Where there is money, there is a way. And when it comes to betting on sports, there is a lot of money. Experts estimate around $250 billion dollars could be bet on sports illegally each year, with over $4 billion of that being on Super Bowl Sunday.
And with this huge sum of money being bet each year, there is a potential for huge tax income, both for Federal and Local Governments. This tax would be collected from sports books that would pop up all over the Country.
In October of 2016 Congress began the process of reviewing all Federal gambling laws. The United States Representative from New Jersey, Frank Pallone Jr, is quoted as saying Federal laws on gambling are "obsolete" and are "in desperate need of updating".
These laws have fallen behind the times with regard to newer types of gambling like online poker, daily fantasy sports games and sports betting in general. A lot has changed in the 25 years since sports betting was banned Federally and it looks like the time has come to address it.
The three main laws that will have to be reviewed and addressed are the Federal Wire Act of 1961, Professional and Amateur Sports Act of 1992 and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The most likely scenario will be one law to replace parts of the Federal Wire Act and all of the other two acts to make some sort of Federal Gambling Act.
Individual States are also pushing Congress to move on this topic. In 2016, Pennsylvania passed a resolution asking Congress to remove the ban on sports betting and allow each State to regulate their own sports betting laws. New York is also in the process of making the same request in 2017.
If, and when sports betting becomes legal Federally, there will be no shortage of sports books jumping into the business. Quickest into the fray will most likely be the large Nevada sports betting businesses like MGM and William Hill. One would also expect current legal gambling establishments like State lotteries and Tribal casinos to jump on board pretty quickly, as they have the infrastructure to offer sports betting without much trouble.
But to many people's surprise, there will very quickly be new entries into the sports betting business world that you wouldn't think of right away when thinking about how legalized sports betting might unfold. With patents filed over the last 10 years or so, the big boys of sports betting might just be Microsoft, Facebook, Sony, Google and large telecommunication companies.
It doesn't take much of an imagination to look at that list of possible sports betting businesses and see where it might be going. Want to place a bet on a game? Log into your Xbox, Playstation or Facebook account and place your bets with some of the largest companies in the World right from the convenience of your living room couch.
With any type of new technology or business, the initial stage is filled with new startups and new ways to do things. Once some of these new companies and technologies have taken a small foothold, the larger companies like Microsoft and Google will buy them up. But, out of the dust will come new things that we haven't seen before. One of those things may be something similar to the peer to peer music transferring boom that happened 15 years ago with Napster and other file sharing platforms.
Peer to peer sports betting could become the next wave of sports betting. This type of technology would match up willing betters on both sides of bets with each other. Not only would it match up two people that want to bet $100, for example, on a Dallas Cowboys versus New York Giants football game, but would also allow someone wanting to bet $1,000 dollars on the Dallas Cowboys to find multiple bettors to go against if one $1,000 bettor can't be found to take the Giants. Ten $100 Giants bettors could be matched with the one $1,000 bettor to make the bet.
This type of betting could even be run by the major sports leagues themselves, since the wagering being done is only between bettors and not the house or sports book. The NFL for instance could set up an NFL betting exchange to match up NFL sports bettors and the outcome of the game would not be a factor to the NFL. They would make their money on the transactions, but not on who wins or loses.
None of this is going to happen right now. With Congressional review, new laws needing to be written and approved, States then having to react to these new laws and decide how they are going to implement their oversight, it's a pretty long process.
You could see daily fantasy sports, online poker, or basic sports betting being legalized in 2018. Maybe a few years later peer to peer betting. More likely, it's a 3 to 5 year process of legalization, testing and expanding the offerings to the public. But there is no doubt it is coming. There is just too much money to be made and too much money escaping out the back door right now not to address it.