Brent Musberger Predicts U.S. Supreme Court Will Legalize Sports Betting for All

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LAS VEGAS -- Broadcaster-turned-handicapper Brent Musberger has predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule next month that if sports betting is allowed in some states in the country, it should be allowed in every state.

After the State of New Jersey legalized sports betting several years ago via a statewide voter referendum, the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB sued the state to stop it, arguing that an existing federal law limited legal sports betting to just the four states that already had it (Nevada has single-game sports wagering while Delaware, Oregon and Montana allow three-game parlay wagering).

The leagues won the initial lawsuit, and New Jersey, behind the efforts of Governor Chris Christie, appealed the verdict all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is scheduled to begin hearing arguments about the case on December 3.

Appearing on the latest episode of the HBO cable television show "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," Musberger, who retired from ESPN last year to start VISN, a Las Vegas-based radio network devoted to sports betting that airs on SiriusXM satellite radio, flatly predicted that the Supreme Court will rule for New Jersey, and sports betting will become legal nationwide.

"They will rule in favor of the State of New Jersey and Chris Christie," Musberger told "Real Sports" correspondent Andrea Kremer.

And after they do, she asked, what then?

"It (legal sports betting) will then explode across the country," Musberger said.

The Musberger interview was part of a "Real Sports" segment titled "Dominos in the Desert," about professional sports, which eschew gambling, coming to Las Vegas, in the form of the NHL (the Golden Knights are already there and playing) and the NFL (the Oakland Raiders are coming).

Musberger noted that if the NFL and NHL were really serious about being anti-gambling, they wouldn't have placed franchises in Vegas.

"If you want to sit in your ivory tower and pontificate about the integrity of your beloved game, why would you put one of your franchises within walking distance of several sportsbooks?" Musberger asked.

The "Real Sports" episode with Musberger is scheduled to air several more times this month.

An HBO press release about the sports betting segment notes: "For decades, the four major sports leagues were unanimous in maintaining that Las Vegas would never get a pro sports team, thanks to the proximity to legal sports betting and its possible impact on the integrity of the games.

"That changed this fall when the NHL’s newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights, took to the ice for their hometown debut. With the Oakland Raiders also planning to settle in Vegas in the future, the dominos are falling and the next change might be legalized sports betting outside Nevada.

"Real Sports correspondent Andrea Kremer, who was in Vegas as the puck dropped for the first time, explores how longtime aggressive campaigning by the city government to attract pro teams may have changed the sports betting industry forever. Among those interviewed is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose legal battle with the major sports leagues and the NCAA to legalize sports betting in his state is headed to the Supreme Court this fall."

By Tom Somach

Gambling 911 Staff Writer

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