The Supreme Court Clears the Path for Legalized Sports Betting in the US

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
May/16/2018

The entire sports betting industry was turned upside down earlier this week when the US Supreme Court overturned a 1992 federal law that made betting on sports illegal in 49 of the country’s 50 states. Nevada was the only state grandfathered in for legal sports betting at that time. However, New Jersey has been at the forefront of the battle to open legal football betting on a state-by-state basis.

The highest court in the land voted 6-3 to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). This law by Congress basically banned states from legalizing sports betting within their borders. The high court’s main argument in the matter was that the law was not being enforced on the federal level, so individual states should have the right to make that decision for themselves.
 

New Jersey took the lead on this initiative in 2012 according to a recent report on Every1bets.com when Chris Christie was still governor. It took the battle all the way to the Supreme Court in a case formally referred to as Christie vs. NCAA. The case worked its way through the courts and a decision by the Supreme Court was imminent heading into the month of May. What this means for sports betting in the United States in the long run remains to be seen. Right now, there are 20 states that have introduced legislation to approve some form of legalized betting on sports within their boundaries.

Joining New Jersey as states that could be up and running with legal sports betting in the near future are Delaware and Mississippi. Delaware already has a form of sports betting as part of its state lottery system and Tunica Mississippi casinos have been gearing up for a favorable decision with the backing of the state government. You could also add Pennsylvania and West Virginia to the list with a plans in place to offer legal sports betting possibly in time for the upcoming football season. According to A-Sportbook.com, along with NCAA college athletics this suit also involved the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. A direct quote from the Supreme Court in this report stated, “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.”

 

These four sports leagues sued then Governor Christie in 2012 when New Jersey made an effort to legalize sports betting as part of its horse betting and casino gambling interests. While the leagues won every court battle along the way, there was optimism that the highest court would rule in favor of State’s rights in this particular matter. The current governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy stated that he was “thrilled” to see the high court strike down the “arbitrary ban” according to the MLBBASEBALLBETTING.com report. He also added that the next step is to “enact a law authorizing and regulating sports betting in the very near future.”

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