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U.S. high court paves way for states to legalize sports betting

U.S. high court paves way for states to legalize sports betting

Postby smix » Mon May 14, 2018 6:21 pm

U.S. high court paves way for states to legalize sports betting
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1IF1WN
Category: Legal
Published: May 14, 2018

Description: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for states to legalize sports betting in a defeat for the major American sports leagues, endorsing New Jersey’s bid to allow such wagering and striking down a 1992 federal law that prohibited it in most places. The court upheld the legality of a 2014 state law permitting sports betting at New Jersey casinos and horse racetracks and voided the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Some states see sports betting, like lotteries, as a potentially important source of tax revenue. The ruling, which sent shares in gaming companies and casinos higher in brisk trading, takes the United States a step closer to legal sports betting in numerous states, perhaps nationwide, rather than just in select places such as Nevada, home to the gambling capital Las Vegas. The current illegal sports betting market is worth billions of dollars annually. “New Jersey has long been the lead advocate in fighting this inherently unequal law, and today’s ruling will finally allow for authorized facilities in New Jersey to take the same bets that are legal in other states in our country,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said in a statement. The federal law at issue had effectively prohibited sports gambling in all states except Nevada and, to a limited extent, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. In addition to New Jersey, five other states - Connecticut, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia - already have sports betting laws in place that would allow them to move quickly, according to a Fitch Ratings report. Industry analysts have said that dozens of states might legalize sports betting if legally permitted. The justices struck down the entire federal law on a 6-3 vote, with the court’s five conservatives joined by liberal Elena Kagan. “The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote on behalf of the court. Penn National Gaming Inc shares were up 4.3 percent at $33.62 while Boyd Gaming Corp shares were up 3.3 percent at $36.13 and Scientific Games Corp shares were up 9 percent at $58.30. Casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp shares were up 6 percent at $12.60, while rival MGM Resorts International shares were up 2 percent at $32.45.
‘OPEN, TRANSPARENT AND RESPONSIBLE’
Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association industry group, welcomed the decision, saying it favors “an open, transparent and responsible market for sports betting.” Freeman said his group would work with states, sports leagues and law enforcement “to create a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this opportunity to engage fans and boost local economies.” Daily fantasy sports company DraftKings Inc said in a statement that it is weighing entering the sports betting business as a result of the decision. “This ruling gives us the ability to further diversify our product offerings and build on our unique capacity to drive fan engagement,” company CEO Jason Robins said. New Jersey’s sports gambling law, championed by Republican former Governor Chris Christie, was challenged in court by the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the major governing body for intercollegiate sports. They called New Jersey’s law a threat to the integrity of competition, fearing game-fixing and other types of cheating. New Jersey argued that the 1992 federal law infringed upon state sovereignty as laid out in the U.S. Constitution by compelling states not to license or regulate sports betting. “A great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions,” Christie wrote on Twitter. “New Jersey citizens wanted sports gambling and the federal Gov’t had no right to tell them no. The Supreme Court agrees with us today.” Christie appealed lower court rulings striking down the state law. Christie left office in January and was succeeded by Democrat Phil Murphy. Christie served as an advisor to President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential race but was ousted as the head of Trump’s transition team after the election. Trump’s administration was on the opposite side of the case, opposing the New Jersey law championed by Christie. The state law at issue would allow people age 21 and above to bet on sports at New Jersey casinos and racetracks, but would ban wagers on college teams based in or playing in the state. Professional sports leagues in recent years have begun to shift their views regarding sports betting. Las Vegas now has an NHL team and will soon have an NFL team, and the NBA’s commissioner called for legalizing sports betting so it can be properly regulated.
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Supreme Court strikes down sports betting ban: What happens next

Postby smix » Mon May 14, 2018 7:04 pm

Supreme Court strikes down sports betting ban: What happens next
Yahoo Finance

URL: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/supreme- ... 48278.html
Category: Business
Published: May 14, 2018

Description: On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the 1992 federal law that banned sports betting basically everywhere in America other than Nevada. In a 6-3 decision in the case of Christie vs NCAA et al, the justices deemed PASPA unconstitutional. This does not mean sports betting is now legal at a national, federal level. It means New Jersey can legalize and regulate sports betting (and collect taxes on bets)—and other states can follow on a state-by-state basis. The state-by-state legal landscape will look a lot like marijuana policy has looked: rapidly changing, not always clear and consistent. As American Gaming Association president Geoff Freeman says in a press release, “Now all attention turns to the states. Already 18 states have introduced legislation to legalize sports betting, with more states expected to follow.” (Some of the states with bills already in place to support legalized sports betting, and reap the tax revenue, are Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania.) So, what does this all mean for an average sports fan who might want to place money on a game and has held off because it wasn’t legal in their state? What does it mean for the major US pro sports leagues, or for the popular daily fantasy sports companies that spent two years battling legal cases that accused them of being betting operators? Here’s a quick guide of what’s likely to happen next.
Impact on pro sports leagues
The NBA has led the charge of leagues openly advocating for legalized sports betting, ever since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver argued for it in a New York Times op-ed in 2014. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred followed suit, if not as vocally. But there’s some nuance here: Even though the NBA and other leagues wanted legalized sports betting in America, the NBA, NCAA, NFL, MLB, and NHL all opposed New Jersey’s case, and even sued to stop New Jersey from winning. They wanted it legalized at the federal level, not on a state-by-state basis. This is why the case was called Christie vs NCAA et al. The sports betting landscape is going to be messy for a while, as some states rush to follow New Jersey and others don’t. That means it won’t be so simple and clean for the leagues to monitor betting on their games. As NBA assistant general counsel Dan Spillane said on a sports law panel in November, “Our view has been that if it’s illegal [at the federal level], that’s not the right way to start off legal sports betting in the United States — under a cloud, doing it in violation of federal law. At the same time, we agree with New Jersey on the ultimate policy outcome: that having legal, regulated sports betting in the United States is the best place to end up. The disagreement is just on how to get there.” The NBA and MLB have said that if sports betting happens, they will demand an “integrity fee” of 1% on all wagers placed on their games. Some have seen the integrity fees as draconian, and argue that the fees will drive bettors to continue using bookies on the black market rather than pay extra to bet legally. Others see it as benign and inevitable: if betting is above board, the leagues want their cut. The players’ unions will also want a cut of the betting. Meanwhile, the NFL has been relatively silent on all of these issues.
Impact on fantasy sports operators
DraftKings and FanDuel, the leading “daily fantasy sports” (DFS) companies that exploded in popularity in 2015 but then spent over a year battling lawsuits from attorneys general that accused them of being betting operators, were quick to celebrate the decision. On a press call, both DraftKings and FanDuel say they will aim to offer sports betting products in time for the next NFL season. He also reflected, “I think people would generally prefer to do things in a legal market, and have only been doing it on the black market because they’ve been forced to.” Robins also shared some metrics: DraftKings has nearly 10 million users, took in $1.8 billion in entry fees last year, and believes it has more than 60% market share of the DFS market. (DraftKings and FanDuel announced in 2016 that they would merge into one company, but in 2017 called off their merger after it became clear regulators would not approve.) DraftKings is “prepared to enter the sports betting arena,” the company said in a press release. And an immediate email sent to DraftKings users informed them: “When can you expect to place a wager through DraftKings? The timing will depend on when individual states move to pass the necessary legislation and set up the regulatory framework that will allow online sports betting. We’re hopeful states will move quickly, but lawmakers need to hear directly from fans like you.” Critics may say all of this sounds like a reversal of the claim DraftKings and FanDuel long clung to: that their fantasy contests do not constitute gambling. But FanDuel investor Paul Martino, a partner at Bullpen Capital, argues, “It was never disingenuous that the companies never said ‘We are offering gambling,’ because we were operating under different regulations. So we had to talk about it as a game of skill… Now the regulations have changed.” To be sure, both DFS companies have been preparing for this potential SCOTUS decision for more than a year—and staffing up. DraftKings, in particular, sources tell Yahoo Finance, had doubled down on this outcome so firmly that the company would have been in big trouble if New Jersey had not won. “The day the case got announced,” Martino says, “I got on the phone with Nigel [Eccles, founder of FanDuel and its former CEO] and we had a brainstorming session on, ‘What companies do we buy if this happens?’ I mean, who has the largest set of depositors ready to go? FanDuel and DraftKings.” Still, everything to come is uncertain because it’s a state-by-state landscape. As Martino puts it, sports betting policy will look like “50-state whack-a-mole” for the time being.
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