Supreme Court lets states legalize sports betting, rules federal ban unconstitutional
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Sports gambling in the United States just got a whole lot easier. The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a historic decision on Monday morning as it struck down the federal ban on sports gambling that prohibits betting on sports in most states. As a result of the ruling, individual states will now have control over whether to allow sports gambling.
The case was brought to the Supreme court by the state of New Jersey, which has been advocating for legalized sports gambling for years. The Supreme Court voted in favor of striking down the ban with a 7-2 vote.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was established in 1992 to prohibit individual states from being able to “sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law” the act of gambling on sports, with few exceptions. It made Las Vegas’ sportsbook a national commodity, as Nevada is currently the only state where a person can wager on the results of a single game.
Six states (Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Mississippi) have already begun enacting legislation to legalize sports betting once the federal law is lifted. Over a dozen additional states have introduced legislation in the past few years in an effort to join them.
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed legislation in 2012 attempting to bypass PASPA and legalize sports betting in the state, but he was promptly sued by the NCAA and the four major pro sports leagues. New Jersey attempted to bring the case to the Supreme Court in 2014, but had their initial request for hearing denied. It wasn’t until December of 2017 that the court began to hear the case.
You can read the court’s full opinion on the case here.