SCOTUS Paves Way For Legalized Sports Betting Outside Nevada

Supreme Court makes sports betting a possibility nationwide

Developing: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that bars states from authorizing sports betting.

In 2011, though, as casinos in Atlantic City were losing revenue, voters in New Jersey amended its state Constitution to allow sports betting, and the state Legislature soon passed a law authorizing it. Nevada now is the only state in which single-game bets are allowed. However, the Appeals Court ruling states that PASPA would not stop New Jersey from repealing its own ban on sports betting and allow it to operate unregulated. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonya Sotomayor dissented.

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The court upheld the legality of a 2014 state law permitting sports betting at New Jersey casinos and horse racetracks and voided the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

The Supreme Court ruled by overwhelming majority on Monday that PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment, which restricts the federal government from imposing legislation that outlaws states from enacting laws individually.

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Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association industry group, welcomed the decision, saying it favors "an open, transparent and responsible market for sports betting". Nevada was exempted from the law, and three other states - Montana, Delaware, and OR - that had already enacted sports lotteries were allowed to continue to do so. Then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said after arguments in the case in December that if justices sided with the state, bets could be taken "within two weeks" of a decision. Sports leagues challenged the law citing the 1992 law, and they won in federal court. The current illegal sports betting market is worth billions of dollars annually. In court, the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball had argued that New Jersey's gambling expansion would hurt the integrity of their games. Las Vegas now has an National Hockey League team and will soon have an NFL team, and the NBA's commissioner called for legalizing sports betting so it can be properly regulated.

Freeman said his group would work with states, sports leagues and law enforcement "to create a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this opportunity to engage fans and boost local economies". The law was passed out of concern that sports gambling might change the nature of sporting events from wholesome entertainment to a device for gambling.

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