The Supreme Court is now taking up the case with the justices hearing on the case on Monday. The case is the result of the efforts of New Jersey to bring sports betting to its casinos and racetracks. New Jersey is strongly challenging a federal law that prevents states from authorizing sports gambling.
A report says that should the Supreme Court strike down the law and give sports betting the green light or go-ahead, 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years.
The case puts New Jersey directly against all four major U.S. professional sports leagues and other federal government. The stakes are certainly staggering with the American Gaming Association putting the estimates that Americans illegally bet about $150 billion on sports a year.
The big four- the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball have contested New Jersey’s gambling expansion, arguing that such would undermine the integrity of their games. However, leaders of all the said prestigious sports leagues except for the NFL have shown varying degrees of openness to legalized sports betting.
New Jersey has already spent millions of dollars in legal fees in their campaign to legalize sports betting. More than a dozen states are also supporting New Jersey, agreeing with New Jersey’s argument that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed a 1992 law that prevents states from authorizing sports betting.
In 2012, New Jersey lawmakers also made the landmark decision- with voters’ support- authorizing sports betting at the state’s casinos and racetracks. Such a move was a direct challenge to the federal law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
The federal law bars state-authorized sports gambling with the exceptions for Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware, states that already approved some forms of sports betting even before the law was implemented.
When New Jersey moved to legalize sports betting in 2012, the four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA sued, and the state lost in court.
Now the ball is in the Supreme Court’s hands. The justices could give a go-signal for the expansion of sports gambling nationwide by striking down the federal law. But the justices could also opt to uphold the law and the status quo. The Supreme Court is expected to come out with a decision on the sports betting case by the end of June next year.