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Posted on: May 18, 2018

SCOTUS Decision Opens Sports Wagering Door

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued its highly anticipated decision in Murphy v. NCAA (formerly Christie v. NCAA). The divided Court overturned the lower court’s decision and found that the Federal law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which prohibited states from passing a law allowing sports wagering, violates the U.S. Constitution. This decision effectively allows states to permit and regulate sports wagering.

When the PASPA was signed into law in the early 1990s, New Jersey was given the opportunity to opt-in and allow sports wagering, but at that time the State decided not to, making Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon the only states with legal sports wagering. In 2011, however, the State had a change of heart and, through a ballot initiative, amended the State Constitution to allow sports wagering at New Jersey casinos and current or former running and harness horse racetracks. When the Legislature passed a law in 2012 setting out the statutory requirements for sports betting, the NCAA and other professional sports associations filed lawsuits to stop sports wagering. These lawsuits ultimately lead to the suit that made its way to the SCOTUS.

While the SCOTUS decision paved the way for legal sports wagering, the immediate impact is limited. The legislature still needs to pass legislation outlining the details of the State’s sports wagering laws. The Legislative process has already begun, as Senate President Sweeney introduced S-2602, which allows sport wagering within the state, on the same day the SCOTUS ruling was issued. The League is currently in the process of reviewing this piece of legislation and will keep our members updated on issues of municipal concern.

Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney, or 609-695-3481, Ext. 137.

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