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Sports Betting in States

Andy Dorchak  /  Tuesday, May 29, 2018  /  Categories: Just in Case  /  Rate this article:
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On May 14, 2018, in Murphy v. NCAA, the United Supreme Court "cleared the way" for states to allow sports betting, striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 which prohibited 46 states from allowing gambling or wagering on competitive sporting. (Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana were allowed to keep existing sports betting programs.) It allowed New Jersey the option, which it did not exercises, to establish sports betting in Atlantic City within a year. The New Jersey legislature passed a law in 2012 that allowed sports betting in Atlantic City and at horseracing tracks on sporting events held outside the state which did not involved New Jersey teams. The NCAA and three professional sports associations successfully sued in federal court to enjoin the law as a violation of the PASPA. In 2014, the New Jersey legislature passed another law which repealed state law provisions which had prohibited the aforementioned sports betting, resulting in another federal lawsuit in which the Third Circuit affirmed the District Court's holding that the 2014 law also violated the PASPA and that "the prohibition does not 'commander' the States in violation of the Constitution. (Murphy v. NCAA, 1-2, quote is at 2).

In a 6-3 opinion, the Supreme Court held that:

1. "When a State completely or partially repeals old laws banning sports gambling schemes , it 'authorize[s]' those schemes under PASPA." (p. 2; pp -914)

2. "PASPA's provisions prohibiting state authorization of sports gambling schemes violated the anti-commandeering rule." (p. 3, pp. 14-24)

3. PASPA's prohibition of state licens[ing]" of sports betting also violated the anticommanderring rule. (p. 4, pp. 24-25)

4. "No provision of PASPA is severable from the provisions directly at issue." (p. 4, pp. 26-30)

Selected Documents

Murphy v. NCAA, SCOTUSblog (comprehensive coverage of the case)

Christie v. NCAA, LII analysis

Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA, 28 U.S.C. 3701 et seq., via LII)

New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992) (anti-commandeering)

Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997) (anti-commandeering)

Tenth Amendment

Anti-Commandeering: The Legal Basis for Refusing to Participate

Chemerinsky, Federal Preemption (video)


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