Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Sports Gambling; NFL, MLB And Other Major Leagues React
On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law forbidding sports gambling, thus effectively allowing states to legalize betting on major sports.
In a 6-3 ruling, the court decided to revoke the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The law essentially banned state-authorized sports gambling with certain exceptions. The act only did not apply in Nevada, where betting on single games was permitted.
According to ESPN, New Jersey will likely be one of the first states to offer legal sports gambling opportunities. New York, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Delaware could follow suit.
The New York Times reports that Americans collectively bet around $150 million on sports illegally each year.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. explained the arguments both for and against the legalization of sports betting.
“Supporters argue that legalization will produce revenue for the states and critically weaken illegal sports betting operations, which are often run by organized crime,” Alito wrote. “Opponents contend that legalizing sports gambling will hook the young on gambling, encourage people of modest means to squander their savings and earnings, and corrupt professional and college sports.”
The justice added that Congress could still directly regulate sports betting, although it could not force states to do this. Last year, FanDuel and DraftKings, two fantasy sports companies, cancelled their deal for a merger.
Senator Bill Bradley, a New Jersey Democrat and a former college and pro basketball player, was one of the sponsors of the 1992 PASPA law.
One of the people to approve of the Supreme Court’s decision was former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was sued by multiple major sports leagues in 2012 for attempting to allow gambling.
A great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions. New Jersey citizens wanted sports gambling and the federal Gov’t had no right to tell them no. The Supreme Court agrees with us today. I am proud to have fought for the rights of the people of NJ.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) May 14, 2018
Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s current governor, also voiced support for the ruling.
Here are some of the statements shared by the NFL, MLB, NBA and other sports leagues who responded to the court’s decision:
“The NFL’s long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our game remains absolute,” the league said in a statement. “Congress has long recognized the potential harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events.”
“Given that history, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework 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.”
“As each state considers whether to allow sports betting, we will continue to seek the proper protections for our sport, in partnership with other professional sports,” the league said in a statement. “Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games. We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court opens the door for states to pass laws legalizing sports betting,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “We remain in favor of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it, but we will remain active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures. Regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision today paves the way to an entirely different landscape – one in which we have not previously operated,” the league said in a statement. “We will review our current practices and policies and decide whether adjustments are needed, and if so, what those adjustments will look like.”
“It’s important to emphasize that the Supreme Court’s decision has no immediate impact on existing League rules relating to sports wagering, and particularly, wagering involving NHL games. So, while changes may be considered in the future, today’s decision does not directly impact the operation of the League or any of our Clubs in the short term.”