It’s game on for sports gambling in New Jersey, and perhaps the rest of the nation too.
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 on NJ’s backstory sports gambling and the Professional 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 an important policy decision, but the choice isn’t ours to make. Congress can control sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act by itself. Our job is to translate the law Congress has enacted and choose whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA isn’t. PASPA”regulate[s] state governments’ law” of the citizens. …. The Constitution gives Congress no such power. The conclusion of the Third Circuit is reversed.
The court stated it reversed the decision of Appeals. Full opinion here.
SCOTUS impacts on sports betting The real world software of the verdict:
New Jersey can now move forward with its plans to legalize wagering. Some gaming facilities in the state have indicated it could be just a matter of weeks before sportsbooks are surgeries. William Hill has stated previously it would be live within weeks at Monmouth Park.
West Virginia sports gambling and Mississippi sports gambling are also well prepared to proceed with legislation on the books.
So can Pennsylvania, which legalized sports wagering in 2017. A PA sports gambling rollout there is upward in the air, but may come later this year.
Sports betting legislation advancing in a number of nations might take effect immediately upon passage.
New Jersey appears set to move forward with legislation to regulate sports gambling, today that PASPA has been gone. Its initial law is what amounts to a”partial repeal” of its own sports gambling prohibition, with unregulated wagering able to take place at the country’s tracks and casinos.
The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement, that will oversee sports betting in the state, had no comment on the decision from SCOTUS today.
A Fast timeline of this case New Jersey enacted a law in 2014 in which it partially repealed its sports gambling ban. That law has been an effort to permit the nation’s casinos and horse betting paths to provide 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 betting.
The NCAA and the major US professional sports leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL — and all the NCAA filed suit to stop the law from taking effect. The leagues have standing under PASPA to bring suits which exude sports betting.
Over the following three years, New Jersey dropped in the federal district court and the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals. New Jersey then appealed the case to the US Supreme Courtin June. The Supreme Court agreed to hear New Jersey’s allure in the summer of 2017.
Oral arguments took place in December; several believed the hour of dialogue between justices and counsel went well for New Jersey.
More from the sports betting decision
The choice in the case clocked in at 49 pages. Six justices joined the vast majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. It had been 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 separate opinion, while justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented. Breyer also joined the dissent in part.
The top-level takeaways
The majority opinion is really unequivocal in stating that PASPA is unconstitutional. Here’s the quick digest of what SCOTUS really said about PASPA in terms of the law:
When a Condition partially or completely repeals old laws banning sports betting strategies, it”authorize[s]” those schemes under PASPA.
PASPA’s provision forbidding state authorization of sport betting strategies violates the anticommandeering rule.
PASPA’s provision forbidding state”licens[ing]” of sports gambling 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. Therefore, this Court shouldn’t decide whether New Jersey’s 2014 law governs PASPA’s antilicensing provision.
No provision of PASPA is severable from the terms directly at issue.
The bottom line: PASPA is history.
Alito’s takeaways
Alito gives us a short history of gaming in the US and PASPA prior to getting to the questions of legislation which were put in front of the court.
Alito stated the idea that Congress had in mind what NJ did — a partial repeal — is dubious:
The Third Circuit couldn’t say that, if any, partial repeals are allowed. The United States tell us that the PASPA ban state authorization allows complete repeals, but beyond which they identify no clear line. It is unlikely that Congress intended to enact this kind of nebulous regime.
The state had argued that PASPA commandeered the nation into keeping its prohibition on the novels. Along with the court, through Alito, consented.
The PASPA provision at issue hereprohibiting state authorization of sports 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
This is some response from corners:
American Gaming Association
“Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who attempt to bet on sports in a safe and regulated way. According to a Washington Post poll, a solid 55 percent of Americans believe it’s time to end the federal ban on sports gambling. Today’s ruling makes it possible for countries and autonomous tribal nations to give Americans what they need: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting.
Through clever, efficient regulation that this new marketplace will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of those games we all enjoy, enable law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others. The AGA stands ready to work together with stakeholders — tribes, states, sports leagues, and law enforcement — to make a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this opportunity to participate enthusiasts and boost local economies.”
The NFL’s long-standing and unwavering dedication to protecting the integrity of the game remains intact. Congress has long-recognized the possible harms posed by sports gambling to the ethics of sporting competitions and the people confidence in these types of events. Given that history, we mean to call on Congress again, this time to enact a heart regulatory frame for legalized sports gambling. We will work together with our clubs to ensure that any state attempts that proceed in the meantime protect our lovers and the ethics of our game.
“Now the United States Supreme Court issued a crystal clear decision that PASPA is unconstitutional, reversing the lower courts which held otherwise. While we’re still reviewing the decision to understand the general implications to school 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 stay in favor of a federal framework that would offer a uniform way of sports betting in countries that choose to permit it, but we’ll stay active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures. Regardless of the details of any future sports betting law, the integrity of the sport remains our greatest priority.”
And the players’ association:
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will significantly impact our sport — really, all sports in this country. The NBPA will, frequently together with the other sports unionswork to ensure our players’ rights are safeguarded and encouraged as we venture into this new territory.”
Major League Baseball
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will have profound effects on Major League Baseball. As each state considers whether to allow sports gambling, we will continue to seek out the appropriate protections for our sport, in partnership with other professional sports. Our main priority is protecting the integrity of the games. We’ll continue to support legislation which promotes air-tight partnerships and coordination between the state, the casino operators, as well as the regulating bodies in athletics toward that goal.”
And the players’ association:
“The Court’s conclusion is monumental, with far-reaching implications for baseball players and the sport we love. From complex intellectual property inquiries to the simplest issues of players security, the realities of widespread sports gambling must be addressed and thoughtfully to prevent placing our sport’s integrity in danger as states continue with legalization.”
PGA Tour
“Following the Supreme Court’s ruling today, the PGA TOUR reiterates its support of the law of sports betting in a safe and responsible way. We believe that regulation is the most effective method of ensuring integrity in competition, protecting consumers, engaging enthusiasts and generating revenue for authorities, operators and leagues. We remain aligned with the NBA and MLB in this area, and we will continue with our collective efforts to work with legislators, regulators, operators and others in the sector on regulation which serves the interests of all involved.”
The no. 2 man under MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren spoke to Bloomberg:
“We consider in the subsequent two years to 3 decades, there are 10 to 12 countries that are mature and ready to trigger that,” MGM President William Hornbuckle said. “We’ll be there. We will take part in it. We bring technology. We bring knowledge. And frankly in this space, we bring trust.”
888 Holdings
Itai Frieberger, CEO of 888:
“888 has been keeping a very close eye on regulatory improvements in the US and welcomes today’s announcement as a significant step forward in the potential regulation of the US market. The potential for sports betting in the US is significant and, since the only operator at all three controlled US states, we believe 888 is uniquely positioned to exploit the potential growth opportunities in the US market that today’s ruling opens up.”
Rep. Frank Pallone
Pallone is a Congressman from New Jersey who has championed sports gambling bills at the federal level:
“The Supreme Court’s ruling is a win for New Jersey and the rest of the country. PASPA was obviously unconstitutional, and the ban on sports betting has now rightfully been rejected by the Court. I have long believed that New Jersey should have the opportunity to go with sports betting. Now the Supreme Court has struck down this unlawful and perplexing law, now is the time for Congress to maneuver the GAME Act ahead to ensure that consumer protections are in place in any nation that decides to execute sports betting.”
Rep. Dina Titus
Titus signifies Nevada in Congress.
“Today the Supreme Court has confirmed states’ rights when it comes to sports betting and opened the door for controlled sports gambling in states across the nation,” said Representative Titus. “A regulated market is always better than an unregulated one. As the representative for Las Vegas I have seen the success of the booming, regulated sports betting market in Nevada. The skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act has spawned a $150 billion annual illegal sports betting market that lacks consumer protections, is ripe for manipulation, fuels other illicit activities, and jeopardizes the integrity of sport leagues.
In the forthcoming weeks, I’ll be working with key stakeholders and industry experts to help educate my colleagues on what this means for their own states and what they can learn from the golden 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 customers and the industry, with Nevada revealing the way. Las Vegas will still be the best destination for sports betting, and Nevada will export its own experience. The Supreme Court today also sends a clear message to the Department of Justice that can be applied to some 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 now we’ve remained proactive in anticipation of the conclusion by the Court. The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee held a public hearing in January that brought together stakeholders from throughout the gaming spectrum to explore this issue in detail.
Since that moment, I have introduced legislation which has passed committee and proceeded to have productive discussions regarding the issue. I am confident that working with my colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly, we may have a bill ready for Governor’s signature by the end of the session.”
Pechanga Tribe
“We see sports gambling as a possible amenity that would complement our numerous offerings. Now the Court has ruled, we anticipate participating in a conversation with fellow tribal leaders, policymakers, and industry stakeholders to find out whether there is a path forward for sports betting from California.”
California Nations Indian Gaming Association
Chairman Steve Stallings:
Moving ahead it will take a change to the California Constitution to allow any kind of sports wagering. In doing so, we would advise the state to move slowly and cautiously and examine all angles as it relates to sports betting. As the condition of California weighs the choice of whether to permit for the practice of sports wagering, we firmly request that tribes have a spot at the table in any and all discussions surrounding this problem.
We also want to make very clear that California voters have, on numerous occasions, confirmed the exclusive right of California tribal authorities to operate casino-style games. Legalization of sports betting shouldn’t become a back-door method to infringe upon that exclusivity.
A strong, well-regulated gaming sector is of utmost importance to California’s tribal governments and the general public. Assessing the integrity of the gambling business shields California and is our true North Star that guides each our stances and conclusion DraftKings and FanDuel
The two daily fantasy sports websites are eyeing legal sports wagering and that interest will increase today. DraftKings had already declared its intention to offer sports wagering:
“The Supreme Court’s conclusion, which paves the way for countries to legalize sports betting, creates a huge opportunity for FanDuel as our stage, brand, and customer base provide a unique and persuasive base to participate.
At our core, we are a company that makes sports more exciting. In the same way we revolutionized fantasy sports, we will bring innovation to the sports betting space. This decision makes it possible for us to bring the fire and participation we have seen one of our users to new and enlarged marketplaces and make a sports gaming product which fans will love. FanDuel is and will continue to be the premier portable destination for every sports fan.”
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins:
“Our mission has always been to bring fans closer to the sports they love and today, due to the wisdom of the Supreme Court, DraftKings is going to be able to exploit our proven technology to provide our clients with revolutionary online sports gambling products. This judgment gives us the ability to further diversify our product offerings and build on our distinctive capability to drive fan participation.”

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