Supreme Court may back New Jersey in sports betting case

5 December 2017

The US Supreme Court has said it could support New Jersey as the state begins its argument for wider legalisation of sports betting in the country.

Nevada is currently the only US state in which punters can wager on sports, but with illegal betting widespread across the country, New Jersey is keen to open up the regulated market to more states.

Last month, analysis provided exclusively to iGB from H2 Gambling Capital, said that illegal sports wagering now accounts for $196bn (€165.2bn) or 97% of all US sports betting.

New Jersey wants to overturn the federal 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which makes it unlawful for governmental entities to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, licence or authorise betting, gambling or wagering schemes that are based on games played by amateur or professional athletes.

The state has said it is against the U.S. Constitution for the federal government to usurp state rights and provide Nevada with the ability to offer sports betting, but deny other states the same opportunity.

New Jersey’s case has progressed to the Supreme Court and the opening hearing yesterday (Monday) marked the official start of the procedure, although a final decision is not expected until June next year.

However, although a ruling is some way off, some justices sitting on the case said that they could side with New Jersey and its bid for wider regulation of sports wagering.

New Jersey faces heavy opposition from many of the major sports leagues in the US, with the likes of American football’s NFL, ice hockey’s NHL and Major League Baseball arguing that any change in law could impact the integrity of their sports.

Basketball’s NBA had been of a similar position, but recent comments from league officials suggest it is behind wider regulation, with commissioner Adam Silver calling for an overhaul of gambling regulation in the US.

The case continues.

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