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US welcomes nationwide sports betting after Supreme Court overturns federal ban

Tuesday, 15 May 2018 06:21
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  • • US Supreme Court repeals federal ban on sports betting
  • • Judge says federal ban not consistent with Constitution
  • • American Gaming Association applauds decision
  • • Major US sports leagues promise proper protections

 

Monday marked a milestone day for the global gaming industry with the US Supreme Court ruling that the federal ban on sports betting under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) is unconstitutional.

The panel of judges voted 6-3 in favor of overturning the ban, which now opens the door for sports betting in all 50 US states – until now only Nevada was allowed to offer sports betting. More than 30 states are expected to draft legislation allowing their citizens to bet.

Explaining the reasons for the decision, Justice Samuel Alito said, “The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make.

“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 has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.”

The news was met with joy by proponents of legalized sports betting, with American Gaming Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman stating, “Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner. According to a Washington Post survey, a solid 55% of Americans believe it’s time to end the federal ban on sports betting. Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent and responsible market for sports betting.

“Through smart, efficient regulation this new market will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the games we love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others.

“The AGA stands ready to work with all stakeholders – states, tribes, sports leagues, and law enforcement – to create a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this to engage fans and boost local economies.”

MGM Resorts International also applauded the court’s decision.

“We look forward to working with legislators and policy makers to achieve a regulatory outcome that benefits states and consumers alike while ensuring the integrity of sports,” it said.

“Having spent decades building trust with regulators, successfully operating sports books in Nevada and hosting the world’s leading sporting events, MGM Resorts International is extremely well positioned for a post-PASPA environment.”

Meanwhile, the major US sporting leagues were slightly more circumspect in their reaction, citing the need to maintain integrity in opening up sports betting nationwide.

“Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court will have profound effects on Major League Baseball,” the MLB said. “As each state considers whether to allow sports betting, we will continue to seek the proper protections for our sport, in partnership with other professional sports. Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver added, “We remain in favor of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it, but we will remain active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures. Regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority.”

The American Gaming Association has previously estimated that US citizens illegally gamble around US$150 billion on sports each year.

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