This blog usually deals with crime and punishment. Today, we’ll focus on an effort to do away with a law that has landed a lot of people in jail over the years. It is strange, sports betting is illegal with a few exceptions (Nevada), yet newspapers around the country, television sports show and websites talk about “the line.” How much a given team must win or lose by to win a bet.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gambled big-time five years ago when he signed a law authorizing sports betting at casinos and racetracks and dared anyone to "try to stop us," reported the USA Today.
That's exactly what college and professional sports leagues and the federal government have done, thanks to a succession of court rulings upholding a 25-year-old federal law that prohibits gambling on sports outside Nevada and three other states with small sports lotteries.
But Christie has one last shot before leaving office next month. Today the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in his case and could decide, as many court-watchers predict, that the ban violates states' rights. Such a ruling could open the floodgates to sports betting in any state willing to regulate it.
According to the new National Law Journal Supreme Court Brief, the American Gaming Association estimates that Americans bet $150 billion on sports annually, and only 3 percent of those bets are legal. If the Supreme Court strikes down the federal law that prohibits sports betting in most places, the industry will only grow, with sports betting spreading fast among revenue-thirsty states.
The dynamics of the case make for interesting bedfellows, as Bloomberg’s Greg Stohr notes: “All it took to bring Donald Trump and the National Football League together was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his Supreme Court bid to legalize sports gambling. The NFL, a target of the president’s Twitter ire over national anthem protests, is banding together with the administration to fight the outgoing governor.”
Oh, if you'd like to bet on which justice asks the first question you can find the odds here.
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