David Porter and Jessica Gresko, Associated Press
Published 9:11 p.m. PT December 2, 2017
OCEANPORT, NJ – With its large bar and television banks tuned to all sports stations, the lounge at the Monmouth Park racetrack in New Jersey is a paradise for sports players in paradise. All that stands in their way: a 25-year federal law that prohibits betting on sports in most states.
One hour before the Washington-Dallas NFL game on Thursday night, only half a dozen people sat at the bar, most of them workers on the horse racing track or nearby residents. But a case that the Supreme Court will address on Monday could change that, packing the bar and making sports betting widely available throughout the country.
The superior court badesses whether a federal law that prevents states from authorizing sports betting is constitutional. New Jersey is leading the challenge against that law, with the four major professional sports leagues in the US. UU And the federal government on the other side.
If the Supreme Court sanctions the law, giving the go-ahead to sports betting, dozens of states could make it legal quickly Monmouth Park is betting on a victory for New Jersey and already spent $ 1 million in its sports hall, ready to turn it into a sports betting room in a short time. The British betting company William Hill would be in charge of the operation.
"I do not think it's unfair to say that if there is a broad regulation, I might be witnessing a restructuring of the global gaming industry around that decision," said Chris Grove, managing director of Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, a law firm. California-based research that believes that 32 states will likely offer sports betting within five years if the Supreme Court makes it possible.
Daniel Wallach, legal expert in sports and games of chance, says The case could "transform how sporting events are consumed and observed in this country."
Monday's case faces New Jersey and other states against the four major sports leagues and the federal government. The bets are high. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally bet around $ 150 billion in sports every year. On the court, the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and the Major League Baseball have fought New Jersey, arguing that the expansion of the games would damage the integrity of their games, although the leaders of all parties except the NFL have shown degrees opening variables to the legalized sports game. More than a dozen states support New Jersey.
Shawn Fluharty, a West Virginia lawmaker who has sponsored sports betting laws, says he believes his state would be one of the first to offer sports betting if the Supreme Court allows it. The Democrat says the sports game is "a way to raise new revenue without raising taxes."
New Jersey has spent years and millions of dollars in legal fees trying to legalize sports betting in its casinos and racetracks. In 2012, with the support of voters, state legislators pbaded a law authorizing sports betting there. The action of the state was a direct challenge to a federal law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Law.
The 1992 law prohibits state-authorized sports games with exceptions for Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware, states that had some form of sports betting before the law goes into effect. Nevada is the only state where a person can bet on a single game, although the law does not cover betting among friends. By pbading the law, Congress granted New Jersey a one-year window to authorize sports betting at its casinos, but the state did not act on time.
Two decades later, when New Jersey decided to legalize sports betting, the four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA sued. New Jersey argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it prohibited states from authorizing sports betting, but lost to the courts. In 2014, New Jersey tried a different approach, repealing laws that prohibit sports games in casinos and racetracks. Again, he lost in court.
Now that the Supreme Court has taken the case, the result could be radical, but it does not have to be that way. If the court annuls the law of 1992, it would be a green light the expansion of sports gambling throughout the country. But the court could also fail, accepting that the way New Jersey changed its laws to allow sports betting at racetracks and casinos in 2014 was permissible. Few states may be willing to follow that route and have no say in licensing or regulating the sports game. The court could also defend the law, maintaining the status quo.
And even if the law is overturned, Congress may try to intervene again.
Florida State University professor Ryan Rodenberg, in a court appearance, urged judges not to govern widely. And, in an interview, the sports law expert said he does not think the judges' ruling will finally be radical. Court conservatives are generally in favor of state rights and would be expected to rule in New Jersey, but they are also generally against the game, he said. The political implications must be in the minds of the judges, he said.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who pushed his state's sports betting legislation, says he is "cautiously optimistic" about the outcome.
New Jersey resident Vito Paolantonio, who was at the Monmouth Park Racetrack bar Thursday, said he would bet on sports if he could in the state.
"I am a 52 year old man who loves sports," he said. . "If we were here and were watching a game, I would definitely invest a few dollars to make it more interesting." I think as a middle-clbad American, many others would do the same. "
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