Supreme Court strikes down federal anti-sports gambling law

Supreme Court strikes down federal anti-sports gambling law”

Developing: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that bars states from authorizing sports betting.

The court ruled that Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it doesn't do so, states are free to legalize it, report SCOTUSblog, Politico and USA Today. The 1992 law barred state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions. Nevada now is the only state in which single-game bets are allowed.

Christie appealed lower court rulings striking down the state law as a violation of that law, which effectively prohibited sports gambling in all states except Nevada and, to a limited extent, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.

State officials, casinos, racetracks and sports-betting operators have been making preparations and investments in anticipation of the court's decision.

The controversy started in 2011, when New Jersey voters approved a measure to legalize sports betting to help the casino industries in a faltering economy. Then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said after arguments in the case in December that if justices sided with the state, bets could be taken "within two weeks" of a decision.

Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, said at the Southern Gaming Summit at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi last week that attitudes have changed since the sports betting law was passed in 1992.

Major League Baseball is expected to come up soon with a policy about team sponsorships with bookmakers, a source close to the league said, should the ruling allow such bets.

More than a dozen states had supported New Jersey, which argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed the law barring states from authorizing sports betting. It unconstitutionally required states to prohibit sports betting under their own laws.

A major league sports team executive met with the owner of a bookmaker last week to pitch sponsorship opportunities, The Post has learned. Las Vegas now has an National Hockey League team and will soon have an NFL team, and the NBA's commissioner called for legalizing sports betting so it can be properly regulated.

At the time, New Jersey could have allowed sports wagering if it had acted within a year of the law's effective date, but chose not to.

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