Celebrating 75 Years of Serving Nevada’s Legal, Business, Government, and Civic Communities

Legalization of Sports Betting Could Spread Across America

In 1949, Nevada legalized sports betting, and it remains the only state where betting on single games is legal. While some states like Delaware and New Jersey have attempted to expand into sports betting, they have faced a lot of legal challenges. However, signs are now pointing towards the legalization of sports betting across America.

Inside Counsel sat down with Dennis Gutwald of McDonald Carano’s Gaming & Administrative Law Group to discuss the key factors leading to the legalization of sports betting on a national level and what other states can learn from Nevada’s experience and success.

“America loves sports. Betting on sports and sports go together like peanut butter and jelly,” he said. “The ubiquitous nature of office pools, billions of dollars of illegal internet gaming, growth of DFS and the ‘Las Vegas Line’ being posted in all forms of media, all demonstrate this. Because of its relation to sports, betting on sports is part of our language and part of our culture. No other form of gambling is as closely associated to something so ingrained into our society.”

Today, most states don’t have legalized gambling statewide because a large portion of the population still believes that the social ills that accompany most forms of gambling outweigh statewide legalization.

“Those portions are likely to continue to shrink as the spread of gaming introduces gaming to more individuals and gambling is viewed more and more as just another form of entertainment,” he said.

So, why is Nevada the only state where sports betting is legal? According to Gutwald, it’s because the U.S. passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) that limited states to the legal sports betting they had at that time. Only four states (Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware) had sports betting, and only Nevada had sports books and betting on single games. There have been many legal challenges that other states, such as Delaware and New Jersey, have faced to expand to this gaming segment.

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March 21, 2017


About McDonald Carano

In 2024, McDonald Carano celebrates 75 years of serving Nevada’s legal, business, government, and civic communities. More than 60 lawyers and government relations professionals serve state, national, and international clients from our offices in Reno, Las Vegas, and Carson City. McDonald Carano provides legal services and government affairs and advocacy counsel to startups, corporations, trade associations, nonprofits, public entities, high-net-worth individuals, investors, and public-private partnerships throughout Nevada. We are proud to be your Nevada law firm since 1949.

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