SCOTUS: Law Banning Sports Betting Unconstitutional

May 15, 2018
SCOTUS Rules Law Banning Sports Betting Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional, paving the way for states to legalize sports betting.

PASPA, passed by the US Congress back in 1992, made it illegal for states to sponsor, operate, license, or authorize betting on competitive sports such as basketball and American football. The only exception is Nevada, home to resort-city and casino haven Las Vegas. The state of New Jersey, whose plans to support their struggling economy with sports betting were struck down by PASPA, challenged the constitutionality of the law in the Supreme Court last June 2017.

Golden Nugget Casino in New JerseyThe Court, voting 6-3 in favor of New Jersey, ruled that the power to legalize and ban sports betting lies not with the federal government but with the state governments. The ruling clears the way for states to decide whether they will allow sports betting in their respective jurisdiction.

Justice Samuel Amlito, delivering the Opinion of the Court, wrote:

“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own…Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.”

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Jackpot for Bettors, Operators, and State Economies

The decision of SCOTUS would attract sports bettors and betting operators to participate legally on the US market, according to Jeff Ifrah, founding member of iDevelopment and Economic Association (iDEA).

Ifrah, in a statement, said:

“The Supreme Court’s decision is a jackpot for not just sports betting but the entire gaming industry in general. Now entertainment companies formerly driven to offshore locations… can return to the U.S., bringing jobs and economic opportunities with them. States… may now implement pro-business measures to encourage gaming and create the benefits like increased tax revenue that previously only a handful of states were permitted to enjoy…This ruling will create a positive domino effect by allowing any state that wants to, to open its doors and reap the benefits of rationally regulated gaming.”

New Jersey and 20 other states that supported the case are expected to boost their respective economies with sports betting, should they wish to legalize it.

Steve Ruddock, online casino PlayNJ lead specialist, said:

“A perfect storm is brewing for New Jersey’s legal online gambling industry. Already setting monthly revenue records, the SCOTUS ruling this week… will bode well for the industry. New Jersey will likely be the first state to introduce regulated sports betting following the Supreme Court ruling. The state has been preparing for this day longer than any other, and is likely to have full-fledged sports betting available before the start of the NFL season.”

New Jersey, the first state that legalized online gambling, just posted its second highest revenue month this April. According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, state-licensed online gambling operators in NJ including that of Goldent Nugget Casino generated US$23 million in revenue, just short of the record US$ 25.6 million posted last March.

The organization’s state also received US$4.03 million in taxes last April. Since the state legalized online gambling, it has received a total of US$142.6 million in tax revenue.

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