Supreme Court Overturns Law Banning Sports Betting Across U.S.

 Alexa Lardieri
  15th-May-2018

THE SUPREME COURT struck down a law on Monday banning betting on sports in nearly all 50 states, legalizing sports gambling almost nationwide.

In a 6-3 decision, the court's ruling struck down the federal Professional and Amateuer Sports Protection Act from 1992 that forbid states from authorizing betting on sports games. Sports organizations, such as the NFL, MLB, NBA and the collegiate organization, the NCAA, have supported the federal ban. However, several states have been fighting to overturn the law to allow sports betting as a way to encourage tourism and tax revenue.

The court overturned PASPA, saying the law was "unconstitutional" because it forces the states to comply with the federal government, which violates constitutional principles that prohibits Congress from controlling the states.

"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," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the opinion. "PASPA is not. PASPA 'regulate[s] state governments' regulation' of their citizens ... The Constitution gives Congress no such power."

The case, Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, began with a lawsuit brought by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. West Virginia, along with 17 other states and governors of three more agreed with New Jersey in the case.

"I am thrilled to see the Supreme Court finally side with New Jersey and strike down the arbitrary ban on sports betting imposed by Congress decades ago," Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. "New Jersey has long been the lead advocate in fighting this inherently unequal law, and today's ruling will finally allow for authorized facilities in New Jersey to take the same bets that are legal in other states in our country."

However, not everyone was on board with the decision. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in the opinion, there is "no cause to deploy a wrecking ball" to destroy PASPA "in its entirety, as the Court does today."

Additionally, the NCAA Chief Legal Office Donald Remy, said in a statement "While we are still reviewing the decision to understand the overall implications to college sports, we will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court."

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