Legal Sports Betting Is Coming To US, As New Jersey Wins Supreme Court Case

It’s game on for sports gambling in New Jersey, and possibly the rest of the country too.
The state of New Jersey won its US Supreme Court case, as a vast majority of justices declared that the federal ban on sports wagering is unconstitutional.
More about NJ’s backstory sports betting and the Skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act here. Formerly, single-game wagering was legal in the US only via the Nevada sports betting industry.
Here is the conclusion of the majority opinion:
The legalization of sport betting requires an important policy choice, but the decision isn’t ours to create. Congress can regulate sports gambling right, but if it elects not to do so, every State is free to act by itself. Our job is to interpret the legislation Congress has enacted and decide whether it’s consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. PASPA”govern [s] state authorities’ law” of their citizens. …. The Constitution gives Congress no power. The conclusion of the Third Circuit is reversed.
The court said that it reversed the decision of the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Full opinion here.
SCOTUS impacts on sports betting The real-world applications of the verdict:
New Jersey can now move forward with its own plans to legalize wagering. Some gambling centers in the state have indicated it could be only a matter of weeks until sportsbooks are operations. William Hill has said in the past it would be live within weeks in Monmouth Park.
West Virginia sports betting and Mississippi sports gambling will also be well prepared to proceed with legislation on the books.
So can Pennsylvania, that legalized sports wagering in 2017. A PA sports gambling rollout there is upward in the air, but could come later this season.
Sports gambling legislation progressing in a number of nations can take effect immediately upon passage.
New Jersey appears set to move forward with legislation to regulate sports gambling, today that PASPA is gone. Its first law is what amounts to a”partial repeal” of its sports gambling prohibition, with unregulated wagering capable to take place at the state’s tracks and casinos.
The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement, which will oversee sports gambling from the country, had no comment on the conclusion from SCOTUS today.
A Fast timeline of this Situation New Jersey enacted a law in 2014 where it partly repealed its own sports gambling ban. That law was an effort to permit the state’s casinos and horse betting tracks to offer sports wagering by operating on a federal law, the skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That law bans single-game wagering outside of Nevada sports gambling.
The NCAA and the leading US professional sports leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL — along with all the NCAA filed lawsuit to stop the law from taking effect. The leagues have standing under PASPA to bring suits that authorize sports gambling.
Over the next 3 Decades, New Jersey dropped in the federal district court and the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals. New Jersey subsequently appealed the case to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed to hear New Jersey’s allure in the summer of 2017.
Oral arguments took place in December; several believed the hour of dialogue between justices and counselor went well for New Jersey.
More from the sport betting decision
The decision in the case clocked in at 49 pages. Six justices joined the vast majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. It had been joined by:
Chief Justice John Roberts
Justice Anthony Kennedy
Justice Elana Kagan
Justice Neil Gorsuch
Justice Clarence Thomas
Justice Stephen Breyer agreed with the majority in a different opinion, while justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented. Breyer also joined the dissent in part.
The top-level takeaways
The vast majority opinion is really unequivocal in saying that PASPA is unconstitutional. Here’s the quick digest of what SCOTUS really said about PASPA Regarding the law:
When a State partially or completely repeals old laws banning sports gambling schemes, it”authorize[s]” these approaches under PASPA.
PASPA’s provision prohibiting state authorization of sports betting strategies violates the anticommandeering rule.
PASPA’s provision forbidding state”licens[ing]” of sport betting strategies also violates the anticommandeering rule. It issues a direct order to the state legislature and suffers from the same defect as the prohibition of state consent. Therefore, this Court need not determine whether New Jersey’s 2014 law violates PASPA’s antilicensing provision.
No provision of PASPA is severable from the provisions directly at issue.
The bottom line: PASPA is history.
Alito’s takeaways
Alito gives us a short history of gaming in the US and PASPA before getting into the questions of law that were put in front of the courtroom.
Alito stated the idea that Congress had in mind exactly what NJ did — a partial repeal — is suspicious:
The Third Circuit could not say that, if any, partial repeals are allowed. Respondents and the United States of America tell us that the PASPA ban state consent allows complete repeals, but beyond that they identify no obvious line. It’s improbable that Congress meant to enact such a nebulous regime.
The state had argued that PASPA commandeered the state into maintaining its prohibition on the novels. Along with the court, through Alito, agreed.
The PASPA provision at issue hereprohibiting state authorization of sports betting –violates the anticommandeering rule. That provision unequivocally dictates exactly what a state legislature may and might not do.
Reaction to the NJ sports betting case
This is some response from various corners:
American Gaming Association
“Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans that attempt to wager on sports in a safe and regulated way. According to a Washington Post survey, a strong 55 percent of Americans believe it’s time to end the federal ban on sports gambling. Today’s judgment makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports gambling.
Through smart, efficient regulation that this new marketplace will protect consumers, maintain the integrity of the games we all love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others. The AGA stands prepared to work with all stakeholders — states, tribes, sports leagues, and law enforcement — to make a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this opportunity to engage enthusiasts and boost local economies.”
The NFL’s long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our game remains intact. Congress has long-recognized the possible harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting competitions and the people confidence in these events. Given that background, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to reevaluate a heart regulatory framework for legalized sports betting. We will work together with our teams to ensure that any state efforts that move forward in the meantime protect our lovers and the integrity of our sport.
“Now the United States Supreme Court issued a clear decision that PASPA is unconstitutional, reversing the lower courts which held differently. While we are still reviewing the decision to understand the general implications to college sports, we’ll correct sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court.”
Commissioner Adam Silver:
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court opens the door for states to pass legislation legalizing sports gambling. We remain in favor of a national framework that would offer a uniform way of sports betting in states that choose to permit it, but we will remain active in continuing discussions with state legislatures. Irrespective of the particulars of any prospective sports betting law, the integrity of our sport remains our greatest priority.”
Along with the players’ association:
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will significantly impact our game — really, all sports in this country. The NBPA is going to frequently in conjunction with the other sports marriages , work to make certain our players’ rights are protected and promoted as we venture into this new territory.”
Major League Baseball
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will have deep effects on Major League Baseball. As each nation considers whether to let sports betting, we will continue to seek the proper protections for our sport, in partnership with other professional sports. Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games. We’ll continue to support legislation that promotes air-tight partnerships and coordination between the nation, the casino operators, as well as the governing bodies in athletics toward this objective.”
And the players’ association:
“The Court’s decision is massive, with far-reaching consequences for baseball players and the sport we love. From complex intellectual property inquiries to the simplest issues of players security, the realities of sports betting must be addressed and thoughtfully to avoid putting our game’s integrity at risk as conditions continue with legalization.”
PGA Tour
“After the Supreme Court’s ruling now, the PGA TOUR reiterates its support of the regulation of sports gambling in a safe and responsible way. We think that regulation is the most effective method of ensuring integrity in competition, protecting customers, engaging fans and generating revenue for authorities, leagues and operators. We stay aligned with the NBA and MLB in this area, and we will continue with our collective efforts to work with legislators, operators, regulators and others in the industry on regulation that serves the interests of all involved.”
The no. 2 guy under MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren spoke to Bloomberg:
“We believe in the subsequent two years to three decades, we’re 10 to 12 states that are ripe and ready to trigger that,” MGM President William Hornbuckle said. “We will be there. We’ll participate in it. We bring technology. We bring awareness. And in this space, we bring hope .”
888 Holdings
Itai Frieberger, CEO of 888:
“888 has been keeping a very close eye on regulatory improvements in america and welcomes today’s announcement as a significant step forward in the potential regulation of the US marketplace. The capacity for sports betting in the united states is important and, as the sole operator at all three regulated US states*, we believe 888 is uniquely positioned to exploit the potential growth opportunities in the US marketplace that today’s ruling opens up.”
Rep. Frank Pallone
Pallone is a Congressman from New Jersey that has championed sports gambling bills at the national level:
“The Supreme Court’s ruling is a triumph for New Jersey and the rest of the country. PASPA was clearly unconstitutional, and the ban on sports gambling has rightfully been reversed by the Court. I’ve long believed that New Jersey should have the chance to go with sports betting. Now the Supreme Court has struck down this unlawful and perplexing law, now is the time for Congress to move the GAME Act ahead to make sure that consumer protections are set up in any state that decides to execute sports gambling.”
Rep. Dina Titus
Titus represents Nevada in Congress.
“Now the Supreme Court has affirmed states’ rights in regards to sports gambling and opened up the door for controlled sports gambling in states throughout the nation,” said Representative Titus. “A regulated market is always better than an unregulated one. As the agent for Las Vegas I’ve seen the success of the flourishing, controlled sports betting market in Nevada. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act has spawned a $150 billion yearly illegal sports gambling market that lacks consumer protections, which is ripe for manipulation, fuels other illegal activities, and jeopardizes the integrity of sports leagues.
In the coming weeks, I will be working together with key stakeholders and business specialists to help educate my colleagues on what this implies for their own states and what they can learn from the gold standard set in Nevada. Allowing states and tribal sovereign governments to legalize sports betting could boost local economies, increase state revenues, and better protect both customers and the market, with Nevada showing how. Las Vegas will still be the premier destination for sports gambling, and Nevada will export its own expertise. The Supreme Court now also sends a very clear message to the Department of Justice that may be applied to some other nations’ rights issues like bud.”
New York
Here is Sen. John Bonacic, Who’s sponsoring legislation to legalize wagering in his state:
“New York was preparing for this moment since as far back as 2013 and we have remained proactive in expectation of the decision by the Court. The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee held a public hearing in January that brought together stakeholders from throughout the gaming spectrum to explore this issue in depth.
Since that moment, I have introduced legislation that has passed committee and continued to have productive discussions regarding the problem. I am confident that working together with my colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly, we can have a bill ready for Governor’s signature from the end of the session”
Pechanga Tribe
“We see sports betting as a possible amenity that would complement our numerous offerings. Now that the Court has ruled, we look forward to engaging in a conversation with fellow tribal leaders, policymakers, and industry stakeholders to find out whether there is a route forward for sports betting from California.”
California Nations Indian Gaming Association
Chairman Steve Stallings:
Moving forward it’ll take an amendment to the California Constitution to permit any form of sport wagering. In doing this, we’d advise the country to move slowly and cautiously and analyze all angles as it relates to sports gambling. As the condition of California weighs the decision of whether to allow for the practice of sports wagering, we firmly ask that tribes have a place in the table in all discussions surrounding the problem.
We also wish to make very clear that California voters have, on many occasions, confirmed the exclusive right of California tribal authorities to run casino-style games. Legalization of sports gambling should not become a back-door method to infringe upon that exclusivity.
A strong, well-regulated gaming sector is of extreme importance to California’s tribal governments and the public. Protecting the integrity of the gaming business shields California and is our true North Star that guides each of our stances and decision DraftKings and FanDuel
Both daily fantasy sports websites have been eyeing legal sports wagering and that interest increases today. DraftKings had already announced its intention to offer sports wagering:
“The Supreme Court’s conclusion, which paves the way for countries to legalize sports gambling, creates an enormous opportunity for FanDuel as our stage, brand, and customer base supply a unique and compelling foundation to participate.
At our center, we are a business that produces sports more exciting. In the exact same way we revolutionized fantasy sports, we will bring innovation to the sport gambling space. This decision makes it possible for us to bring the fire and participation we’ve observed one of our customers to new and expanded marketplaces and create a sports betting product that fans will love. FanDuel is and will continue to be the premier mobile destination for every sports enthusiast.”
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins:
“Our mission has always been to bring fans closer to the sports that they love and now, thanks to the wisdom of the Supreme Court, DraftKings is going to have the ability to exploit our proven technologies to provide our customers with revolutionary online sports betting products. This ruling gives us the capacity to further diversify our product offerings and build on our distinctive capability to drive fan participation.”

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