It’s game on for sports betting in New Jersey, and possibly the rest of the country as well.
The state of New Jersey won its US Supreme Court case, as a majority of justices declared that the federal ban on sports wagering is unconstitutional.
More on the backstory of NJ sports betting as well as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act here. Formerly, single-game wagering was legal in the US only via the Nevada sports gambling industry.
Here is the conclusion of the Vast Majority opinion:
The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can control sports gambling right, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own. Our job is to translate the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. PASPA”govern [s]state governments’ law” of the citizens. …. The Constitution gives Congress no such power. The conclusion of the Third Circuit is reversed.
The court said that it reversed the decision of the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Full opinion here.
SCOTUS impacts on sports gambling The real-world applications of this verdict:
New Jersey can now proceed with its plans to legalize wagering. Some gaming facilities in the state have suggested it could be only a matter of weeks until sportsbooks are operations. William Hill has said in the past it would be live within weeks in Monmouth Park.
West Virginia sports gambling and Mississippi sports gambling are also prepared to proceed with legislation on the books.
So can Pennsylvania, which legalized sports wagering in 2017. A PA sports gambling rollout there is up in the air, but could come later this season.
Sports gambling legislation progressing in several of states might take effect immediately upon passage.
New Jersey seems set to proceed with legislation to govern sports gambling, today that PASPA is gone. Its initial law is what amounts to a”partial repeal” of its sports betting prohibition, together with unregulated wagering able to take place at the state’s casinos and tracks.
The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement, that will oversee sports gambling in the state, had no comment on the decision from SCOTUS today.
A Fast timeline of the case New Jersey enacted a law in 2014 in which it partially repealed its sports gambling ban. That law has been an attempt to allow the nation’s casinos and horse betting paths to provide sports wagering by working on a federal law, the skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That law bans single-game wagering outside of Nevada sports betting.
The NCAA and the major US pro sports leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL — and the NCAA filed lawsuit to prevent the legislation from taking effect. The leagues have standing under PASPA to bring suits which authorize sports betting.
On the following 3 Decades, New Jersey dropped in both 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 listen to New Jersey’s appeal 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 gambling decision
The decision in the event clocked in at 49 pages. Six justices joined the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. It was joined by:
Chief Justice John Roberts
Justice Anthony Kennedy
Justice Elana Kagan
Justice Neil Gorsuch
Justice Clarence Thomas
Justice Stephen Breyer agreed with the majority in a different view, while justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented. Breyer also joined the dissent in part.
The top-level takeaways
The vast majority opinion is really unequivocal in saying that PASPA is unconstitutional. Here’s the quick digest of what SCOTUS really said about PASPA in terms of the law:
When a State completely or partially repeals old legislation banning sports betting strategies, it”authorize[s]” those schemes under PASPA.
PASPA’s provision prohibiting state authorization of sports gambling schemes violates the anticommandeering rule.
PASPA’s provision forbidding state”licens[ing]” of sport betting schemes also violates the anticommandeering rule. It matters a direct order to the state legislature and suffers from precisely the same defect as the prohibition of state consent. Therefore, this Court need not decide whether New Jersey’s 2014 law governs PASPA’s antilicensing provision.
No supply of PASPA is severable from the terms right at issue.
The bottom line: PASPA is history.
Alito gives us a brief history of gaming in the US and PASPA before getting into the questions of legislation that were placed in front of the courtroom.
Alito stated the idea that Congress had in mind what NJ did — a partial repeal — is dubious:
The Third Circuit couldn’t say which, if any, partial repeals are allowed. The United States tell us that the PASPA ban on state authorization permits complete repeals, but past that they identify no obvious line. It’s unlikely that Congress intended to enact such a nebulous regime.
The state had argued that PASPA commandeered the nation into keeping its prohibition on the books. Along with the court, via Alito, consented.
The PASPA provision at issue here–prohibiting state authorization of sport betting –violates the anticommandeering rule. That supply unequivocally dictates 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 wager on sports in a safe and controlled manner. According to a Washington Post poll, a strong 55 percent of Americans think it’s time to end the federal ban online sports betting. Today’s judgment makes it possible for states and autonomous tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and accountable market for sports betting.
Through smart, efficient regulation that this new marketplace will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of those games we love, enable law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and several others. The AGA stands ready to work with all stakeholders — tribes, states, sports leagues, and law enforcement — to create a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this chance to engage enthusiasts and boost local economies.”
The NFL’s long-standing and unwavering dedication to protecting the integrity of our game remains absolute. Congress has long-recognized the possible harms posed by sports betting to the ethics of sporting contests as well as the public confidence in these events. Given that history, we mean to call on Congress again, this time to reevaluate a core regulatory frame for legalized sports betting. We also will work together with our teams to ensure that any state efforts that proceed in the meantime protect our lovers and the integrity of our sport.
“Now the United States Supreme Court issued a crystal clear conclusion that PASPA is unconstitutional, reversing the lower courts that held differently. While we’re still reviewing the decision to comprehend the overall implications to college sports, we’ll correct 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 national framework that will provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it, but we’ll remain active in continuing discussions with state legislatures. Regardless of the particulars of any prospective sports gambling law, the ethics of the sport remains our greatest priority.”
Along with the players’ association:
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will significantly impact our sport — really, all sports in this country. The NBPA will, often in conjunction with another sports marriages work to ensure that our players’ rights are protected and promoted as we venture into this new land.”
Major League Baseball
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will have profound effects on Major League Baseball. As every state considers whether to allow sports gambling, we will continue to seek out the appropriate protections for our game, in partnership with other professional sports. Our main priority is protecting the integrity of the matches. We will continue to support legislation which promotes air-tight partnerships and coordination between the state, the casino operators, and the regulating bodies in athletics toward that goal.”
Along with the players’ association:
“The Court’s conclusion is massive, with far-reaching consequences for baseball players and the sport we love. From complicated intellectual property inquiries to the most basic topics of players safety, the realities of sports betting must be addressed urgently and thoughtfully to avoid putting our game’s integrity at risk as states continue with legalization.”
“After the Supreme Court’s ruling now, the PGA TOUR reiterates its support of the law of sports gambling in a safe and responsible manner. We think that regulation is the best method of ensuring integrity in competition, protecting consumers, engaging enthusiasts and generating revenue for government, leagues and operators. We stay aligned with the NBA and MLB in this region, and we will continue with our collective efforts to work with legislators, operators, regulators and others in the sector on regulation that serves the interests of all involved.”
The no. 2 guy under MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren spoke to Bloomberg:
“We believe in the subsequent two years to 3 decades, we’re 10 to 12 states that are ripe and ready to trigger that,” MGM President William Hornbuckle said. “We’ll be there. We will participate in it. We bring technology. We bring awareness. And frankly in this space, we bring hope ”
Itai Frieberger, CEO of 888:
“888 has been keeping a very close eye on regulatory developments in america and welcomes today’s announcement as an important step forward in the potential regulation of the US market. The potential for sports betting in the united states is important and, since the sole operator in all three controlled US states*, we consider 888 is distinctively 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 that has championed sports betting bills at the national level:
“The Supreme Court’s ruling is a win for New Jersey and the rest of the country. PASPA was obviously unconstitutional, along with the ban online sports betting has now rightfully been reversed by the Court. I’ve long believed that New Jersey should have the chance to proceed with sports betting. Now the Supreme Court has struck down this unlawful and confusing law, now is the time for Congress to move the GAME Act ahead to make sure that consumer protections are in place in almost any nation that decides to execute sports betting.”
Rep. Dina Titus
Titus represents Nevada in Congress.
“Now the Supreme Court has affirmed states’ rights when it comes to sports betting and opened the door for regulated sports betting in states throughout the nation,” said Representative Titus. “A controlled market is always better than an unregulated one. As the agent for Las Vegas I’ve seen the success of this flourishing, regulated sports betting market in Nevada. The skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act has spawned a $150 billion yearly illegal sports betting market that lacks customer protections, which is ripe for manipulation, fuels other illegal activities, and jeopardizes the integrity of sport leagues.
In the forthcoming weeks, I’ll be working together with key stakeholders and industry specialists to help educate my colleagues on what this implies for their states and what they can learn from the gold standard set in Nevada. Allowing countries and tribal sovereign governments to legalize sports gambling could boost local markets, increase state revenues, and better protect both consumers and the market, with Nevada showing how. Las Vegas will still be the premier destination for sports gambling, and Nevada can export its experience. The Supreme Court now also sends a very clear message to the Department of Justice which can be applied to some other nations’ rights problems like marijuana.”
This is Sen. John Bonacic, who is sponsoring legislation to legalize wagering in his nation:
“New York has been preparing for this moment since as far back as 2013 and we have stayed proactive in expectation of the conclusion by the Court. The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee held a public hearing in January that brought together stakeholders from across the gaming spectrum to discuss this issue in detail.
Since that time, I have introduced legislation which has passed committee and continued to have productive discussions regarding the issue. I am confident that working together with my colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly, we may have a bill ready for Governor’s signature from the end of the session”
“We view sports betting as a possible amenity that will complement our numerous offerings. Now that the Court has ruled, we look forward to engaging in a dialogue with fellow tribal leaders, policymakers, and industry stakeholders to see if there’s a route forward for sports betting in California.”
California Nations Indian Gaming Association
Chairman Steve Stallings:
Moving ahead it will take an amendment to the California Constitution to allow any form of sports wagering. In doing this, we’d advise the state to proceed slowly and carefully 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 in the table in all discussions surrounding this issue.
In addition, we wish to make very clear that California voters have, on many occasions, confirmed the exclusive right of California tribal governments to run casino-style games. Legalization of sports betting should not become a back-door way to infringe upon that exclusivity.
A powerful, well-regulated gaming sector is of extreme importance to California’s tribal authorities and the general public. Assessing the integrity of the gaming business protects California and is our true North Star that guides all of our stances and decision DraftKings and FanDuel
The two daily fantasy sports websites have been eyeing legal sports wagering and that interest will increase today. DraftKings had already announced its intention to provide sports wagering:
“The Supreme Court’s decision, which paves the way for countries to legalize sports betting, creates a huge opportunity for FanDuel as our platform, brand, and customer base supply a special and persuasive base to meaningfully participate.
At our center, we’re a business that produces sports more exciting. In the same manner we revolutionized fantasy sports, we will bring innovation to the sport gambling space. This decision makes it possible for us to bring the fire and participation we have seen one of our customers to new and expanded marketplaces and create a sports betting product that lovers will love. FanDuel is and will continue to be the premier mobile destination for every sports enthusiast.”
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 have the ability to harness 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 capacity to drive fan engagement.”
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