The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, the Associated Press reports.
The ruling gives states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports. By a 6-to-3 vote, the high court voided the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The 1992 law barred state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions. It made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game. One estimate was that if the law were struck down, 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years.
“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito for the majority. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.”
The court’s decision came in a case from New Jersey, which has fought for years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks in the state. More than a dozen states had supported New Jersey, which argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, barring states from authorizing sports betting.