Supreme Court allows states to legalize sports gambling

By Sara Shayanian  |  May 14, 2018 at 11:25 AM
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May 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a law banning sports betting nationwide, effectively ending a prohibition on a $100 million industry.

Monday's ruling makes sports wagering legal and strikes down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, a federal law that required states to prohibit gambling.

The case, Murphy vs. National Collegiate Athletic Association, challenged the government's authority to "impermissibly commandeer the regulatory power of States."

By a 7-2 vote, the high court said the federal law violated constitutional principles against the federal government controlling state policies. It unconstitutionally mandated states to prohibit sports betting under their own laws, the ruling said.

"Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority.

"The legalization of sports gambling requires an im­portant policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie challenged the law, saying it violated the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"A great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions," Christie said in a tweet. "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."

New Jersey had hoped to legalize sports gambling to collect additional taxes.

The American Gaming Association had estimated bettors would wager $10 billion on this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament alone.

The federal law that banned betting barred the practice in 46 states. Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana had been exempt because they were grandfathered in by laws that existed before 1992.

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