High court hints it could side with state on sports betting

High court hints it could side with state on sports betting

A ban on sports betting in most U.S. states could be overturned by a case being considered by the Supreme Court.

"The imbalance caused by burdensome taxation and payments to all the entities seeking entitlements, or 'slivers, ' will cause New Jersey sports book operators to move from the existing 11-10 relationship to betting odds that are 12-10 or even 13-10", wrote Vic Salerno, a longtime sports-betting executive who is president of two online sports-betting companies, in an editorial for CDC Gaming Reports, an online gambling publication.

The states are expected to be concentrated in the Northeast, with New Jersey leading the way and its neighbors following suit, dominos falling in a densely populated part of the country.

New Jersey has been trying to legalize sports gambling in its casinos for years, starting with a 2012 law that explicitly authorized wagering.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has continued to back New Jersey's push for sports betting legalization and has highlighted that the current illegal sports betting market in the United States is estimated to be around $150 million annually.

The bill was being introduced in Congress as the US Supreme Court heard a case - Christie vs. NCAA - about the constitutionality of a federal sports betting ban (PASPA).

The PASPA provisions "are addressing themselves to what kind of law a state may have without a clear federal policy", he said.

"We will have a limited sports wagering rollout, probably six or seven states in five years", said Marc Dunbar, an experienced gambling lobbyist who counts The Stronach Group as a client. National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver has said that Congress should let states authorize wagering, subject to strict regulation and technical safeguards.

Should the court rule in favor of New Jersey, all states would be free to legalize sports gambling. Clement put up a positive defense using the argument that the federal government wanted to remain the deciding authority when it comes to legalizing sports betting in different states in order to prevent interstate commerce.

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But Justice Stephen Breyer said the sports betting ban was different from typical pre-emption examples, such as federal laws that create a comprehensive national policy by restricting state regulation of transportation standards or workplace safety.

A properly constrained federal government would leave sports betting in New Jersey to New Jersey and cannabis consumption in Colorado to Colorado.

The 1992 federal law included an exception for Nevada which allowed it to continue licensing betting on sports.

Opposing Christie and supporting the ban are the four major professional USA sports organisations, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. A Philadelphia-based federal appeals court voted 10-2 to strike down that law as well, siding with the leagues and the federal government, then controlled by the Obama administration. New Jersey says those rulings, which invoke the 10th Amendment, mean the state can't be required to maintain its prohibition on gambling.

In their comments and questions, most of the justices sounded the same states' rights theme.

Clement's defense was also questioned by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. "But in every state, you are going to face two questions: How do we keep the games and citizens safe, and how do we make money off of it?" "Can they do that?"

Outside court, however, leaders of all but the National Football League have shown varying degrees of openness to legalized sports gambling.

In addition, Dunbar said that there also is concern that the Justice Department, which is headed by the ultraconservative Jeff Sessions, might attempt to step in and stop betting on sports contests that are not located in the states where betting is legal, also using the Wire Act.

The court's decision could have repercussions beyond sports gambling. MS and CT have already passed legislation that would let them offer sports gambling nearly immediately.

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