New Jersey, SCOTUS and a softening NBA

New Jersey, SCOTUS and a softening NBA

Thursday, February 8, 2018 Posted by Craig Davies
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The landscape of sports betting within the shores of the United States of America has long been detailed, with the ongoing Christie v NCAA case so often front and centre.

Despite a record of zero wins with seven losses at federal court level, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) agreed to hear to the case, with oral arguments taking place towards the end of 2017.

In his opening speech ahead of the Sports Betting USA conference stream at ICE London 2018, Dan Wallach, a lawyer and shareholder at Becker & Poliakoff, offered insight as to how these were received: “Over the last year we have had so many developments in the sports betting landscape, and finally we see light at the end of the tunnel.

Going on to detail that SCOTUS takes less than 1% of all cases, amounting to around 25 or 30 per year, Wallach added: “The New Jersey sports gambling case basically hit a winning lottery ticket.

“New Jersey crushed it during the oral arguments in early December,  and the sentiment surrounding that is that the United States Supreme Court is really poised to declare the Professional and Amatuer Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional.

“Every observer in the courtroom, without fail, myself included, believe that New Jersey came away with the upper hand from the oral arguments.       

“And this is critically important, if the Supreme court invalidates PASPA, it will clear the way for states all over the country, as many states as want to legalise sports betting, to go ahead and do so.

“Already there have been 15 to 20 states that have introduced bills to legalise, authorise and regulate sports betting, with over ten in the last two to three months alone.”

One of the key proponents highlighted in his opening speech however, is the stance of the varying sports leagues within the US.

With the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and NCAA opposing the prospect of sports betting for so many years, the stance of the former seems to have softened somewhat, as Wallach explained: “The biggest shocker of all, if you really want to read the tea leaves here, is that the National Basketball Association (NBA), which has long been opposed to sports betting, and even three years ago deprived the prospect of the state regulation of sports betting, indicating that it had to be on a federal framework, after years of saying the states shouldn’t be able to do it, finally, the NBA is lobbying different state legislatures for sports betting legalisation, tied of course to some benefits and entitlements that the leagues believe that they should get.

“[Some of these examples are] such as the 1%, temporary safeguards, the use of official league data, but despite what may ultimately happen or not happen with the Supreme Court, I think most people are energised about the prospect of sports betting becoming more broadly legal in the United States before the end of this year”

Totally Gaming says: While the case is still ongoing of course, and no one can be 100% sure of what outcome we will be faced with, the major signs of positivity are in favour of New Jersey success. It is particularly interesting to hear detail of the NBA reneging on its previous hardline anti stance, despite coming with a number of “entitlements,” and it will be key to monitor the progress on this front.

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