The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in a case that could have wide ranging implications on the future of sports gambling. New Jersey, along with 20 other states, has argued that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (“PASPA”), a federal ban on state-sponsored sports betting, is unconstitutional. PASPA prohibits legal sports gambling in all but a few states, with only Nevada allowed to offer wagering on single games. According to the Garden State, PASPA runs afoul of the 10th amendment because it violates the “anti-commandeering” principle by forcing states to do something against their will. States aligned with New Jersey have argued that a Supreme Court ruling upholding the law may impact their ability to regulate other issues such as gun control or self-driving cars.
Setting aside the issues of federalism and state rights, legal sports gambling could present a significant economic windfall for New Jersey and other states. Currently, underground sports gambling towers over its legal counterpart. The amount of illegal sports betting in the United States is estimated to be over $150 billion per year, whereas less than $5 billion is gambled legally in Nevada. New Jersey officials have argued that the federal ban has not stopped sports betting, but it has pushed it underground. “Betting on sports is taking place all over the United States,” Theodore Olson, representing New Jersey, told the court. “Five percent of it is legal in Nevada. The rest of it is illegal.”
What do you think? Should the Supreme Court overturn the federal ban on sports betting?
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