A landmark decision was made by the US Supreme Court that could open the door to legalized sports betting throughout the country. The ruling essentially struck down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (on a 6 – 3 vote). It also reverses previous rulings made by lower courts which barred New Jersey from allowing sports wagers at its casinos and racetracks. The Supreme Court ruling will undoubtedly prompt other states to follow New Jersey’s lead and offer sports betting at their own casinos.
In the 31 page decision handed down, the Supreme Court said that it agreed with the Garden State that PASPA was an intrusion into individual states’ rights to regulate gambling within their own borders.
“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito for the court. “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 decision was applauded by the entire gaming industry, where share prices rocketed when news broke.
Jeff Ifrah, speaking as founding member of the casino trade association iDevelopment and Economic Association, said that the Supreme Court’s decision can be considered a jackpot – not just for the sports betting industry, but for the entire gaming industry.
“Now entertainment companies formerly driven to offshore locations due to the strict limitations of the PASPA can return to the U.S., bringing jobs and economic opportunities with them,” said Ifrah. “States like Illinois, Michigan and New York, which have been waiting for this opportunity, may now implement pro-business measures to encourage gaming and create the benefits like increased tax revenue that previously only a handful of states were permitted to enjoy. This ruling will create a positive domino effect by allowing any state that wants to, to open its doors and reap the benefits of rationally regulated gaming.”
According to Ifrah, the Supreme Court’s decision protects the right of each state to decide which kinds of businesses they allow within their borders.
“It also protects consumers, who now may engage in the popular activity of sports betting with the security of knowing that their activities will be protected by reputable brands and appropriate regulations,” he said.
A research firm previously estimated that if the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, as many as 32 states would be offering sports betting within the next five years.