States Hope Supreme Court Sports Betting Case Will Lead to Revenue Windfall

The U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

The high court might end a “failed statutory regime” that Nevada currently enjoys.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on sports betting early next month that may effectively legalize the practice in states around the country, ending the monopoly on betting enjoyed for decades by Nevada, moving as much as $400 billion in gambling off the black market, and bringing a revenue windfall to state and local government coffers.

The high court’s review of New Jersey’s appeal in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association is a major state and local government story that has been bubbling on back burners for months. The news moved onto front burners briefly this summer when the court announced it would review the case. Now that the time for the hearing is approaching, major outlets coast to coast are running with their own variations. How might the case upend the big money status quo in Nevada? What could it mean for sports gambling online? Who will be the winners and losers?

Whichever way the ruling goes in the case, it will add a new chapter to the story of how the federalist system—the balance of power between Congress and state legislatures as outlined in the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment—is being applied across the country.

The case specifically concerns the extent to which Congress can “commandeer the legislative processes of the States by directly compelling them to enact and enforce a federal regulatory program,” in the words of the legal filings at the heart of the case. It’s clear that precedent the court will set in its ruling on the matter will apply broadly in many other high-profile and fraught public policy areas, including health care, gun control, immigration and climate change.          

For decades, the nation’s top sports leagues, including the NCAA named in the case, officially have opposed any change to the federal law that bans sports betting outside Nevada—the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or PASPA. They have argued that the law is essential to prevent corruption, including game fixing. Previous challenges to the law have all failed to gain traction.

Still, the news that the high court’s justices agreed even to hear the case this year has been taken as a signal that momentum is shifting on the topic.

“It’s a very good sign,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in June. “We’re not declaring victory, but at least we’re in the game, and that’s where we want to be.”

“Who are we protecting?” asked Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards. He was speaking, according to The Washington Post, at a recent Capitol Hill conference sponsored by Sportradar, a major sports consultancy. “What are we afraid of in moving to a regulated, transparent system?”

Lawyers arguing against PASPA have long asked the same question.  

“When presented with a safe, legal market or an illicit alternative, consumers will almost always choose the former,” wrote lawyers for the American Gaming Association in a brief filed to the Supreme Court last year.

“[E]xperience in Nevada and other nations shows that regulated sports-betting markets all-but eliminate illegal sports gambling,” they wrote. “[T]ransitioning to regulated markets enables states to protect citizens who wager on sports, using consumer protection laws and other measures designed to prevent exploitation and abuse. [And] law enforcement can use the data and revenue generated by regulated sports betting to prevent and investigate corruption [such as matchfixing].”

Observers on all sides mostly agree that the enormous black market in sports betting goes a long way to undercutting the case for the law, at least as it stands. They also agree that the current system amounts to vast sums in lost state and local tax revenue.

Libertarian lawyer Jonathan Wood, in post published in August at the influential SCOTUSblog, described current law governing sports betting as a “failed statutory regime.”

Wood agreed with others who are saying that Supreme Court rulings of the past suggest the court will decide with New Jersey in the case.

Wood’s post is part of a symposium on the case hosted by SCOTUSblog that includes court filings as well as reporting, analysis and opinion pieces.

John Tomasic is a journalist based in Seattle.

NEXT STORY: GOP Tax Overhaul Could Hit State and Local Pension Plans With Federal Tax

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.