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. — Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr
The Supreme Court on Monday released its ruling on New Jersey’s challenge to a federal law that prevented sports gambling from being legalized on the state level.
In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional, giving New Jersey, and every other state, the authority to legalize sports gambling. Congress originally passed the law in 1992 to preserve what lawmakers said was the integrity of the games – a sentiment that the NFL, NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball echoed today.
Justice Alito, a New Jersey native, writing for the majority in No. 16–476; Murphy v. NCAA, said there were good arguments on both sides about whether to legalize sports betting:
Supporters argue that legalization will produce revenue for the states and critically weaken illegal sports betting operations, which are often run by organized crime…. Opponents contend that legalizing sports gambling will hook the young on gambling, encourage people of modest means to squander their savings and earnings, and corrupt professional and college sports.
Over the dissents of Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor, the majority held that PASPA “unequivocally dictate