Report: Challenging the Federal Law that Makes Sports Betting a Crime

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a lawsuit challenging a sports gambling ban on December 4, a new Competitive Enterprise Institute report explains how the ban prevents states and their voters from deciding on the legalization of sports gambling for themselves and leaves consumers exposed to gambling fraud.

“The federal government has no business telling states they can’t legalize sports betting if they want to,” said Michelle Minton, CEI senior fellow and author of the report, Let States Regulate Sports Gambling within their Borders. “The Supreme Court should consider the impact this case will have on voters’ ability to decide how their state ought to treat other important policy issues ranging from cannabis regulation to gun control. Since sports betting is currently a multi-billion dollar industry, keeping it illegal will only leave consumers unprotected from gambling fraud and allow criminal organizations to profit and thrive in a black market.”

The report describes the ban’s negative impact on consumers, who now have no legal protections from cheaters and swindlers. Europeans already benefit from the legalization of sports betting because sports leagues work with the gambling industry against corruption and match-fixing – safeguards that American consumers don’t have.

The report also explains how the law banning sports betting, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), diminishes government accountability, violates state sovereignty, and conflicts with the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states and its citizens powers not otherwise delegated to the federal government.

CEI, in conjunction with Pacific Legal Foundation and several other free market groups, submitted an August 2017 amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of New Jersey’s challenge to PASPA, Christie v. NCAA. The case stems from a 2011 vote by the citizens of New Jersey to repeal the state’s ban on sports betting and a subsequent lawsuit by the National Collegiate Athletics Association claiming PASPA prohibited such a repeal.

View the report, Let States Regulate Sports Gambling within their Borders