“Sports gambling is going to be legal. We might as well embrace it and become part of the solution, rather than fight it. It’s in everyone’s best interests for it to be above-board.” 1

Two significant impediments exist to the expansion of sports wagering. The first is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). PASPA prohibits tribes or states from authorizing sports wagering,  and it prohibits anyone from relying on state law from offering any form of wagering on the outcome of games or the performance of athletes. PASPA contains a grandfathering exemption for states that conducted or regulated sports wagering before its enactment, which applies to four states (note only Nevada had broad-based, regulated sports wagering prior to enactment). PASPA, while not a criminal gambling statute, permits the U.S. Department of Justice or any impacted sports league to seek an injunction against states and those operating pursuant to state law. In order for sports wagering to expand beyond the four exempted states without the risk of being forced to stop by courts, PASPA would need to be amended or repealed.

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Greg Gemignani, Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, and Jennifer Gaynor are Members in Dickinson Wright’s Las Vegas office, and Jeff Silver is Of Counsel in the Las Vegas office.  Jennifer Gaynor can be reached at 702.550.4462 or jgaynor@dickinsonwright.com.  Jeff Silver can be reached at 702.550.4482 or jsilver@dickinsonwright.com.