In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the federal law that limited sports betting to Nevada, nearly half the states have established regulated sports betting. Early indications are that the future of sports betting will be dominated by the use of online mobile applications. One federal law, however, the 1961 Wire Act, stands as an obstacle to the development of online markets for sports betting across state lines. This is more than a threat to the gaming industry. The Wire Act dampens incentives for bettors to migrate from illegal markets to the legal state markets and pits the limited enforcement resources of states against powerful global enterprises that operate illegally in the United States. The Wire Act needs to be brought into the twenty-first century and replaced with a law that recognizes the benefits that interstate markets for sports betting have for consumers. Along with this, a specific but limited role for the federal government needs to be created to combat the illegal sports betting markets that operate on a global basis. Without these actions, illegal markets will continue to flourish and undermine the integrity of sports contests and sports wagering in the United States.

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