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In a huge decision today, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, deeming it unconstitutional and opening the country up for legalized and regulated sportsbetting moving forward.
The case was pushed to the Supreme Court after New Jersey legalized sportsbetting within their state borders. The NCAA and professional sports leagues in the country promptly sued, arguing that New Jersey's law violates PASPA, which is a federal law. The Garden State was handed multiple losses in federal court, but kept appealing all the way up to the Supreme Court, which heard the matter in December. The court ruled in a 6-3 majority in favor of New Jersey, stating that PASPA is unconstitutional as it violates the anti-commandeering clause in the Constitution.
Writing in his majority opinion Justice Alito noted: "The legislative powers granted to Congress are sizable, but they are not unlimited. The Constitution confers on Congress not plenary legislative power but only certain enumerated powers. Therefore, all other legislative power is reserved for the States, as the Tenth Amendment confirms. And conspicuously absent from the list of powers given to Congress is the power to issue direct orders to the governments of the States. The anticommandeering doctrine simply represents the recognition of this limit on congressional authority."
Further in the piece, Alito wrote: "The PASPA provision at issue here-prohibiting state authorization of sports gambling-violates the anti-commandeering rule. That provision unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do."
"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. PASPA "regulate[s] state governments' regulation" of their citizens, New York, 505 U. S., at 166. The Constitution gives Congress no such power. The judgment of the Third Circuit is reversed."
Dissenting justices in the case were Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and in part Breyer. The justices voted 7-2 to overturn the Appeals Court ruling, but 6-3 in overturning PASPA.
Moving forward, it appears that sportsbetting will be decided upon at the state level unless Congress acts to legalize the activity on a federal level. Currently, sportsbetting is legal in only a handful of states, with Nevada offering it on a broad scale.
We'll be updating readers as we learn more about the ramifications of the decision moving forward.
Source: Supreme Court Ruling