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US Supreme Court to hear sports betting case in under two months

SCOTUS sports betting case

THE Supreme Court of the United States will hear the New Jersey sports betting case on December 4, as announced on Monday.

The New Jersey sports betting case, which repeals the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) 1992, has been heating up ever since SCOTUS announced in June that it would hear the state’s arguments.

New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, has argued that PASPA is unconstitutional as it bans individual states from legalising sports betting. Currently, residents in Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon can legally bet on American sports as the states amended legislation before the federal government enforced PASPA.

SCOTUS has announced it will begin the trial where both sides will present their arguments, in less than two months.

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The process will also include a review ruling by the 3rd US Circuit Court that a 2014 New Jersey piece of legislation authorising sports betting at casinos and racetracks violated PASPA.

Around 20 states, of the 50 in America, have filed amicus briefs supporting the PASPA repeal which will put an end to sports betting.

The major professional sports leagues in the US, including the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball League (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Major League Baseball (MLB) are all somewhat supportive of a regulatory change, despite their long-standing stance against the wagering industry.

Several amicus briefs supporting the legalisation of online sports betting have pointed out that sporting leagues shouldn’t get a say over the PASPA case, regardless.

American Gaming Association (AGA) Director of Media Relations, Steve Doty, said in a statement that the organisation “looks forward to the Supreme Court hearing New Jersey’s appeal of PASPA later this year.”

“This law continues to fail and is driving a $USD150 billion illegal sports betting market,” he added.

“AGA remains confident sports fans will have a legalised, regulated sports market to safely wager in within the coming years. We look forward to the court’s decision.”

The AGA’s estimate has been challenged, however, by both the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), which represents the interests of gaming tribes in America, and a recent report by Eilers and Krejcik Gaming. The report estimates the illegal gambling market is worth between $50 and $60 million.

NIGA joined the American Sports Betting Coalition (ASBC), a special organisation set up to fight for a regulated sports betting industry, in a move initially believed to be a sign of support. However, the NIGA released a statement stating it joined to give American tribes a voice on the issue.

At the Global Gaming Expo (G2E), the chairman of California’s Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Marc Marcarro, said more research is required before the tribe could support any sports betting regulatory changes.
But the Deputy Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, George Rover, has remained optimistic with the “scheduling of oral argument”, adding that it “is good news for the State of New Jersey and its other supporters.”

“While the listing of the matter for argument does not provide any clue or insight on how the Supreme Court may ultimately rule, the fact that the matter is being argued earlier in the Court’s term makes it more likely that a final decision could be issued before the Court recesses in June 2018,” he said in a statement.

Americans have also changed their perception of sports betting, with a recent survey, conducted by the Washington Post newspaper and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, revealing that 55 percent of Americans are in favour of legalised sports betting. In 1992, a similar report found 56 percent of Americans were against a legalised sports betting industry.

Despite the change, nine SCOTUS justices need to be convinced before Americans get sports betting markets.

For now, you can check out the range of sports betting options available to punters around the world.