In a landmark 7-2 ruling on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that required states to ban gambling on the outcome of sporting events. Obama justice appointee Elena Kagan joined conservative justices Alito, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer and Gorsuch in the majority.
States had previously been barred from participating in allowing gambling on the outcomes of sporting events due to the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which was not a federal ban but prevented state legislatures from passing allows that would allow any such betting. Nevada was grandfathered in under the law and exempt from the ban.
Justice Samuel Alito authored the majority opinion siding with the State of New Jersey, who challenged the constitutionality of the 1992 law after passing laws legalizing gambling in 2012 and 2014, but later having the efforts invalidated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
Alito wrote that the ban was improper because it usurped the power of individual state governments to regulate sports gambling, stating “A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine.”
The decision allows individual states to decide how they will regulate sports betting, or if they will allow it all. When the case was argued in January, then Governor Chris Christie said New Jersey was ready to be up and running within two weeks if the case was ultimately decided as it was today.