On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the federal prohibition on sports gambling. The sweeping opinion, authored by Justice Alito, ended more than a twenty-fiveyear- old policy that kept states from offering sports gambling, which confined sports betting almost entirely to illegal underground markets. Indeed, the sports betting prohibition is largely responsible for the growth of the illegal sports gambling market, which is now one of America’s twenty largest industries. The challenge to the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was initially launched in 2012 when former U.S. Attorney and New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, signed a bill licensing sports betting at New Jersey casinos and racetracks. Almost six years later, Governor Philip Murphy would see New Jersey prevail at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court decision, holding that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional because of its commandeering of state legislative bodies, was an impactful decision bound to have implications across a variety of topics, ranging from state legalization of marijuana to so-called sanctuary cities. This article explores the origins of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act by detailing the political conditions that gave rise to the statute and then examines the practicalities of the sports betting prohibition. In the second section, this article discusses the demise of the prohibition and its defeat at the Supreme Court. In section three, this article elucidates the remaining obstacles to an expansion of sports betting at the state and federal level. In section four, this article recommends several provisions that would serve the interests of all in new legal markets and concludes with a brief discussion of the broader implications of the fall of the prohibition.
John T. Holden,
Prohibitive Failure: The Demise of the Ban on Sports Betting,
Ga. St. U. L. Rev.
Available at: https://readingroom.law.gsu.edu/gsulr/vol35/iss2/3