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 perhaps the rest of the country as well.
The state of New Jersey won its US Supreme Court case, as a vast majority of justices announced that the federal ban on sports wagering is unconstitutional.
More about NJ’s backstory sports gambling as well as the Skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act here. Formerly, single-game wagering was authorized in the US only through the Nevada sports betting industry.
Here’s the conclusion of the Vast Majority opinion:
The legalization of sports gambling requires a significant policy choice, but the choice isn’t ours to create. Congress can control sports betting right, but if it elects not to do so, every State is free to act on its own. Our job is to translate the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it’s consistent with the Constitution. PASPA isn’t. PASPA”regulate[s] state authorities’ regulation” of the citizens. …. The Constitution gives Congress no such 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 this verdict:
New Jersey can now proceed with its plans to legalize wagering. Some gaming facilities in the country have indicated it could be only a matter of weeks before sportsbooks are surgeries. William Hill has stated in the past it would be live within weeks in Monmouth Park.
West Virginia sports gambling and Mississippi sports gambling are also prepared to move forward with laws on the books.
So can Pennsylvania, which legalized sports wagering in 2017. A PA sports betting rollout there’s up in the air, but may come later this year.
Sports betting legislation advancing in several of states can take effect immediately upon passage.
New Jersey appears set to proceed with legislation to regulate sports betting, now that PASPA has been gone. Its first law is what amounts to a”partial repeal” of its own sports betting prohibition, with unregulated wagering capable to take place at the country’s tracks and casinos.
The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement, which will oversee sports betting from the state, had no comment on the conclusion from SCOTUS today.
A quick timeline of this case New Jersey enacted a law in 2014 in which it partially repealed its sports betting ban. That law has been an effort to permit the state’s casinos and horse betting tracks to offer sports wagering by operating around a federal law, the skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That law bans single-game wagering out of Nevada sports gambling.
The NCAA and the major US professional sports leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL — and the NCAA filed lawsuit to stop the law from taking effect. The leagues have standing under PASPA to bring suits that authorize sports gambling.
On the following three years, New Jersey lost in both 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 listen to New Jersey’s appeal 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 sports betting decision
The decision in the case clocked in at 49 pages. Six justices joined the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. It was joined by:
Chief Justice John Roberts
Justice Anthony Kennedy
Justice Elana Kagan
Justice Neil Gorsuch
Justice Clarence Thomas
Justice Stephen Breyer concurred 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 pretty unequivocal in saying that PASPA is unconstitutional. Here’s the quick digest of what SCOTUS really said about PASPA in terms of the law:
When a State partially or completely repeals old laws banning sports gambling strategies, it”authorize[s]” these approaches under PASPA.
PASPA’s provision prohibiting state authorization of sport betting schemes violates the anticommandeering rule.
PASPA’s provision forbidding state”licens[ing]” of sports betting schemes 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 authorization. Thus, this Court shouldn’t decide whether New Jersey’s 2014 law violates PASPA’s antilicensing provision.
No provision of PASPA is severable from the provisions right at issue.
The bottom line: PASPA is history.
Alito’s takeaways
Alito gives us a short history of gambling in the US and PASPA prior to getting to the questions of law which were put in front of the court.
Alito said the idea that Congress had in mind exactly what NJ did — a partial repeal — is dubious:
The Third Circuit couldn’t say which, if any, partial repeals are allowed. Respondents and the United States of America tell us that the PASPA ban state authorization allows complete repeals, but past which they identify no obvious line. It’s improbable that Congress intended to enact such a nebulous regime.
The state had argued that PASPA commandeered the state into keeping its prohibition on the novels. Along with the court, via Alito, consented.
The PASPA supply at issue hereprohibiting state authorization of sport gambling–violates the anticommandeering rule. That provision unequivocally dictates exactly what a state legislature might and might not do.
Reaction to the NJ sports gambling case
Here is some response from various corners:
American Gaming Association
“Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans that seek to wager on sports in a secure and regulated way. According to a Washington Post survey, a solid 55 percent of Americans believe it’s time to end the federal ban online sports betting. Today’s judgment makes it possible for states and autonomous tribal nations to give Americans what they need: an open, transparent, and accountable market for sports betting.
Through clever, efficient regulation that this new marketplace will protect consumers, maintain the integrity of the games we all enjoy, enable law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many more. The AGA stands prepared to work together with stakeholders — states, tribes, sports leagues, and law enforcement — to create a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this opportunity to participate fans and boost local economies.”
The NFL’s long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our sport remains absolute. Congress has long-recognized the possible harms posed by sports gambling to the integrity of sporting contests as well as the public confidence in these events. Given that background, we mean to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory frame for legalized sports betting. We also will work closely with our clubs to ensure that any state efforts that move forward in the meantime protect our fans and the integrity of our game.
“Today the United States Supreme Court issued a clear conclusion that PASPA is unconstitutional, reversing the lower courts that held otherwise. While we’re still reviewing the decision to understand the overall implications to college sports, we’ll adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the courtroom.”
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 federal framework that would offer a uniform approach to sports betting in states that choose to allow it, but we’ll remain active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures. Regardless of the details of any prospective sports betting law, the ethics of our game remains our highest priority.”
And the players’ association:
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will significantly impact our sport — indeed, all sports in this country. The NBPA is going to often in conjunction with another sports unionswork to make certain our players’ rights are protected and promoted as we venture into this new land.”
Major League Baseball
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will have profound effects on Major League Baseball. As each state considers whether to let sports gambling, we will continue to seek out the appropriate protections for our game, in partnership with other specialist sports. Our main priority is protecting the integrity of the games. We’ll continue to support legislation that promotes air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators, as well as the regulating bodies in sports toward that goal.”
And the players’ association:
“The Court’s conclusion is monumental, with far-reaching consequences for baseball players and the sport we love. From complicated intellectual property inquiries to the simplest topics of players safety, the realities of widespread sports betting must be addressed and thoughtfully to avoid placing our game’s integrity at risk as states proceed with legalization.”
PGA Tour
“Following the Supreme Court’s ruling today, the PGA TOUR reiterates its support of the law of sports gambling in a safe and responsible manner. We think that law is the best method of ensuring integrity in competition, protecting customers, engaging fans and creating revenue for government, operators and leagues. We stay aligned with the NBA and MLB in this area, and we are going to continue with our collective efforts to work with legislators, regulators, operators and others in the sector on regulation that serves the interests of all involved.”
The no. 2 man under MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren talked to Bloomberg:
“We consider in the next two years to 3 years, there are 10 to 12 states that are ripe and ready to trigger that,” MGM President William Hornbuckle said. “We will be there. We will take part in it. We deliver technology. We bring awareness. And in this space, we bring hope .”
888 Holdings
Itai Frieberger, CEO of 888:
“888 continues to be 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 market. The potential for sports gambling in the united states is important and, since the sole operator at all three controlled US states*, we consider 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 obviously unconstitutional, along with the ban on sports gambling has now rightfully been rejected by the Court. I’ve long thought that New Jersey should have the opportunity to proceed with sports betting. Now the Supreme Court has struck down this unlawful and confusing law, now is the time for Congress to move the GAME Act forward to make sure that consumer protections are in place in almost any nation that decides to implement sports betting.”
Rep. Dina Titus
Titus represents Nevada in Congress.
“Now the Supreme Court has affirmed states’ rights in regards to sports betting and opened up the door for regulated sports betting in states across the nation,” said Representative Titus. “A controlled market is obviously better than an unregulated one. As the agent for Las Vegas I have seen the success of the booming, controlled sports betting market in Nevada. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act has spawned a $150 billion yearly illegal sports betting market that lacks consumer protections, is ripe for manipulation, fuels other illicit actions, and jeopardizes the integrity of sports leagues.
In the forthcoming weeks, I’ll be working with key stakeholders and business specialists to help educate my colleagues on what this means for their states and what they are able to learn from the gold standard set in Nevada. Allowing countries and tribal sovereign governments to legalize sports betting could boost local economies, raise state revenues, and better protect both consumers and the industry, with Nevada showing how. Las Vegas will still be the premier destination for sports gambling, and Nevada can export its own experience. The Supreme Court today also sends a very clear message to the Department of Justice which can be applied to other nations’ rights issues like bud.”
New York
This is Sen. John Bonacic, Who’s sponsoring legislation to legalize wagering in his state:
“New York has been preparing for this moment since as far back as 2013 and we have remained proactive in expectation of the conclusion by the Court. The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee held a public hearing in January that brought together stakeholders from across the gaming spectrum to discuss this issue in detail.
Since that moment, I have introduced legislation which has passed committee and continued to have productive discussions concerning 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 by the end of the session”
Pechanga Tribe
“We view sports gambling as a possible amenity that will complement our many offerings. Now that the Court has ruled, we anticipate engaging in a dialogue with fellow tribal leaders, policymakers, and business stakeholders to find out whether there’s a route forward for sports gambling in California.”
California Nations Indian Gaming Association
Chairman Steve Stallings:
Moving ahead it’ll take a change to the California Constitution to permit any form of sports wagering. In doing so, we’d advise the state to move slowly and cautiously and analyze all angles because it pertains to sports gambling. As the condition of California weighs the decision of whether to allow for the practice of sports wagering, we strongly ask that tribes have a spot in the table in any and all discussions surrounding this problem.
In addition, we want to make quite clear that California voters have, on numerous occasions, supported the exclusive right of California tribal authorities to operate casino-style games. Legalization of sports gambling shouldn’t develop into a back-door way to infringe upon this exclusivity.
A strong, well-regulated gaming sector is of extreme importance to California’s tribal authorities and the public. Protecting the integrity of the gambling industry protects California and is our authentic North Star that guides all of our stances and conclusion DraftKings and FanDuel
The two daily fantasy sports websites are eyeing legal sports wagering and that interest increases now. DraftKings had already announced its intention to provide sports wagering:
“The Supreme Court’s decision, which paves the way for states to legalize sports gambling, creates an enormous opportunity for FanDuel as our platform, brand, and customer base provide a unique and persuasive base to participate.
At our core, we are a business that produces sports more exciting. In precisely the same way we revolutionized fantasy sports, we will bring innovation to the sports betting space. This choice allows us to attract the fire and participation we’ve seen one of our customers to new and enlarged marketplaces and create a sports betting product that lovers will love. FanDuel is and will continue to be the best portable destination for every sports fan.”
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins:
“Our mission has always been to bring fans closer to the sports that they love and today, due to the wisdom of the Supreme Court, DraftKings will be able to harness our proven technology to provide our clients with innovative online sports betting products. This ruling gives us the ability to further diversify our product offerings and build on our distinctive capacity to drive fan participation.”

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