Four years after the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), sports betting continues to boom in the United States. According to the American Gaming Association, gross gaming revenue from sports betting, i.e. total wagers minus winnings, amounted to $7.5 billion in 2022, shattering the previous record set the year before. In total, Americans wagered $93.2 billion last year, up from $57.2 billion in 2021. According to the AGA, the steep increase was driven by the launch of legal betting in Kansas and the addition of mobile betting in three states, including New York, which saw gross gaming revenue increase 5,762 percent to $1.4 billion.
Following its enactment by Congress in 1992, PASPA had effectively banned sports betting everywhere except for Nevada (and three other states that had certain betting games grandfathered in). In 2012, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a law allowing betting on professional and amateur sports at New Jersey casinos and racetracks, after which all major sports leagues had sued Christie for violating PASPA. The lawsuit resulted in a long legal battle, which culminated in the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down PASPA.
“Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own,” the court wrote its opinion. “Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. PASPA regulates state governments’ regulation of their citizens. The Constitution gives Congress no such power.”