Federal Interference with State and Tribal Sports Betting Regulations Will Not Work: Where the Sports Wagering Integrity Act of 2018 Went Wrong and How Federal Legislation Might Be Effective


  • Becky Harris University of Nevada, Las Vegas




sports wagering, betting regulations, Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, gaming, federal interference, Supreme Court, Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act


On Monday, May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States struck a fatal blow to the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) when it determined PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Prior to the PASPA repeal, Nevada had been the only state in the United States (US) authorized to offer a full complement of legal sports betting options. Because, Nevada’s race books and sports pools have had the ability to offer wagers on sports since 1947, those legal sports betting operations were “grandfathered” into PASPA when it was passed by Congress in 1992. Having anticipated repeal as a possible outcome, four states passed laws making sports betting legal in case the Supreme Court ruled in New Jersey’s favor, and one state pre-emptively legalized sports betting through a ballot measure. With barriers removed by the PASPA repeal, state gambling regulators were able to grant licenses and adopt regulations. State legislatures were also able legalize sports wagering during their upcoming legislative sessions. And they did!

Author Biography

Becky Harris, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Becky Harris is a Distinguished Fellow in Gaming & Leadership at the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She collaborates with regulators, academicians, and other stakeholders on a host of gaming and leadership related issues and projects. She is also an adjunct law professor at the Boyd School of Law at UNLV, where she teaches Gaming Law and Policy. A former Nevada state senator, she had the privilege of being named the first female chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.



2020-08-26 — Updated on 2020-09-16



Original Research