Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Sports Leagues Issue Statements on Legalization of Sports Betting

Sports Leagues Issue Statements on Legalization of Sports Betting

Federal law prohibited sports wagering in most states, leaving sports books in the Nevada's casinos as the only way to bet legally on football, basketball and other sports.

Under the federal law that the court overturned Monday, only Nevada was allowed to take legal bets on the outcome of professional and collegiate sporting events. The first bets could be placed within weeks.

"Supporters argue that legalization will produce revenue for the states and critically weaken illegal sports betting operations, which are often run by organized crime", the court said.

The Supreme Court case was brought by then-Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.

"I can't imagine we won't legalize sports gambling".

"We look forward to working with the state of Oklahoma on a compacting supplement to address sports pool, which is something that could be easily implemented along the lines of what the Oklahoma Legislature made room for with respect to "ball and dice" games this past session", he said. Americans wager about $150 billion on sports each year illegally, according to the American Gaming Association.

But sports betting is still a marginal business compared to overall gambling revenue in Nevada, the only US state with an established market for the activity.

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Stock prices for casino operators and equipment makers surged after the ruling was announced.

Las Vegas will likely maintain its position as the center of the country's sports betting and wider gambling industry despite the court's decision. MS and West Virginia have also been preparing for sports betting, and gamblers there could be placing bets as early as this summer and certainly before the National Football League season starts in September.

Nevada and three other states - Delaware, Montana and OR - now are authorized by federal law to offer sports gaming. Pennsylvania and NY have also made moves to begin sports gambling.

Since 2011, state officials have bee pushing to legalize sports betting, seeing it as a way to improve the fortunes of Atlantic City, which had seen several casinos close, as well as the state's struggling race tracks.

The Trump administration had urged the high court to uphold the law, surprising perhaps because the president is the former owner of a New Jersey casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, now being remade into a Hard Rock casino resort.

Murren said the company will offer sports wagering at its casinos if lawmakers approve regulatory frameworks in those states.

"Sports betters do more than just bet on sports such as stay in hotels and visit other attractions", he said.

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"In this law that was challenged, the federal government did not prohibit sports gambling under federal law", he said.

On Monday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Major League Baseball issued statements saying the "integrity" of their games would remain a priority. A spokeswoman for Healey - who has opposed casino gambling - said, "We are reviewing the decision".

Some saw other concerns, including for some gamblers. The federal government sided with the sports leagues.

The Supreme Court's 6-3 vote to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act leaves it to individual states to decide whether they should allow betting.

Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion left open the possibility of further legislation. "The way the sports betting model works, it's a small margin business", he said. The illegal gambling industry has been estimated to draw $50 billion to $150 billion in wagers every year, and several states, including NY and New Jersey, have already prepared to allow sports betting.

Lawton said calculating the economic impact of sports betting isn't clear-cut.

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