Sports fans across the country got some great news in May when the United States Supreme Court struck down the law that bans sports gambling with a 6-3 ruling. Now, states can take the proper measures to legalize sports betting as they see fit. The law that was defeated, known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, was originally enacted in 1992.
The law only allowed individual game betting in the state of Nevada. In fact, sportsbooks in the state saw a record $4.8 billion in wagers placed in 2017 alone. The states that plan to move quickly to legalize sports betting are Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, New York and Mississippi.
The legal battle to have the law defeated lasted for six years. The state of New Jersey won the battle against the NFL, MLB, NCAA, NHL, and NBA. The victory for New Jersey is groundbreaking as it defeats a law that these sports leagues stood by and supported for almost three decades.
In its opinion, the Supreme Court wrote that “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.”
The legal battle began back in August 2012 when all the previously mentioned sports leagues filed a lawsuit against then-governor of New Jersey Chris Christie. The leagues were able to claim victories at each step of the legal process.
The tables turned when the Supreme Court decided it would hear the case in June of 2017. The oral arguments were heard on December 4, 2017, and the ruling from the court came just five months after the oral arguments.
“States across the country, including Virginia, can now make individual decisions about sports betting,” Karin Riley Porter, a federal crimes attorney with Price Benowitz, LLP, said. “No longer is it a federal crime to place a wager on an individual sporting event.”
The United States is not the only country to allow sports betting. Canada, France, the United Kingdom and Australia all allow wagering on sporting events.