US Supreme Court Overturns Sports Gambling Ban

US high court paves way for states to legalize sports betting

The Supreme Court's ruling to legalize sports betting in New Jersey will have an impact on states across the country.

"New Jersey's real complaint is that Congress has forbidden it from enacting the specific policy it prefers - namely, state sports gambling at its state-licensed casinos and race tracks", wrote Paul D. Clement, a lawyer representing the NCAA, the National Basketball Association, the NFL and others.

While programs now exist to educate student-athletes about the dangers of sports betting and attempts to fix games, those will likely have to be beefed up in order to combat heightened awareness and advertising that is sure to follow the approval of single-game betting.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act made it unlawful for a state to "sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law" sports wagering.

"Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution", the court said in its decision. But the state law was immediately challenged by professional sports leagues and the NCAA, which pointed to a federal law passed in 1992 that bans state sports betting with some exceptions.

The Supreme Court ruling also comes amid a years-long effort to erect resort casinos authorized under a 2011 state law.

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Congress passed the 1992 law to preserve what lawmakers at the time felt was the integrity of the games. Trump's administration was on the opposite side of the case, opposing the New Jersey law championed by Christie. "A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine". Freeman said the Supreme Court ruling makes it possible "to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent and responsible market for sports betting".

Ginsburg and Sotomayor went further, saying the the law should stand. She said that instead of using a "scalpel to trim the statute" her colleagues used "an axe" to cut the remainder down. It argued taking its laws off the books was different from authorizing sports gambling. New Jersey said the Constitution allows Congress to pass laws barring wagering on sports, but Congress can't require states to keep sports gambling prohibitions in place.

The proposed law also permits internet and mobile sports betting.

More recently, it tried to get out of the ban, hoping for increased state revenue, but the state repeatedly lost in the lower court.

As NPR reported after oral arguments in December, a majority of the justices appeared to have "serious doubts" about the constitutionality of the law. But several liberal justices said Congress merely pre-empted state laws, a commonplace action. Gaming industry experts estimate Americans spend $150 billion a year betting on sports events.

To date, only Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana are allowed sports gambling and are exempt from PASPA due to previously passed betting laws. "Congress permissibly exercised its authority to regulate commerce by instructing the states and private parties to refrain from operating sports-gambling schemes", she wrote. If your state isn't listed, assume gambling is a no-go for now. Professional sports leagues in recent years have begun to shift their views regarding sports betting. Thanks to a partnership with bookmaker William Hill, its existing sports lounge should be ready to take bets within weeks of regulation. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal and upheld New Jersey's states' rights claim.

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