Good News for Sports Betting in the US: New Jersey Wins Supreme Court Case

Publish: 04.06.2018

The US Supreme Court has finally reached the long-awaited decision regarding the federal ban on sports betting, which was effectively imposed by the PASPA more than two and a half decades ago.

The state of New Jersey has won its case after the majority of justices reached a verdict that the federal ban on sports betting is unconstitutional.

The Root of All Problems

A 6-3 decision means that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) has been declared unconstitutional, while in practice, this decision will allow states to decide by themselves if they want to make sports betting available to their residents.

Such an outcome marks the beginning of a new era, not only for New Jersey but for other US states as well.

President George H. W. Bush signed PASPA into law back in 1992, effectively banning sports betting on a national level, except for a few states. Licensed sports pool in Nevada, as well as sports lotteries in Oregon, Delaware, and Montana, were exempted from the new law.

Although PASPA de facto outlawed sports betting, de jure it only banned states from regulating sports betting within their respective territory. However, PASPA didn’t have the desired effect and led to an increase of illegal betting activities, which – according to the American Gaming Association – account for 97% of all the bets made on sports on annual basis.

This case goes back to 2014 when New Jersey tried to repeal its own sports betting ban, while the NCAA and the major US pro sports leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL — along with the NCAA filed a lawsuit to stop the legislation from coming into effect. Over the next three years, New Jersey lost in both federal district court and the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals but then appealed the case to the US Supreme Court, who agreed to hear its case last year.

What Now?

Now the PASPA is repealed, states can determine on their own whether they will offer sports betting or not. Many of the states have expressed their desire to establish sports betting, especially since this is regarded as an easy way to bring more money to their coffers.

A total of 17 states have already passed a bill legalizing sports betting, or are in the process of adopting such a piece of legislation. Apart from New Jersey, West Virginia and Mississippi could be the among the first to allow sports betting following the Supreme Court’s decision. Pennsylvania is likely to follow as well, with a number of other states preparing to move forward with their respective sports betting legislation.

Commenting on the US Supreme Court’s ruling, the American Gaming Association (AGA) said this was a victory for the millions of Americans who sought to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner. The AGA reminded that a recent Washington Post survey showed that the majority of Americans believed it was time to end the federal ban on sports betting.

This decision will help create a transparent and open, but above all, responsible sports betting in the United States.

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