States Eye Taxes From Sports Betting as Supreme Court Kills Ban

(Bloomberg) -- If there’s one sure thing in sports gambling, it’s that U.S. states will try to cash in on the market estimated at $150 billion.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that barred single-game gambling in most of the country, saying it violated the Constitution by forcing states to maintain their prohibitions.

Leaving such wagering to the black market has cost states a potentially large source of tax revenue, according the National Conference of State Legislatures and other state groups. Legalized sports betting nationwide could provide $3.4 billion to states and local governments, according to a study by Oxford Economics commissioned by the American Gaming Association.

Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have already enacted laws to advance sports betting so they could move more quickly once the Supreme Court acted, according to Fitch Ratings.

The potential revenue bump from allowing sports betting is "welcome" but probably not enough to result in any bond-rating upgrades, S&P Global Ratings analysts said Monday. The ratings company said 2018 may be the largest year for gambling expansion.

"The potential for an additional increment of revenue is welcome and has the potential to somewhat ease negative pressure on credit quality," analysts led by Timothy Little said.

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