Supreme Court Case May Pave The Way For Sports Betting

A federal law, known as The Bradley Act, has previously prohibited sports betting throughout the country. Now, New Jersey is seeking to have that law deemed unconstitutional, arguing that the federal mandate infringes on state sovereignty. If New Jersey wins the case, which is set to be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court, it may pave the way for sports betting throughout the country.
What is the Bradley Act?
Named for New Jersey’s own democratic senator Bill Bradley, the Bradley Act established that sports betting would be illegal across the nation. There are four exemptions, however. Sports gambling is still legal in Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. At the time the bill was passed, sports betting was already legalized in those four states, which is why they were exempt from the new federal law. The law also provided for a grace period for the other states, granting one year for any of the remaining 46 states to legalize sports gambling, before the law went into effect.
Senator Bradley recently spoke about his reasoning for introducing the law. He said he viewed sports betting as something that would monetize professional sports and take the competitive edge away from the game. Instead of playing for the love of the sport, players would be playing for greater monetary stakes. Mr. Bradley, a former New York Knicks player himself, aid sports betting cheapens the skill and dedication of high-level athletes.
New Jersey Wants to Allow Sports Gambling
At the time the bill was passed, New Jersey didn’t take advantage of the 12 month window to legalize sports betting. Decades later, however, the state recognizes a missed opportunity. According to the American Gaming Association, illegal sports gambling rakes in over $150 billion annually. Even without considering the revenue to be raised through taxing sports betting, legalizing the activity would generate sizable resources for cash-strapped states.
Chris Christie, current governor of New Jersey, recently expressed his determination to allow sports betting in the state, regardless of the Bradley Act.
“We intend to go forward to allow sports gambling to happen,” said Governor Christie at a 2012 Atlantic City event. “If someone wants to stop us, then they’ll have to take action to try to stop us.”
Previously, New Jersey has appealed the federal ban in two separate filings, but the issue is now going before the highest court in the land. Ted Olson, representing New Jersey’s interests in the hearing, said he plans to argue that the federal government has no authority to tie the state’s hands. Olson adds that two previous Supreme Court cases pave the way in establishing that the federal government cannot use state resources to enforce federal laws.
The Supreme Court is expected to render a decision in the case later this year.

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