legal sports betting 32 states
Industry Updates

Report: Sports Betting Legal in 32 US States Within Five Years of SCOTUS Ruling

A new report from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, LLC states Americans could be betting on sports legally in 32 states within five years if the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey in its case challenging the constitutionality of the federal sports betting ban.

The case in question involves New Jersey’s long-running quest to offer sports betting to residents. That effort had been stymied by opposition from sports leagues and lower courts, but New Jersey has appealed its way all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in June and is expected to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of the federal sports betting prohibition next year.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey, it will give the go-ahead for New Jersey and other states to legalize sports betting on an individual basis. The report from Eilers & Krejcik estimates that 32 states would opt-in for sports betting within five years of such a ruling.

Eilers & Krejcik follow gambling legislation closely and came to the number 32 by analyzing current trends on a state-by-state basis. Questions such as whether or not each state has pending gambling legislation, the general attitude towards gambling in each state, how existing gaming interests come down on the issue and how badly each state needs the extra money that would be raised by legal sports betting.

States Most Likely to Opt In If Prohibition is Repealed

According to Fox Sports, the report estimates 14 states are likely to legalize sports betting within two years of a favorable ruling. Those states include:

New JerseyOhioNevadaPennsylvania
VirginiaWest Virginia  

The report estimates that an additional 18 states would legalize sports betting within five years of a favorable ruling:

MaineMarylandMissouriNew York
North CarolinaNorth DakotaOklahomaVermont

That’s not all. If we stretch the timeline out to seven years post-ruling, the report sees an additional twelve states as likely to legalize sports betting:

MinnesotaNebraskaNew HampshireNew Mexico
OregonRhode IslandSouth DakotaWisconsin

Market Worth $6 Billion Per Year if 32 States Opt In; $16 Billion with 50 States

Should all 32 states projected to legalize sports betting within five years, Eilers & Krejcik project it would create a market capable of generating more than $6 billion in revenue per year. That projection balloons to $7 to $16 billion should all fifty states legalize land-based and online sports betting.

Those may sound like rather optimistic projections, but estimates regarding the size of the current offshore sports betting market as it exists today offer some context. The American Gaming Association estimates already put total betting activity by Americans with offshore sportsbooks at $150 billion.

Eilers & Krejcik aren’t even willing to go that far. They estimate that Americans wager something in the range of $50 to $60 billion for revenues of $2.5 to $3 billion per year. Under a legal system with all fifty states opting in, they project total wagering handle of $245 billion for up to $16 billion in revenue.

What’s the Likelihood of All This Happening?

This is a difficult report to assess on a likelihood scale. First, all of the above projections hinge on the Supreme Court issuing a favorable ruling for New Jersey. Anything other than a repeal of the federal sports betting prohibition will render all revenue projections moot. Momentum is building for such a decision, but nothing is guaranteed at this point.

As far as the projections go, they come from an excellent source. Eilers & Krejcik specialize in gambling industry analysis and are regularly contacted by mainstream media sources, state gaming agencies and operators for quotes, information and projections. Just recently, for example, the West Virginia lottery awarded the firm a $160,000 contract to study the potential economic impact of legal sports betting in WV.

Eilers & Krejcik senior consultant Chris Grove also runs, which is an informative site we link to frequently in our discussion of legal online betting in the US. The quality of information from that website clearly demonstrates a high level of competence. Any numbers produced by Eilers & Krejcik should be taken seriously.

That being said, these are only estimates. Not only do they rely on the Supreme Court issuing a favorable ruling, but they also depend on individual states choosing to opt in. A lot must go right for these projections to be proven correct, but the numbers do make sense. With annual gambling revenue in the UK reaching £14.5 billion for all forms of gambling, an estimate of $6 billion in the US just for sports betting is not a big stretch.

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