The United States Supreme Court has just opened the gates for states to allow sports betting all across the country. The court struck down the law that barred betting on a majority of sports across most of the nation. The chief justices voted to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in a vote of 6-3. This 1992 law barred state-authorized sports except for some states like Nevada.
This move comes as a ray of light for many states who would like to quickly legalize sports betting as it will help meet their budget shortfalls.
AGA Delighted With Supreme Court Ruling
The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimated that Americans spend over $150 billion each year by making illegal sports bets. With this ruling, sports betting operators can now offer betting services on a variety of sports and sports leagues including the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, MMA. Before the Supreme Court ruling, a research firm predicted that if the Court struck down the law, around 32 states would offer legal sports betting within five years.
In a statement, Geoff Freeman, CEO of the AGA, said “Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting.Through smart, efficient regulation this new market will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the games we love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others.”
Not All Leagues Not In Favor Of Legalized Sports Betting
However, it is not all sunshine and roses. All four of the major professional U.S. sports leagues, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the federal government were against striking down the law. The main concern was that sports betting would be able to affect the performance of teams and even the outcome of games.
The National Hockey League (NHL), National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and the National Basketball Association (NBA) were against the striking down the law and the further expansion of New Jersey’s sports betting enterprise to other states. They argued that it would hurt the integrity of their particular sports.
After the ruling, each association has released a response to it. The MLB’s statement says that the ruling would have a large effect on the league and that it would be seeking ways to protect the sport from negative effects of the ruling.
The NBA is more welcoming. Adam Silver, the current NBA commissioner, says that the NBA supports a federal structure for sports betting to ensure a uniform approach is taken. However, he emphasizes that the NBA wants to protect the integrity of their games and is its priority.
The NHL and NFL are still quiet but admit they they are analyzing the ruling. The NCAA is doing something similar, with the association making plans to adjust their policies.
New Jersey Finally Wins PASPA Repeal Lawsuit
The ruling that struck down PASPA stemmed from a case in New Jersey, a state that has been fighting for years to legalize sports gambling both on the track and in casinos. In December 2017, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that if the Supreme Court ever sided with the state, sports betting would be ready to go in just two weeks.
When the news broke, Christie immediately tweeted that it was a great day for state’s rights. The current governor, Phil Murphy was also quite happy with the ruling. He said that he would be looking forward to working with the state legislature to develop laws to authorize and regulate sports bets soon.
Sportsbooks are not wasting any time either. Monmouth Park, a racetrack at the Jersey Shore, has already started up its sports book operation and estimates that it can start taking bets within two week.
The ruling is a culmination of New Jersey’s efforts. The garden state has spent millions of dollars to try and legalize sports betting. In 2012, the New Jersey legislature passed a law that would allow for legal sports betting. However, the NCAA and the major professional sports leagues joined together to sue and shut down the law.
In 2014, the state took another tack and trued to repeal the laws that stopped sports gambling at race tracks and casino. The idea was that repealing laws was different from adding new laws that legalized sports gambling. New Jersey got sued again and lost the case – but they then took it to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court decision will now pave the way for New Jersey and a number of other states to offer legalized sports betting.