Supreme Court 2018 Sports Betting Case
At stake is a 26-year-old federal law that has kept legalized sports betting out of most states.
The State of New Jersey has challenged a federal law called the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that prohibits sports wagering in most states. New Jersey residents voted in 2011 and 2014 to approve sports betting there. Then-Governor Chris Christie signed a bill in 2014 attempting to make it legal under state law.
On the other side
The Department of Justice got involved and New Jersey lost decisions at every level. In 2016 a federal appeals court agreed that PASPA prohibited states from allowing sports betting.
But the Supreme Court took notice of the case and agreed to consider New Jersey’s claim that the law is unconstitutional. If it rules in favor of sports betting in Atlantic City, the decision could pave the way for wagering nationwide.
PASPA makes it illegal for people to bet on sports in most states except Nevada, Montana, Delaware and Oregon, which were allowed to grandfather existing programs.
New Jersey says the law goes against the 10th Amendment’s “anti-commandeering” rule, which prevents Congress from forcing states to enforce federal regulations.
Even if the Supreme Court rules that the law is valid and New Jersey can not offer sports wagering right now. The amount of legislation that states have offered in anticipation of sports betting becoming legal shows that there are a lot of legislators who want to change the existing law. While losing would be a setback to getting sports wagering off the ground in New Jersey soon. The need for states to add revenue while not raising taxes has sports betting low hanging fruit to many and I would expect the Congress to become involved in modifying the law in time for the NFL season.