Supreme Court to hear New Jersey case on legalized sports betting –


The sports gambling landscape is changing with the NHL and (soon) NFL having teams in Las Vegas.

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it would hear New Jersey’s appeal to have legal sports betting, an unexpected development in what has been a five-year ordeal. New Jersey governor Chris Christie has tried twice to get legislation passed, once in 2012 and again in 2014, and he was sued by the NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL both times. The precedent now in question is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which banned all state-sponsored betting at the federal level.

Nevada is the only state that is allowed full betting privileges under the act. The lucrative business has caused other states to seek avenues that allow them to provide gambling. The Supreme Court is taking this case despite being advised against it in May by the solicitor general, and it’s the first clear headway New Jersey has made in trying to get betting legalized. If it does manage to win the appeal, it would open the door for other states to follow suit.

There has been draft legislation introduced aimed at repealing the Protection Act, although some have dismissed it as posturing. However, since the legal battle began five years ago, leagues have begun to shift their stances on gambling, which might be contributing to the Court’s decision to hear the case. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has come out in support of gambling, and the NHL has become mum on the matter since the Vegas Golden Knights were introduced into the fold. 

Major League Baseball is in the process of changing its views as well, thanks to commissioner Rob Manfred. The NFL remains the major holdout, and it might be the biggest hurdle to clear due to its influence over the sports landscape. With the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, this also raises some questions about how long the NFL can hold out if the three other major leagues change their stances.

The NBA and MLB have largely gotten past the Tim Donaghy and Pete Rose debacles that rocked their respective sports, which lends some context to why their views might be changing. New commissioners obviously don’t hurt either, as they bring an entirely new viewpoint (and a relatively clean slate). However, nothing is set in stone, and the appeal process is a long one. The five-year epic is going to have to go on just a bit longer, and even if the Supreme Court does grant New Jersey betting rights, it’s only one state.


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