Supreme Court Lets States Legalize Sports Gambling

Scott Swier
Founding Member, Attorney At Law

 

The Supreme Court cleared the way on Monday for states to legalize sports betting, striking down a 1992 federal law that had prohibited most states from authorizing sports betting.

The 6-3 ruling is a victory for New Jersey and other states who have considered allowing sports gambling as a way to encourage tourism and tax revenue. The NCAA, NFL and NBA had backed the federal prohibition.

The court said the federal law violated constitutional principles limiting the federal government from controlling state policy, unconstitutionally forcing states to prohibit sports betting under their own laws.

"The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the 6-3 opinion. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own."

Immediately after the ruling, the stock price for Caesars Entertainment rose 6%, and DraftKings said it will enter the sports betting market.

States that want to offer legal sports betting may now do so, and New Jersey plans to be first. Delaware, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are among the states expected to quickly get into the legal bookmaking game.