Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting outside Nevada

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports gambling Monday, allowing states other than Nevada to provide bookmaking and betting at casinos and racetracks.

By a 6-3 vote, the high court overturned a 2016 ruling by the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals that found New Jersey violated the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. That law outlawed state-authorized sports gaming with some exceptions and made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, “Each state is free to act on its own.”

“Our job is to interpret the law Congress enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not,’’ the majority concluded.

Joining Alito in the decision were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Neil Gorsuch, Elana Kagan, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. Ginsburg, writing for the minority, said that although a portion of the law was unconstitutional, other portions could have been saved.

When a portion of a law violates the Constitution, the court “ordinarily engages in a salvage rather than a demolition operation,” preserving what it can, Ginsburg wrote. She said that instead of using a “scalpel to trim the statute” her colleagues used “an axe” to cut the remainder down.

32 states could take the plunge

As many as 32 states could implement sports betting within five years, one research firm estimated before the ruling. Several, led by New Jersey, could begin accepting wagers within weeks, experts said.

Many states and tribal governments see legalized sports betting as a revenue stream for education, health and other programs, while the gaming industry hopes it could put a dent in illegal gambling.

The Supreme Court decision also could open the door to widespread online sports betting, depending on how the states craft laws enabling it, according to one expert. That’s because the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, which makes it illegal to process a payment online during illegal gambling, does not come into play with state-authorized wagering.

“If the transaction doesn’t involve illegal gambling, then the UIGEA wouldn’t be implicated,” said Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, chair of the Dickinson Wright’s law firm’s gaming practice in Las Vegas.

Lowenhar-Fisher said she expects the federal Wire Act to receive scrutiny next, because it would still prohibit the transmission of bets across state lines regardless of whether sports wagering is legal in the state from which the bet is initiated and the state in which the bet is booked.

The 1992 law at issue in the case barred state-authorized sports gambling with exceptions for Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware, states that had approved some form of sports wagering before it took effect. That left Nevada as the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game, though the law doesn’t cover wagering between friends or animal races, such as horse racing, which many states already allow.

The NCAA and all four major U.S. professional sports leagues sued New Jersey in 2012 after it passed a law with a provision to allow sports betting in the state. They were joined by the federal government in urging the court to uphold PASPA.

Seventh time a charm

But New Jersey, which had unsuccessfully challenged the ban six separate times in lower courts, battled on. In the most recent challenge, the state’s lawyer, Ted Olsen, the former U.S. solicitor general, argued that the ban was unconstitutional and violated a doctrine that prohibits the federal government from forcing states to enact policy.

Olson said that since the federal government had not regulated the activity, there was nothing that allowed it to preempt a state regulation.

Other states and the gaming industry joined New Jersey in the court battle. Nevada casinos also backed New Jersey and sought a court ruling that would allow other states to offer sports wagering.

In court, the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB argued that New Jersey’s gambling expansion would hurt the integrity of their games and cause reputational damage.

But legal experts said that league argument was largely rendered moot when national sports franchises were allowed to locate in Nevada.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, an original cosponsor of PASPA, said immediately after the ruling that he would introduce legislation to protect the integrity of sports and impose federal regulations on sports betting in the states.

The American Gaming Association, which represents casinos, praised the ruling, saying it could snuff out what it says is a $150 billion a year black market that has thrived offshore and under the radar in the U.S.

“I’m confident we can put the illegal market out of business,” said AGA President Geoff Freeman in a statement. ,

But Dan Etna with the Sports Law Group at Herrick, Feinstein LLP., said the ruling “is not an immediate death blow to the underground gambling industry.”

Etna said underground operators still offer what legal operators do not — “a week’s worth of credit before settlement.”

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ad-high_impact_4
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
Sports Betting Spotlight: Final Four
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and Matt Holt go over their picks for the NCAA final four.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NCAA Sweet 16
Todd Dewey, Matt Holt and Kelly Stewart go over their picks for the NCAA March madness sweet 16.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NCAA Midwest Bracket
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt go over their picks for the NCAA midwest bracket.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NCAA South Bracket
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt go over their picks for the NCAA South bracket.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NCAA East Bracket
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt go over their picks for the NCAA east bracket.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NCAA West Bracket
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt go over their picks for the NCAA west bracket.
Business
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes Trump tweeted his concerns about the company on Thursday. This isn't the first time Trump commented on the issues via Twitter. August 2017 December 2017 Amazon did hold back on paying state taxes in 1995, but the company has been routinely collecting state sales taxes since then. In 2016, the company's report from the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed it paid $412 million in taxes.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
eyecandylab CEO shows augmented reality during NAB
Robin Sho Moser, CEO and co-founder of eyecandylab gives an augmented reality demonstration at his booth during the National Association of Broadcaster Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Trends in access to capital for local black business owners
Denette Braud, owner of Braud’s Funnel Cake Cafe, talks about what owning her own business means to her.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Adobe unveils #HackTheBracket application for March Madness
Adobe unveiled their #HackTheBracket application at the Adobe Summit trade show at Sands Expo. People can use data from Adobe Analytics to make their bracket for March Madness. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Adidas Signs Yankees' Star Aaron Judge
Adidas Signs New York Yankees Star Aaron Judge The slugger is set to don a new set of stripes this season after signing with the apparel company. Aaron Judge Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal includes branding on his batting gloves and wristbands. Judge, the AL's reigning Rookie of the Year, was previously under contract with Under Armour since 2014. Judge won the American League Rookie of the Year award last season after setting an MLB record for most homers in a rookie season (52).
Esports athletes are sponsored, too
Meet Red Bull-sponsored professional esports player Daryl S. Lewis, better known by his in-game name Snake Eyez. Nicole Raz Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bettor Investments turned into a bad bet
Bettor Investments formerly operated a Nevada-licensed entity betting operation. The company promised “conservative growth, profits and stability for our investors.” Matt Stuart, who ran the fund, shut it down in late 2016 and never made good on an agreement with shareholders.
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design Get your thinking caps on because the company is looking for a new cup that's easier to recycle. The $10 million grant challenge sees Starbucks partnering with investor group Closed Loop Partners for the project. According to CNN Money, Aside from the new cup design challenge, Starbucks stated it will test a cup with an inner lining made from plant fibers to prevent hot liquid from leaking. Will you join the challenge for #Bettercups?
Las Vegas bartenders who worked the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival question what they were paid
Reneé Black, left, and her husband Griffin Black talk to the Review-Journal at their home in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Reneé was a bartender at Route 91, and Griffin was a bar back. They were hired as independent contractors, but received forms months later indicating they were employees. They also were never paid their last day of tips. Nicole Raz/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like