U.S. Supreme Court lifts federal ban on sports gambling

U.S. bookmakers could now turn their attention to esports.

Photo via Yamaguchi/Wikimedia Commons

North American sports fans will soon be allowed to place bets on sporting events.

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (ASPA) which was implemented in 1992 as a way to prohibit states from hosting or soliciting gambling on collegiate sporting events.

As such, U.S. citizens in all 50 states could soon have access to sports betting if the individual states pass legislation on it.

This move could have big implications for gambling in esports too, something which has been the source of much controversy in recent years. Virtual currency gambling has been relatively unregulated, but countries like the U.K. have recently stepped in to try and curb that.

For U.S. fans, skin gambling and daily fantasy were the only options available to them for betting on esports. Now U.S. bookmakers will have the chance to follow their European counterparts in offering odds.

Some betting operators have taken a keen interest in esports. Betway are a major sponsor of Swedish organization Ninjas in Pyjamas. During last year’s DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, William Hill offered bets on the event.

While the prospect of real-money betting in esports now raises enormous possibilities, skin gambling is still a profitable industry. UK research agency Juniper Institute projected that skin gambling will be valued in the tens of billions come 2018. This is despite developers like like Valve cracking down on the major players within the space in 2016.