The United States Supreme Court has announced that the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in the case of New Jersey has been repealed. In a lengthy legal summary, SCOTUS made the following judgement: “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. PASPA “regulate[s] state governments’ regulation” of their citizens, New York, 505 US, at 166. The Constitution gives Congress no such power. The judgment of the Third Circuit is reversed.”
New Jersey has already been preparing for such a favourable outcome and could be in a position to take the first legal bets at its casinos and racetracks in the next couple of weeks. And with a slew of other states preparing bills to similar effect, as many as 25 other states are likely to follow suite as soon as legislative time allows.
Among the first to react was the American Gaming Association. President and CEO Geoff Freeman commented: “Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner. According to a Washington Post survey, a solid 55 percent of Americans believe it’s time to end the federal ban on sports betting.
“Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting. Through smart, efficient regulation this new market will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the games we love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others. The AGA stands ready to work with all stakeholders – states, tribes, sports leagues, and law enforcement – to create a new regulatory environment that capitalises on this opportunity to engage fans and boost local economies.”
Benjie Cherniak of Don Best Sports reacted to the news, saying: “With PASPA repealed, the wheels that have been churning behind the scenes the last number of years are about to kick into high gear. Look for accelerated activity from all stakeholders – operators, the leagues, state legislators, data suppliers, integrity monitoring services and more. There are still far more questions than there are answers, but now that judgement day has arrived the industry can put aside hypotheticals and begin putting the pieces of the puzzle together with certainty.”