Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Sports Gambling
On Monday the Supreme Court of the United States voted 7-2 to strike down a federal law that bars gambling on sports in most states. The move is likely to clear the path for states to legalize and regulate sports gambling.
The SCOTUS struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA). The law, which went into effect in 1992, banned state-authorized sports betting with a few exceptions. The law included an exclusion for the state of Nevada, which is currently the only state in which it is legal for a bettor to wager on sports.
According to ESPN, one research firm guessed that as many as 32 states will legalize sports betting within the span of the next 5 years. The decision came in a case filed by the state of New Jersey, which has been trying to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks for the last several years.
Back in 2012, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and NCAA sued New Jersey’s then-governor Chris Christie after he signed a law to legalize sports betting in the state. The law was a direct contrast with PASPA, which included language that made it illegal for single states to “sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license or authorize by law” sports betting.
A few states that already allowed some form of sports wagering were grandfathered into PASPA along with the aforementioned Nevada clause.
New Jersey faced a rocky road in attempting to get rid of PASPA. The Supreme Court initially rejected the motion, refusing to take the case when brought forth for the first time back in 2014. That wasn’t the end of the fight, however, as New Jersey subsequently passed another law in an attempt to comply with PASPA.
The case snaked through the court system once again before the Supreme Court started to hear arguments late last year. 20 different states signed on in support of New Jersey in the case. They were Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
In the 31-page opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said, “Just as Congress lacks the power to order a state legislature not to enact law authorizing sports gambling, it may not order a state legislature to refrain from enacting a law licensing sports gambling.”
New Jersey is widely expected to be the first state to take advantage of the ruling. In fact, Dennis Drazin, chief operator of the state’s Monmouth Park racetrack, has promised to open a new sportsbook for business in about 2 weeks’ time.
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