The Supreme Court has overturned a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball, and other sports in most states. This new law gives states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.
The Supreme Court on Monday took down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. In 1992, the law banned state-authorized sports gambling, but there is always an exception to the rule. It made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.
CBS News’ Jam Crawford reported that the justice agreed 7-2 that the federal ban was unconstitutional, and that the states should have the option to decide whether to offer legal sports betting. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonya Sotomayor opposed the law.
Research shows that before the ruling that if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law, 32 states would likely legalize sports betting within five years.
The court based their decision off a case from New Jersey, that has been fighting for years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks in the state.
The court’s decision came in a case from New Jersey, which has fought for years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks in the state.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement after the High Court’s ruling on Monday, that he was “thrilled to see the Supreme Court finally side with New Jersey and strike down the arbitrary ban on sports betting imposed by Congress decades ago.”
“New Jersey has long been the lead advocate in fighting this inherently unequal law, and today’s ruling will finally allow for authorized facilities in New Jersey to take the same bets that are legal in other states in our country,” he added.
Murphy is crediting the court victory to the bipartisan effort from former Governor Chris Christie and former State Senator Raymond Lesniak. Christie argued this past year that the federal government may have overstepped their bounds by enforcing regulations on gambling.
“This is the fear of every governor that we’ll be at the mercy of the federal government and they’ll make us pay for it,” said Christie. “Today it’s sports gaming, tomorrow it’s something else,” he added. Christie said his state’s “long experience” of casino gaming shows that New Jersey can appropriately regulate sports gaming.
Murphy meanwhile said he looked forward to formally enacting a law authorizing and regulating sports betting in the very near future.”
More than a dozen states supported New Jersey, by arguing that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. New Jersey said the Constitution allows Congress to pass laws barring wagering on sports, but Congress is not allowed to require states to keep sports gambling prohibitions in place.
All four major U.S. professional sports leagues, the NCAA and the federal government had urged the court to uphold the federal law. 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. Outside court, however, leaders of all but the NFL have shown varying degrees of openness to legalized sports gambling.
The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports each year.
The 1992 law issued bans on state-authorized sports gambling with exceptions for Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware, states that had approved some form of sports wagering before the law took effect. Nevada is the only state where a person can wager on the results of a single game, though the law doesn’t cover wagering between friends. The law also doesn’t cover animal races, such as horse racing, which many states already allow.