Supreme Court strikes down sports-gambling ban, which is good news for NBA

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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The NBA wants widespread legalized sports betting.

The NBA will get widespread legalized sports betting.

Pete Williams of NBC News:

The U.S. Supreme Court acted Monday to bust Nevada’s monopoly on legal sports betting, allowing more states to get in on the action and reap the tax benefits.

The court 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.

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. The gambling law, Christie said, commandeered the states by forcing them to prohibit sports wagering.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said the problem with the federal law is that “state legislatures are put under the direct control of Congress.”

“A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine,” he wrote.

This a good ruling for the American people. Let the states decide. (And, psst, hey states, let people bet on sports.)

It’s also, incidentally, a good ruling for the NBA. The league is pushing for a cut of the action, and increased betting on basketball will drive interest in the games themselves. People with money on the line are more likely to watch, either by buying tickets or watching on television.

States will set up sports betting at different paces. New Jersey appears nearly ready. Others will follow.

But this is coming – to the delight of the NBA.