The Supreme Court struck down a federal law that prohibits sports gambling Monday in a landmark decision that gives states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.
The court ruled to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), a 1992 law that barred state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions. It made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.
The court ruled in favor of New Jersey and against the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, capping a nearly six-year legal battle and overturning a federal statute that the sports leagues had adamantly stood by for more than 20 years.
“Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own,” the court wrote its opinion. “Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PAPSA is not.”
The leagues first sued former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in August 2012 and won every step of the way — until last June, when the Supreme Court decided to take the case. Oral arguments were heard on Dec. 4, and the justices ruled five months later.
The impact will be widespread. For nearly 26 years, Nevada has been the only state allowed to offer a full menu of sports betting options. A record $4.8 billion was wagered at Nevada sportsbooks in 2017.
A great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions. New Jersey citizens wanted sports gambling and the federal Gov't had no right to tell them no. The Supreme Court agrees with us today. I am proud to have fought for the rights of the people of NJ.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) May 14, 2018
Well Vegas has to be annoyed. This was their last chip they had to play. Now you can visit a casino and eventually bet on sports wherever you live.
The Supreme Court has just ruled 7-2 to overturn the federal ban on sports gambling. It's a historic day in American sport.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 14, 2018
BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court rules that federal ban on state-sanctioned sports betting is unconstitutional. Decides case in favor of New Jersey. Floodgates now officially open for other states to allow sports betting. #RIPPASPA
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) May 14, 2018