Supreme court allows sports betting throughout the country.
The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in the New Jersey Sports Gambling case today, voting 7-2 that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional. In other words, states are now free to decided if they want to allow sports betting.
The law, which has been in place since 1992, prohibited state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions, most notably designating Nevada as the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game, according to ESPN.
"The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make," the Supreme Court announced. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own."
It is a monumental ruling that is expected to have an immediate impact in New Jersey, where it is believed that sports books in the state could be up and running within two weeks. According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, New Jersey officials think the state can rake in $8 billion a year in bets.
New Jersey has fought for years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks, even after the NCAA and four major professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) sued former governor Chris Christie after he signed legislation allowing sports betting in the state. That law was ultimately overturned by federal district and appeals courts, but NJ tried again in 2014 and eventually passed another law that attempted to comply with PASPA. That law was also was rejected at the trial, but the Supreme Court agreed last June to hear the case.
According to ESPN, a research firm estimated before today's ruling that if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law, 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years. How fast states will legalize sports gambling will depend on whether the particular state chooses to be regulated or unregulated, as legislation and oversight for regulated will take significantly longer, according to Darren Rovell.