Legalized Sports Wagering in America

60 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2022 Last revised: 23 Jan 2024

See all articles by John T. Holden

John T. Holden

Oklahoma State University

Marc Edelman

City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business; Fordham University School of Law

Keith C. Miller

Drake University Law School

Date Written: September 12, 2022


For 25 years, state legislative efforts to legalize, tax, and regulate sports wagering were forestalled by a federal law that disallowed new states from legalizing sports wagering. This freeze on new state-sponsored sports wagering ended abruptly on May 14, 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Murphy v. NCAA that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act violated the U.S. Constitution by impermissibly commandeering the states.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Murphy, there has been a rapid proliferation of legalized and regulated sports wagering throughout much of the United States. At present, 35 states allow for some form of legalized and regulated sports wagering, with most of these states allowing for sports wagering not only in the brick-and-mortar format but also online and on mobile applications.

This rapid proliferation of sports wagering, however, has not always gone perfectly. At present, some states enforce strict limits on the number of companies that are eligible to obtain sports wagering licenses. Other states have implemented hefty taxation schemes that have made it difficult for any licensed operator to turn a profit. Meanwhile, still other states have focused primarily on maximizing tax revenues while doing little, if anything, to protect the interests of consumers including problem gamblers.

This Article provides an expert-level analysis of the emergent market for regulated sports wagering— examining the evolution of sports wagering before legalization, the Murphy decision, and the market for sports wagering since Murphy. The Article then proceeds to elucidate some of the high-profile failures of the present market for sports wagering and examines ways of ameliorating many of these failures.

Keywords: Sports gambling, federalism, regulation, gaming policy, gaming, wagering

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K11, K19, K20, K23, K29, K30, K39, K40, K49, L50, L59, L80, L83, L89, O34

Suggested Citation

Holden, John and Edelman, Marc and Miller, Keith C., Legalized Sports Wagering in America (September 12, 2022). 44 Cardozo Law Review 1383 (2023)., Available at SSRN: or

John Holden (Contact Author)

Oklahoma State University ( email )

464 Business Building
Stillwater, OK 74078-0555
United States

Marc Edelman

City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business ( email )

One Bernard Baruch Way
Box B9-220
New York, NY 10010
United States

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

Keith C. Miller

Drake University Law School ( email )

2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
United States
515 271-2071 (Phone)

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