Supreme Court strikes down federal gambling law

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) as unconstitutional. The decision eliminates the federal prohibition on sports betting and will now allow a state to determine whether or not to legalize sports betting. Libertarians would suggest no laws, state or federal, should exist on gambling and allow the free market to thrive. But there is too much money to be made via forced taxes for politicians to resist. Several states already have laws on the books to allow for sports betting (pending the SCOTUS decision) and many more are currently considering legislation.

The Poker Players Alliance, the leading poker and internet gaming advocacy group, applauded the ruling. “This is a great decision for consumers who for years have had no alternative to wager on sports other than the black market,” said Rich Muny, president of the Poker Players Alliance. “It presents states with the perfect opportunity to establish sensible policies not only to regulate sports wagering but also other forms of gaming, including internet poker. Whether you are betting on sports or playing poker, lawmakers must make it a priority protect consumers. The states that have already regulated internet poker have proven that it can be done in a way that benefits consumers and governments. It makes sense for states that are eyeing sports betting to also realize the benefit of regulated iPoker and iGaming.”

Many poker players are also avid sports bettors. A recent survey revealed that 68 percent of poker players also wager on sports and more than 90 percent support changes to federal and state laws to keep citizens from arrest for taking part in such activities.

“Today marks an important date for the future of gaming in the United States. The future of sports betting will continue to rely on internet and mobile technologies, and this is also true for all gaming. Now more than ever, states should take control of unregulated internet poker and sports betting and create systems that protect adult consumers and provide governments with new streams of revenue,” concluded Muny.

American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO, Geoff Freeman, held a briefing call to discuss the impact of the Supreme Court ruling:

“Today is a monumental day for gaming in America. The $150 billion-a-year illegal sports betting industry is on the ropes, and the court’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner.”

In a statement this morning, Freeman said the AGA stands ready to work with all stakeholders – states, tribes, sports leagues, and law enforcement – to create a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this opportunity to engage fans and boost local economies.

Others have been commenting as well, such as the Nevada Gaming Control Board which released a statement this morning heralding the ruling:

“The Nevada Gaming Control Board is the gold standard for legal, regulated sports betting. For decades, Nevada has been the only jurisdiction to offer a full range of sports betting options to the public. Nevada has proven that our model is not only successful but stands the test of time. The Nevada Gaming Control Board supports today’s Supreme Court decision striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. In the coming months, as individual states decide whether or not to authorize legalized sports betting, and embark on establishing their own regulatory frameworks, the Nevada Gaming Control Board looks forward to acting as a resource and sharing our model with other jurisdictions.”

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