…state lawmakers and legal scholars have increasingly raised questions about the constitutionality of the current ban [on sports betting], which blocks states from legalizing sports gambling within their own borders. This is why the Supreme Court is currently considering hearing a case that might overturn the law. The case involves a suit, Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, in which the State of New Jersey alleges that [the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992]—which the NCAA and other leagues have argued forbids New Jersey from repealing its own ban on sports gambling—violates the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which holds that powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved for the states and individuals.
In particular, the suit argues that PASPA violates the 10th Amendment by preventing states from modifying their own laws in violation of the “anti-commandeering” doctrine. This doctrine, created and upheld by previous Supreme Court rulings, holds that the 10th Amendment also protects states from being compelled to cooperate with the enforcement or implementation of federal law.
Michelle wrote a great short summary of the facts of the case on June 27th, “U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Sports Betting Case,” and Cato’s Walter Olson collects some useful links at Overlawyered. CEI joined with the Cato Institute and the Pacific Legal Foundation in an amicus brief last November which urged the Supreme Court to take the case. After the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, CEI filed another amicus brief in support of the petitioners in August 2017.
For more on the issue see:
- “Time to End the Madness around March Madness: Legalizing Sports Wagering Will Increase Consumer Safety and Protect State Sovereignty” by Michelle Minton and Steven Titch (2017)
- “Game Changer: Rethinking Online Gambling Regulation in the Age of Daily Fantasy Sports” by Michelle Minton and Steven Titch (2016)
- “Myths and Facts about the Wire Act” by Michelle Minton (2015)
- “Republicans’ Bad Bet: A Proposed Internet Gambling Ban Would Trample on States’ Rights and Individual Liberty—and Won’t Stop Online Gambling” by Michelle Minton (2014)
Note: This post was updated October 6, 2017.