Lawsuit highlights just how much is riding on a potential legal sports betting future in the US

  • US Supreme Court will hear the case for legalizing sports betting next year
  • Gambling tech company NYX Gaming is launching a legal battle against William Hill

A number of gambling technology companies are involved in legal tussles ahead of a US Supreme Court ruling on legalizing sports betting next year.

The possible classification of fantasy sports as gambling in Massachusetts could be a blow to the the industry.
Sports betting in the US could be huge.

Many in the industry expect the Court to give a green light to sports betting and are jockeying for position in expectation.

Last Thursday, gambling tech firm NYX Gaming Group filed a lawsuit against bookmaker William Hill PLC over William Hill’s alleged interference in a proposed acquisition of NYX by Scientific Games Corp. of Las Vegas.

The suit alleges that William Hill, which owns a chunk NYX stock, had pressed for measures deemed anti-competitive by NYX, including assurances that Scientific Games would not be a competitor.

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William Hill has denied any of its actions have been anti-competitive.

The case is ongoing.

Final frontier

The legal wrangling is taking place against the backdrop of a pending Supreme Court decision that could trigger a rush among betting companies to capture a share of the potentially huge US sports betting market.

The case has been brought by New Jersey, and is aiming to overturn a law dating from 1992 that outlawed state-authorized sports gambling in the US, with the exception of four states – Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon – that had legalized sports betting by 1991.

That law is the much talked-about PASPA, or the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

At present, Nevada is the only state where single-event betting is permitted, and its recent revenue figures look meaty.

Many people in the industry are predicting that it is a matter of time before the US sports betting market is opened up, and according to David Schwartz, of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, that is causing gaming operators to scramble to be in the best place to take advantage.

“With that mindset, it is important to establish a position now, as states and operators will be choosing partners quickly,” he said.

“For the past 30 years, gaming companies have been driven by the promises of expansion. In the past that meant more states opening themselves up to casino gaming, but the final frontier may be sports betting.”

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