U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Sports Gambling Ban

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) moved to allow the state of New Jersey to legalize sports betting at its racetracks and casinos, on Monday. The new rule could open sports gambling in up to 46 states. The 7-2 SCOTUS ruling in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association shot down federal rules that prohibited sports gambling in most U.S. states. The case was brought to the high court after the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that a New Jersey law allowing gambling violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), Sports Illustrated reported. Many states, including New Jersey, have been eyeing sports gambling as a new source of tax revenue, but until now federal rules have stood in the way. While many state legislatures are pleased with the new ruling, the major professional leagues have taken a stance against the growth of sports gambling and filed several lawsuits against New Jersey to try and stop its move towards enlarging gambling. A recent statement from the various sports leagues player’s unions addressed the impact of gambling on players. “Given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) … The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses,” the Players Associations said in January. To date, only Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana are allowed sports gambling and are exempt from PASPA due to previously passed betting laws. Justice Samuel Alito, a New Jersey native, wrote the court’s opinion in the case. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, USA Today reported. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own,” Alito wrote. “Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.” Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, celebrated the ruling: “Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner. 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.”

DraftKings, FanDuel win permanent court stay, can operate in New York

Daily fantasy sports can operate in New York for the foreseeable future. According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, DraftKings and FanDuel have received a permanent injunction against state officials’ efforts to shut down their business. The ruling, by the Appellate Division of the New York state Supreme Court, makes permanent an emergency stay granted last month by one of its members. That Dec. 11 stay by Justice Manuel Mendez let daily-fantasy-sports sites continue to operate while issues are litigated about whether they are illegal gambling sites. The office of New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman had sought to shut the sites down, sending them “cease and desist” orders, while the case is being heard. “We are pleased with the Court’s ruling today,” DraftKings attorney David Boies said in a statement. “Daily Fantasy Sports contests are as legal now as they have been for the past seven years that New Yorkers have been playing them.” Several other states, including the gambling mecca of Nevada, had joined New York in defining the sites as “gambling” or “a game of chance,” rather than “a game of skill.” In daily fantasy sports, the participants pick professional-sports players, and win or lose leagues based on a single round of those players’ game statistics. Every state either forbids online gambling or requires that it be regulated and taxed like casinos and similar outlets. So whether daily fantasy sports, which has exploded in popularity into a multibillion-dollar business in the past couple of years, is “gambling” is a lucrative question. On the one hand, the outcome is clearly affected by chance and outside the team-owners’ ability to affect — Tom Brady has bad games, and Mark Sanchez has great ones. But the sites maintain that the process of picking a team is a game of skill and thus the activity is not “gambling.” “If you randomly picked a fantasy lineup and played against someone who put thought into it, they would beat you 9 times out of 10, if not more,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins once said on ESPN. “So [daily fantasy is] pretty different, I think, from sports books where even though there is some advantage that can be had, the edges are so minimal that it is primarily chance-based.”

Nice!  Great decision by this court!  Always like it when the free market and free choice beats fascist Democrats, like the NY Attorney General, in court.   🙂