneecapped by the Court, plans to introduce a new bill along the same lines. That's a stupid idea, writes J.D. Tuccille. The federal law and related state and local statutes have never eradicated the thrills and risks of games of chance; they've only made them illegal, and driven a thriving industry and its customers underground.

Photo Credit: Fanatic Studio/agefotostock/Newscom


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