Mid-May the highest court in the United States, the Supreme Court, ruled a federal law known as PASPA unconstitutional. This comes as ground-breaking news because of a twenty-five-year bar on state-sponsored sports betting. SCOTUS threw out this law based on PASPA violating a precedent anti-commandeering doctrine and state’s tenth constitutional amendment right. The ruling was given during the Murphy vs National Collegiate Athletic Association case which was originally started by former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and carried on by current governor Phil Murphy.
The end of PASPA officially can stop Nevada’s monopoly on the sports gambling industry. Many states are hoping to capitalize on the potential revenue from legal sports betting in the form of taxes, licensing fees, and more. For many states, PASPA’s obliteration is a miracle and provides the opportunity for much-needed cash flow to legally simulate their economy. A robust underground market thrived for sports betting because the availability for legal access was so limited. However, legal state-regulated sports betting will have the necessary oversight and safeguards to protect bettors, the sport, and sports gambling industry.
While PASPA did not outright ban sports betting in the United States, it was considered a prevalent US gambling law, but rather it prohibited the authorization of sports betting and sports licensing. In doing this, it was revealed later through the Supreme Court that PASPA commandeered the state governments through using federal officers in state legislative chambers and their authority to stop legislators from voting on any pending proposals. Through PASPA’s removal as a federal law, we have learned more about PASPA’s true implications and effect on domestic US sports gambling, as well as, what it could extend itself to do and what it could not do.
The dismissal of PASPA can be summarized simply, the U.S. federal government forced state legislatures to enforce federal law or policy while allowing Nevada to enjoy full-fledged sports betting. Nevada’s state economy soared after it focused its strategy to appeasing sports bettors and PASPA denied this opportunity to other states. While the government can bar states from doing certain things, it remains legal and legitimate so long everyone is required to follow the same prohibitions. Because Nevada and other grandfathered states with some form of legal sports gambling were not included in PASPA’s ban while other states were prohibited from regulating and taxing it, therefore, the law was considered controversial.
Several major professional and amateur sports leagues are rallying for Congressional intervention, and hope that Congress will establish a federal framework for states authorizing sports betting. The federal framework would include regulatory requirements, technological safeguards, and several provisions recommended by the major sports leagues to mitigate dishonest, manipulative, or criminal activities related to sports gambling. Such requirements would include data sharing, monitoring, reporting, geo-targeting requirements, age verifications, exclusions programs, and responsible betting programs.
However, the Supreme Court gave some hint toward Congress’s lack of motivation to become involved in sports betting due to more pressing legislative matter amid midterm elections. Therefore, the next step for individual states is to begin passing legal sports betting legislation and move forward with their sports gambling programs. If a large number of states pass regulated sports betting laws and begin their operations, then Congress would more than likely avoid intervening at all. While this may upset several leagues, Congress has yet to take action meaning states remain free to pass legislation authorizing the regulation of sports betting.