Sports

Supreme Court Considers Legality Of Sports Betting

Supreme Court Considers Legality Of Sports Betting

The case pits New Jersey and other states against all four major professional sports leagues and the federal government.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, representing New Jersey in the hearings argued that PASPA does not federally require states not to legalise sports betting and any federal intervention against states that wish to do so contravenes the tenth amendment of the USA constitution.

It's never smart to bet on the outcome of Supreme Court cases, but if I had to wager on the big federalism case disguised as a dispute over sports books, I'd double-down on New Jersey in its fight against professional sports and the US government.

Ted Olson, a Washington lawyer representing New Jersey, told the court Monday that the law violates the Constitution's protection of state's rights. In other words, it's a constitutional end-run for Congress to tell states they have to maintain bans rather than enacting a federal ban (assuming that's within the lines of the Interstate Commerce Clause). "In particular they're concerned about New Jersey's approach which would have very limited regulation", said Greg Stohr, who covers the Supreme Court for Bloomberg. Justice Stephen Breyer observed that there appeared to be no clear federal policy on the issue of sports betting, while Justice Samuel Alito said that Congress could have prohibited sports gambling itself but had left it to the states.

Federal judges agreed with the NCAA that the state law could not stand because it violated the federal law.

Today at SCOTUS: Does the Federal Ban on Sports Gambling Violate the 10th Amendment?

Undeterred, New Jersey's lawmakers devised what many saw as a sleight of hand move.

Once again, the NCAA and the pro sports leagues sued and won in federal court.

In June, the Supreme Court agreed to hear New Jersey's claim that the 10th Amendment frees the states to refuse to enforce a federal law. During the opening drive by Ted Olson, lawyer for the Garden State and Clement's former boss from the early Bush years, Breyer restated the freakish nature of a federal law that purports to regulate states instead of individuals. Gaming experts said at least a dozen states would likely authorize wagering on sports, including California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and NY.

In a statement released after the first day American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman added: "Today is a positive day for the millions of Americans seeking to legally wager on sporting events".

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