The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that required states to ban gambling on the outcome of sporting events. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was highly unusual: it did not ban sports gambling nationwide as a matter of federal law, but it said the states were not allowed to permit it. Nevada was grandfathered in when the law was passed in 1992.
New Jersey and then-Gov. Chris Christie challenged the law, arguing that it violated the Tenth Amendment, which the Supreme Court has said prohibits federal laws that compel states to carry out federal dictates.
New Jersey wants to allow limited forms of sports gambling and to collect the taxes from it. While supporters of the law said it discouraged betting and the resulting corrupting influence of organized crime on athletics.
The NCAA and the major professional sports leagues contended that the law was not unconstitutional, because it didn’t compel states to do anything, it simply prevented them from making sports betting legal by either operating sports-gambling schemes themselves or authorizing casinos to do so.