Supreme Court ruling opens the door for legalized sports betting nationwide

Arturo Kim
May 14, 2018

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, giving states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.

The state law at issue would allow people age 21 and above to bet on sports at New Jersey casinos and racetracks, but would ban wagers on college teams based in or playing in the state. The 1992 law barred state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions. There were four exemptions: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana, all of which had already established gambling laws at the time. Other states were given a year to opt in, but none acted in time.

Monday's ruling does not legalize sports betting in other states, but it permits states to follow New Jersey's lead by repealing state restrictions on sports gambling. The ruling ends a five-year battle against sports leagues costing the state at least $8.6 million.

"The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make", wrote Justice Samuel Alito. Gov. Chris Christie argued that PASPA amounted to commandeering, forcing states to enforce a law they didn't want.

All four major US professional sports leagues, the NCAA and the federal government had urged the court to uphold the federal law.

MS is one key state to watch as they are one of the few states outside of Nevada to already have numerous casinos in place. According to ESPN, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and CT are all states that recently passed bills that allow them to join New Jersey in acting quickly in response to the Supreme Court ruling. "It does so apparently in the mistaken assumption that private sports-gambling schemes would become lawful in the wake of its decision".

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New Jersey has lost several rulings along the way, and the case previously had not been heard by the Supreme Court in 2014.

In this case, Murphy v. NCAA, New Jersey's argument is that PASPA is unconstitutional, violating the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits the federal government from infringing on states' rights. The Supreme Court disagreed and held that the man still maintained a reasonable expectation of privacy.

It was a busy day at the Supreme Court.

More than a dozen states had supported New Jersey, which argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed its law.

The proposed legislation in Iowa would have placed sports betting under the direction of the state's casinos, and the activity would be regulated by the state's Racing and Gaming Commission.

The ruling has been closely watched by media and technology companies, many of which hope to offer products that allow for sports gambling. Thanks to a partnership with bookmaker William Hill, its existing sports lounge should be ready to take bets within weeks of regulation. Could legislators and sports betting agencies be jumping the gun now?

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