The expansion of sports gambling gained more momentum last week.
The NCAA announced Thursday that it had rescinded its ban on holding championship games in states that allow single-game sports betting.
According to an article on ESPN, the NCAA Board of Governors temporarily suspended the championship game policy last year when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal law that limited state-sponsored sports betting largely to Nevada. This past week, the NCAA’s board voted to fully rescind the policy, opening up sports-betting states to college championship games.
Sports betting continues to expand in PA and beyond
While the NCAA remains opposed to betting on amateur athletics, its recent decision makes sense considering the growth of sports gambling. Since the Supreme Court ended Nevada’s monopoly on sports betting last May, seven other states have opened legal sportsbooks.
There are now eight Pennsylvania sportsbooks, with a ninth opening in June. The launch of PA online betting will take place sometime this month as well.
Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and West Virginia have sportsbooks in operation as well. Montana just legalized sports betting this week.
Indiana may be next to approve sports gambling
Indiana, which is home to the NCAA’s headquarters in Indianapolis, could be next. A bill that would allow sports betting in Indiana passed through its state legislature last week and is awaiting a governor’s signature. If it goes unsigned by May 8, it will become law nonetheless.
Iowa and Tennessee have similar laws into their governors as well. New York and Arkansas have sports betting laws in place. Others will certainly follow.
NCAA’s decision was the pragmatic one
As sports gambling continues to stretch across the country, the NCAA could have been boxed out of many states if it took a hard-line stance. For example, the 2021 NCAA Final Four will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, which could have sports betting within weeks. Rather than face the possibility of relocating some major events, the NCAA took a pragmatic approach.
All states are now open to NCAA Championships. And when the organization finally hosts a title game in a sports betting state, the sportsbooks will certainly benefit, producing record traffic and revenues.
Philadelphia to Host 2026 MLB All-Star Game
In other event news this week, Major League Baseball announced that it will hold the 2026 All-Star Game in Philadelphia, in honor of the 250th anniversary of our nation’s independence.
Major League Baseball made the announcement last week at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall with commissioner Rob Manfred and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in attendance.
“As the birthplace of our country, bringing the MLB All-Star Game back to Philadelphia is the perfect way to celebrate the 250th anniversary of American independence,” Wolf said in an article on Philadelphia’s CBS3 website.
“Hosting massive sporting events like Baseball’s Midsummer Classic or the 2017 NFL Draft brings even more excitement to the city and generates a huge economic impact for workers and businesses.”
Philly also has a strong presence in sports gaming
It’s hard to predict how the sports gambling landscape will look in 2026, but the Philadelphia area has a strong sports betting footprint. There are six legal sportsbooks currently operating within a short drive of Philadelphia:
- SugarHouse Casino
- South Philly Turf Club
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Parx Casino
- Valley Forge Turf Club
- FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino Resort
Certainly, they will all be busy during the All-Star Game’s festivities.
With the All-Star Game arriving in 2026, the only question that remains is this – will the NCAA host a championship game in sports-betting Pennsylvania before then?
After last week’s decision, it very well might.