Supreme Court strikes down federal law prohibiting sports gambling

Credit: Win McNamee

Credit: Win McNamee

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a key portion of a federal law that prevented states from offering legal betting on sports at their race tracks and casinos, KTLA reported.

By a 6-3 vote, the high court ruled that in 1992, Congress lacked the authority to pass the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which banned states that did not already allow legal sports betting from sanctioning it, The New York Post reported.

“Just as Congress lacks the power to order a state legislature not to enact a law authorizing sports gambling, it may not order a state legislature to refrain from enacting a law licensing sports gambling,” Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said in his 31-page majority opinion.

Currently, only Nevada offers legalized betting on sports, KTLA reported. New Jersey officials, who brought the case forward in July 2017, said the federal government could not force them to enforce a congressional ban on wagering on professional and college sports. New Jersey is expected to be an immediate beneficiary of the Supreme Court decision, the Post reported. Other states that are expected to follow suit are Delaware, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Concurring with Alito were justices John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch. Stephen Breyer agreed in part with most of the ruling.

Dissenting opinions were written by Sonya Sotomayer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Breyer (in part).

The court ruled in favor of New Jersey and against NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and the NCAA, ending a six-year legal battle, ESPN reported. The leagues sued New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in August 2012, and the Supreme Court decided to take the case in June, ESPN reported. Oral arguments were heard Dec. 4.

About the Author