by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
The court upheld the legality of a 2014 state law permitting sports betting at New Jersey casinos and horse racetracks and voided the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Some states see sports betting, like lotteries, as a potentially important source of tax revenue.
The Supreme Court justices struck down the entire federal law on a 6-3 vote.
“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote on behalf of the court.
The state law at issue would allow people age 21 and above to bet on sports at New Jersey casinos and racetracks, but would ban wagers on college teams based in or playing in the state.