Supreme Court makes landmark decision on PASPA

Supreme Court makes landmark decision on PASPA

Monday, May 14, 2018 Posted by Joseph Streeter
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SCOTUS has voted to overturn PASPA

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has opened the door for US states to enforce their own laws when it comes sports betting, by ruling the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) to be unconstitutional.

In spite of the state of New Jersey suffering various setbacks in its longstanding legal quest to legalise sports betting, SCOTUS today ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional and has therefore ruled in favour of New Jersey, overturning the act by six votes to three. 

The ruling stated: "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.”

With this ruling, SCOTUS has not only allowed New Jersey to potentially legalise sports betting, but has also allowed each state to potentially regulate their own market and implement their own laws when it comes to sports betting.  

With this ruling looming, a host of states that have flirted with the idea of legalising sports betting will be celebrating, including Delaware, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. With many of these states having already mapped out legislation for a legalised sports betting market in the event of today’s result.

American Gaming Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman reacted to the news: “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 per cent 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. Through smart, efficient regulation this new market will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the games we love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others. The AGA stands ready to work with all stakeholders – states, tribes, sports leagues, and law enforcement – to create a new regulatory environment that capitalises on this opportunity to engage fans and boost local economies.”

William Hill Chief Executive Officer Philip Bowcock also responded: “This is a landmark moment for sports betting and for William Hill.  Now, all attention shifts to the states, where steps have already been taken to prepare for this day.  Legalised sports betting means that consumers and sports leagues will have greater protection, states will benefit from the raising of taxes and there is the potential for over 100,000 jobs to be created.  We welcome the ruling and expect to be operational in New Jersey as soon as responsibly possible.  We are also actively working on opportunities in a number of other states and will update on these opportunities as appropriate.”  

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