Supreme Court to Hear New Jersey Sports Betting Case
On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court surprisingly announced that it will hear the state of New Jersey’s appeal to offer legalized sports betting.
If the SCOTUS rules in favor of New Jersey, the state will be allowed to offer legal sports betting within its casinos and racetracks. This could potentially be the first step in getting sports betting legalized on a state-by-state basis all over the country. New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed sports betting legislation in 2012 and 2014 and was promptly sued by a number of sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA and NHL.
Most believe the Supreme Court would not bother to hear New Jersey’s case. The state has suffered a number of setbacks in its attempt to get sports gambling legalized over the last couple of decades. Last month, Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall advised the Supreme Court to pass on hearing the case. The Court typically follows recommendations of the Department of Justice, but not in this instance.
Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992
The SCOTUS will take a closer look at the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which prohibits state-sponsored sports betting on a federal level. The case could be heard as early as this fall, but most believe that the more likely timetable is sometime during the upcoming winter. A decision could come as late spring or early next summer.
The aforementioned Protection Act (PASPA) restricts legalized sports betting to very few states, with Nevada being the only state allowed to offer fully-legalized sports wagering. In 2016 alone, Nevada sportsbooks raked in more than $4.5 billion in bets. Other states have recently shown interest in trying to legalize sports betting, and should be keeping a keen eye on the developments with New Jersey’s case.
Leagues Coming Around
While pro sports leagues have a long history opposing the legalization of sports betting in America, the tide is beginning to turn a bit. Under commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA has eased its hard anti-wagering stance over the last several years, and Major League Baseball has followed suit under a new commissioner of its own, Rob Manfred.
The NFL has been the most vocal anti-gambling advocate of any of them, but they and the NHL have both recently elected to put franchises right in the middle of Las Vegas. Obviously, they can’t really have it both ways. It seems as though the NFL and NHL are coming around on the idea of legalizing sports betting, as well. Otherwise, they wouldn’t risk putting teams in Vegas.
Additionally, a congressional committee has already introduced a draft of legislation that would repeal PASPA completely.
The Supreme Court ruling in New Jersey’s favor would likely open the door for other states to follow and open the door for sports betting legalization, too. If it is ruled that PASPA is unconstitutional, any other state could then legalize sports betting. A number of states have already reportedly began discussing the potential ramifications and courses of action to take if New Jersey comes out victorious.
Delaware, Oregon and Montana were the other states that were granted the right to offer limited sports betting in the 1992 legislation. In Delaware, bettors may place parlay bets on the NFL. The 1992 bill was initially sponsored by New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, who previously played in the NBA with the New York Knicks. Bradley was offended at the idea of people gambling on his athletic endeavors.
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