“Today’s decision clears the way for all states to make their own decisions about legalizing sports betting, and in one fell swoop gets rid of Nevada’s monopoly on the subject and the 1992 federal statute that had protected it,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law.
“The question now is whether Congress will leave the states to make their own choices or will now try to enact some kind of federal regulation of sports betting,” Vladeck added.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy celebrated the decision, which began with a lawsuit brought by former-Gov. Chris Christie.
“I am thrilled to see the Supreme Court finally side with New Jersey and strike down the arbitrary ban on sports betting imposed by Congress decades ago,” Murphy said Monday. “Today’s ruling will finally allow for authorized facilities in New Jersey to take the same bets that are legal in other states in our country.”
The controversy started in 2011, when New Jersey voters approved a measure to legalize sports betting to help the casino industries in a faltering economy. But the state law was immediately challenged by professional sports leagues and the NCAA, which pointed to a federal law passed in 1992 that bans state sports betting with some exceptions.
NCAA’s chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement that while the organization is still reviewing how court’s decision affects college sports, it will “will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court.”
Major League Baseball released a statement saying the decision will have “profound effects” on the sport.
“Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games,” MLB’s statement continued. “We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”
Major American sports leagues — including the NFL, NBA and the MLB — offered cautious reaction to the news, saying they would take steps to protect the integrity of the games and called for regulatory framework.