In a 6-3 decision Monday, the United States Supreme Court determined that a 1992 federal law [The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)] violated constitutional principles by forcing states to ban sports betting under their own laws.

The case dealt specifically with New Jersey who contested an earlier 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, but the language in the opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, makes it clear that other states could go forward with establishing legal frameworks to regulate sports betting.

The opinion concludes as below (PDF):

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. PASPA “regulate[s] state governments’ regulation” of their citizens. [New York, 505 U. S., at 166].  The Constitution gives Congress no such power. The judgment of the Third Circuit is reversed.

According to CNN Politics, Caesars Entertainment stock spiked 6% right after the ruling was announced, and DraftKings said it would be entering the sports betting market.

CNN Supreme Court analyst, Steve Vladeck said: “Today’s decision clears the way for all states to make their own decisions about legalizing sports betting, and in one fell swoop gets rid of Nevada’s monopoly on the subject and the 1992 federal statute that had protected it.”
Vladeck added that it remains to be seen whether the US Congress will enact new laws or leave regulation up to the states.

American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO Geoff Freeman issued a statement immediately following the decision: “Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner. According to a Washington Post survey, a solid 55 percent of Americans believe it’s time to end the federal ban on sports betting. Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting,” according to the AGA News Room.

Some reports indicate a 6-3 decision and others, 7-2. This is due to Justice Breyer concurring with the majority in a separate opinion and joining the dissenting Sotomayor and Ginsburg in part.

Several states already have laws on the books in anticipation of today’s ruling with several others ready to pass and enact their own regulations.

Supremes: PASPA unconstitutional; Sports betting legal in U.S. was last modified: May 14th, 2018 by Lars Jones