What a Joe Biden presidency could mean for legalized sports betting

Much has been written about how a Joe Biden presidency could impact industries such as health care, oil and housing — but what about sports gambling?

In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the PAPSA law that put limits on sports gambling, electing to give power to the states instead of the federal government. Since then, 22 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized some form of sports gambling.

Biden didn’t talk about the sports gambling industry much during his presidential campaign, but Biden campaign officials have stated that the former Vice President “believes states and federal authorities should cooperate to ensure that gambling is safe, fair, and corruption-free.”

The statement indicates that Biden might support the federal government getting more involved in setting federal guidelines for sport betting. This is an idea that Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney have been advocating since 2018.

Most major sports leagues want the federal government to implement regulations on the sports betting industry. In the past couple of years, the NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA Tour have all released statements in favor of federal guidelines on sports betting.

Such guidelines would allow leagues to more easily profit from it because they would allow one sweeping set of rules as opposed to individual states setting their own legislation.

The NBA and MLB have proposed a 1% integrity fee to be paid to leagues from the total pool of bets, to help cover compliance costs and to deter betting scandals.

MarketWatch has chronicled how the legalization of sports gambling has led to millions of dollars of tax revenue for many states. 

But while speaking in Nevada a few months ago, Biden also said he “doesn’t support adding unnecessary restrictions to the gaming industry like the Trump administration has done.”

Biden is likely referring to a recent Justice Department opinion on the Wire Act, but those legal interpretations deal with non-sports online gaming like virtual slot machines and online poker. 

Donald Trump spoke favorably about sports betting when he was a casino owner, but as president he hasn’t helped to facilitate any laws related to the sports betting industry. Any legislation involving further legalization of sports betting would need congressional approval.