The U.S. Supreme Court made a historic decision on Monday morning, repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The law, otherwise known as PASPA, placed a federal ban on sports gambling.
But with that out of the way, individual states now can choose whether to legalize sports gambling. Spoiler alert: Most — if not all — states will choose to do so, rather than turn away what already has become a multi-billion dollar industry online and overseas.
A few states — including Mississippi within the SEC footprint — already have taken steps to be open for business by the time football season kicks off this fall. A few more are a little further behind, but widespread change is coming.
Impact will vary. States will move at different speeds to regulate sports gambling, and what’s possible in some states (including some of the ideas below) may not be in others.
But on the whole, what does that mean for the average SEC fan? Glad you asked. Let’s go through some scenarios:
Gambling in stadiums and arenas
You’re in Lexington, Ky., for a few days to see some old friends from college. Part of the experience includes a trip to Rupp Arena, where the Wildcats are 8-point favorites in a nonconference matchup vs. Clemson. The Tigers have been better in recent years, but are they really ready for Rupp Arena?
Just before tip-off, you get a strong feeling Big Blue will blow Clemson’s doors off. Since sports gambling is now legal, you have the ability to act on such intuition. You could pull out your phone and place a legal wager online. Or, perhaps soon, you’ll find a kiosk on the concourse of any stadium or arena and place a bet on your way to the bathroom or concessions stand. Completely seamless, legit and adds some fun to your evening.
Sportsbooks located throughout cities and towns
You’re in Nashville, Tenn., on the way home from work on a Friday afternoon. You’re listening to sports radio and you hear that your Vanderbilt Commodores are 6-point underdogs against Tennessee the following evening. The team has been playing well lately, and you’re just not so sure about the Vols offense this year. It’s a fleeting thought, but it sticks with you.
A minute later you get a call from your wife to pick up some milk. You stop at the local grocery store, but, on your way out, you see that the new sportsbook is finally open right next door. Remembering your thought about the ‘Dores, it’s now easier than ever to make — or lose — a quick buck. And by the time the Memphis Grizzlies’ season is over next spring, there will could be more locations like this one spread all across Nashville.
Your alma mater’s game vs. Cupcake State is now a little more interesting
You’re in Oxford, Miss., to watch the Rebels’ first home game of the season. It’s only been a couple years since you graduated, so not much has changed. But your friends have a new game day routine before leaving for the stadium — making a pit stop at the gambling center just off campus.
Ole Miss is a 30.5-point favorite vs. FCS-level Missouri State, and you want a little something extra to root for when the fourth quarter rolls around. You place a bet on the home team and parlay it with a money-line wager on whoever Mississippi State is playing later that night. With the click of a few buttons near campus, you’ve bought yourself some entertainment — and maybe won a little money — for the whole day. Time well spent.
More content-driven TV shows analyzing lines or over/unders
You’re in Tuscaloosa, Ala., waking up early on a Saturday morning. The Crimson Tide don’t kick off until the evening, but you want to get a head start and look at what’s on tap for this college football Saturday. You usually watch College GameDay — it’s a timeless classic, after all — but instead you check out what ESPN2 or FS1 has to offer.
There, you’ll find a new show that focuses on gambling. What’s the best bet for the day? Which game is a guarantee to go over the total? Will Alabama’s quarterback throw for over or under 2.5 touchdown passes later that night? Mainstream sports gambling means a higher interest and even more content — especially on TV debate and studio shows — than ever before. If you can discern what information is best and most accurate, you might make some money before breakfast.