It’s game on for sports gambling in New Jersey, and possibly the rest of the country too.
The state of New Jersey won its US Supreme Court case, as a majority of justices declared that the national ban on sports wagering is unconstitutional.
More on NJ’s backstory sports gambling as well as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act here. Formerly, single-game wagering was authorized in the united states only through the Nevada sports betting industry.
Here’s the conclusion of the Vast Majority opinion:
The legalization of sports betting requires an important policy decision, but the decision is not ours to create. Congress can regulate sports betting right, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act by itself. Our job is to translate the legislation Congress has enacted and choose whether it’s consistent with the Constitution. PASPA isn’t. PASPA”regulate[s] state authorities’ law” of the citizens. …. The Constitution gives Congress no power. The judgment of the Third Circuit is reversed.
The court stated it reversed the decision of the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Complete opinion here.
SCOTUS impacts on sports gambling The real world applications of the verdict:
New Jersey can now move forward with its plans to legalize wagering. Some gaming facilities in the country have suggested it could be just a matter of weeks until sportsbooks are operations. William Hill has said previously it would be live within weeks at Monmouth Park.
West Virginia sports gambling and Mississippi sports gambling will also be prepared to proceed with legislation on the books.
So can Pennsylvania, that legalized sports wagering in 2017. A PA sports gambling rollout there’s upward in the air, but may come later this season.
Sports gambling legislation progressing in a number of nations can take effect immediately upon passage.
New Jersey seems set to move forward with legislation to regulate sports gambling, now that PASPA has been gone. Its initial law is what amounts to a”partial repeal” of its own sports betting prohibition, with unregulated wagering capable to take place at the state’s tracks and casinos.
The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement, that will oversee sports betting from the country, had no comment regarding the conclusion from SCOTUS today.
A quick timeline of the Situation New Jersey enacted a law in 2014 where it partly repealed its own sports betting ban. That law has been an attempt to allow the state’s casinos and horse betting paths to provide sports wagering by working around a national law, the skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That law prohibits single-game wagering out Nevada sports betting.
The NCAA and the leading US pro sports leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL — and the NCAA filed lawsuit to prevent the law from taking effect. The leagues have standing under PASPA to bring suits that authorize sports betting.
Over the following three Decades, New Jersey dropped in the federal district court and the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals. New Jersey then appealed the case to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed to hear New Jersey’s allure in the summer of 2017.
Oral arguments took place in December; several believed the hour of dialogue between justices and counsel went well for New Jersey.
More from the sports betting decision
The decision in the case clocked in at 49 pages. Six justices joined the vast majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. It had been joined by:
Chief Justice John Roberts
Justice Anthony Kennedy
Justice Elana Kagan
Justice Neil Gorsuch
Justice Clarence Thomas
Justice Stephen Breyer agreed with the majority in a different view, while justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented. Breyer also joined the dissent in part.
The top-level takeaways
The majority opinion is pretty unequivocal in stating that PASPA is unconstitutional. Here’s the quick digest of what SCOTUS really said about PASPA in terms of the law:
When a Condition partially or completely repeals old legislation banning sports gambling strategies, it”authorize[s]” those approaches under PASPA.
PASPA’s provision prohibiting state authorization of sports gambling schemes violates the anticommandeering rule.
PASPA’s provision forbidding state”licens[ing]” of sport gambling strategies also violates the anticommandeering rule. It matters a direct order to the state legislature and suffers from the exact same defect as the prohibition of state consent. Thus, this Court need not decide whether New Jersey’s 2014 law governs PASPA’s antilicensing provision.
No provision of PASPA is severable from the terms right at issue.
The bottom line: PASPA is background.
Alito’s takeaways
Alito gives us a short history of gaming in america and PASPA prior to getting into the questions of legislation which were put in front of the courtroom.
Alito said the idea that Congress had in mind what NJ did — a partial repeal — is suspicious:
The Third Circuit couldn’t say which, if any, partial repeals are permitted. Respondents and the United States tell us that the PASPA ban state authorization permits complete repeals, but past which they identify no clear line. It is improbable that Congress meant to enact this kind of nebulous regime.
The state had argued that PASPA commandeered the state into keeping its prohibition on the novels. And the court, via Alito, consented.
The PASPA supply at issue here–prohibiting state authorization of sport betting –violates the anticommandeering rule. That provision unequivocally dictates exactly what a state legislature may and might not do.
Reaction to the NJ sports betting case
This is some response from various corners:
American Gaming Association
“Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans that attempt to wager on sports in a secure and regulated manner. According to a Washington Post poll, a solid 55 percent of Americans believe it is time to end the federal ban on sports betting. Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and autonomous tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and accountable market for sports betting.
Through smart, efficient regulation this new marketplace will protect consumers, maintain the integrity of the games we all enjoy, enable law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and create new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others. The AGA stands ready to work together with stakeholders — states, tribes, sports leagues, and law enforcement — to create a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this opportunity to participate enthusiasts and boost local economies.”
The NFL’s longstanding and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our sport remains intact. Congress has long-recognized the possible harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests as well as the public confidence in these types of events. Given that background, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports gambling. We will work together with our teams to make certain that any state efforts that proceed in the meantime protect our fans and the integrity of our sport.
“Now the United States Supreme Court issued a clear decision that PASPA is unconstitutional, reversing the lower courts that held differently. While we are still reviewing the decision to understand the general implications to school sports, we will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court.”
Commissioner Adam Silver:
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court opens the door for states to pass legislation legalizing sports gambling. We remain in favor of a federal framework that will provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in countries that choose to permit it, but we’ll remain active in continuing talks with state legislatures. Irrespective of the particulars of any future sports gambling law, the integrity of the sport remains our highest priority.”
Along with the players’ association:
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will significantly impact our sport — really, all sports in this country. The NBPA is going to often in conjunction with another sports marriages work to ensure our players’ rights are protected and promoted as we venture into this new territory.”
Major League Baseball
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court will have profound effects on Major League Baseball. As every state considers whether to let sports betting, we will continue to seek out the proper protections for our game, in partnership with other professional sports. Our main priority is protecting the integrity of the matches. We’ll continue to support legislation which promotes air-tight partnerships and coordination between the nation, the casino operators, as well as the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”
Along with the players’ association:
“The Court’s conclusion is monumental, with far-reaching implications for baseball players and the sport we love. From complex intellectual property inquiries to the simplest issues of gamers safety, the realities of widespread sports betting must be addressed and thoughtfully to prevent placing our game’s integrity at risk as conditions proceed with legalization.”
PGA Tour
“After the Supreme Court’s ruling now, the PGA TOUR reiterates its support of the law of sports gambling in a secure and responsible manner. We believe that law is the best method of ensuring integrity in competition, protecting customers, engaging fans and generating revenue for authorities, operators and leagues. We stay aligned with the NBA and MLB in this region, and we are going to continue with our collective efforts to work with legislators, regulators, operators and others in the industry on regulation which serves the interests of all involved.”
The no. 2 man under MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren spoke to Bloomberg:
“We consider in the subsequent two years to 3 years, we’re 10 to 12 countries that are mature and ready to activate on that,” MGM President William Hornbuckle said. “We will be there. We’ll participate in it. We bring technology. We bring awareness. And in this space, we bring hope .”
888 Holdings
Itai Frieberger, CEO of 888:
“888 continues to be keeping a very close eye on regulatory developments in america and welcomes today’s announcement as a significant step forward in the possible regulation of the US market. The potential for sports gambling in the united states is significant and, since the sole operator at all three controlled US states, we consider 888 is distinctively positioned to exploit the potential growth opportunities in the US market that today’s judgment opens up.”
Rep. Frank Pallone
Pallone is a Congressman from New Jersey that has championed sports gambling bills at the national level:
“The Supreme Court’s ruling is a triumph for New Jersey and the rest of the country. PASPA was clearly unconstitutional, and the ban online sports betting has now rightfully been rejected by the Court. I’ve long believed that New Jersey should have the chance to proceed with sports betting. Now that the Supreme Court has struck down this criminal and perplexing law, it is time for Congress to move the GAME Act ahead to make sure that consumer protections are in place in any state that decides to implement sports gambling.”
Rep. Dina Titus
Titus represents Nevada in Congress.
“Now the Supreme Court has confirmed states’ rights when it comes to sports gambling and opened up the door for regulated sports betting in states throughout the country,” stated Representative Titus. “A regulated market is obviously better than an unregulated one. As the agent for Las Vegas I’ve seen the success of this booming, regulated sports gambling market in Nevada. The skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act has spawned a $150 billion annual illegal sports gambling market that lacks consumer protections, which is ripe for manipulation, fuels other illegal activities, and jeopardizes the integrity of sport leagues.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be working with key stakeholders and business specialists to help educate my colleagues on what this implies for their own states and what they can learn from the golden standard set in Nevada. Allowing countries and tribal sovereign governments to legalize sports gambling could boost local economies, increase state revenues, and even better protect both customers and the industry, with Nevada showing how. Las Vegas will still be the premier destination for sports betting, and Nevada can export its expertise. The Supreme Court today also sends a clear message to the Department of Justice that may be applied to some other states’ rights issues like marijuana.”
New York
Here is Sen. John Bonacic, Who’s sponsoring legislation to legalize wagering in his nation:
“New York has been preparing for this moment since as far back as 2013 and now we’ve stayed proactive in anticipation of the decision by the Court. The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee held a public hearing in January that brought together stakeholders from throughout the gaming spectrum to explore this issue in detail.
Since that moment, I’ve introduced legislation which has passed committee and proceeded to have productive discussions concerning the problem. I am confident that working together with my colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly, we can have a bill ready for Governor’s signature from the end of the session”
Pechanga Tribe
“We see sports betting as a potential amenity that will complement our many offerings. Now the Court has ruled, we anticipate participating in a conversation with fellow tribal leaders, policymakers, and business stakeholders to find out whether there’s a route forward for sports gambling in California.”
California Nations Indian Gaming Association
Chairman Steve Stallings:
Moving forward it will take an amendment to the California Constitution to permit any form of sport wagering. In doing this, we would advise the state to proceed slowly and carefully and examine all angles because it pertains to sports betting. As the condition of California weighs the decision of whether to permit for the practice of sports wagering, we strongly ask that tribes have a spot at the table in any and all discussions surrounding this problem.
We also want to make very clear that California voters have, on many occasions, confirmed the exclusive right of California tribal authorities to operate casino-style games. Legalization of sports betting shouldn’t develop into a back-door method to infringe upon that exclusivity.
A strong, well-regulated gaming industry is of utmost importance to California’s tribal authorities and the general public. Protecting the integrity of the gaming industry shields California and is our true North Star that guides all of our stances and conclusion DraftKings and FanDuel
The two daily fantasy sports websites are eyeing legal sports wagering and that interest will increase now. DraftKings had already announced its intention to offer sports wagering:
“The Supreme Court’s decision, which paves the way for countries to legalize sports betting, creates an enormous opportunity for FanDuel as our platform, brand, and customer base provide a unique and persuasive base to participate.
At our core, we’re a company which produces sports more exciting. In precisely the exact same manner we revolutionized fantasy sports, we’ll bring innovation to the sport betting space. This decision allows us to bring the passion and engagement we’ve seen one of our customers to new and expanded marketplaces and make a sports betting product that lovers will love. FanDuel is and will continue to be the best portable destination for every sports enthusiast.”
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins:
“Our mission has always been to bring fans closer to the sports that they love and today, thanks to the wisdom of the Supreme Court, DraftKings is going to be able to harness our proven technology to provide our clients with innovative online sports gambling products. This judgment gives us the capacity to further diversify our product offerings and build on our unique capability to drive fan participation.”

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