The US Supreme Court is considering to legalise sports betting by eliminating the federal ban on gambling. Yesterday, a hearing to the New Jersey’s claim that US states need to be given the chance to control their own laws, including the ones related to gambling, was carried out.
For the time being, the state of New Jersey has claimed that states should be free to control their own laws, including gambling ones, unless a federal regulatory policy has been adopted by the Congress to specifically prohibiting such thing from happening.
Such a thing did not happen in 1992, when a law was passed by Congress. Sports wagering was not actually suspended by federal law, but states were prohibited to give the green light to such form of gaming activity. The federal law included an exception for the state of Nevada in 1992, allowing it to issue sports betting licences.
So, the highest federal court of the US is now considering whether the sports wagering ban in 46 of the US states is actually constitutional. A ruling in favour of sports betting could establish an industry estimated to tens of billions of dollars on an annual basis.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which is currently the existing law, was backed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The four key professional US sports organisations in the US – the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the Major League Baseball – did the same. However, the state of New Jersey argued that the existing Act, which was once aimed to help the Congress preserve the “healthy” nature of sporting events, intruded in the state’s power.
New Jersey Involved in Sports Betting Legal Battles for Years
The case has been a highly-anticipated one, since a ban lifting could bring bookmaking of professional sports not only in the state of New Jersey, but also in many other US states over the next half a decade. The state of New Jersey has already tried to annul its own ban imposed on sports betting operations, but its attempts have been repeatedly turned down by courts which cited the federal law, saying that New Jersey’s citizens need to obey the law. For some time now, New Jersey has been trying to allow sports betting activities, even in case it is offered only at the racetracks and casinos across the state.
New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie, has been supporting the ban lifting. As mentioned above, his state has spent several years and large amounts of money initiating court battles after local voters gave their support to sports betting legalisation in a referendum held in 2011. At the time of the referendum, New Jersey’s voters approved sports betting legalisation in the state by a 2-1 margin, but since then, the state has been repeatedly blocked by federal courts from allowing such gambling activity.
Since then, the state of New Jersey had been having court battles with the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the afore-mentioned professional sports leagues, and according to federal judges, the state law could not be followed, as the federal law was breached by it.