AGA On The Frontline Of Sports Betting SCOTUS Battle

Written By Martin Derbyshire on October 12, 2017 - Last Updated on February 17, 2021

[toc]The United States Supreme Court has announced it will hear oral arguments in the New Jersey sports betting case on Dec. 4.

In the meantime, the American Gaming Association (AGA) continues to tout the benefits of a legalized sports betting market in Washington, DC.

New Jersey’s sports betting case

The New Jersey fight to bring legal sports betting to the state began in 2011 when lawmakers passed a bill legalizing sports betting at racetracks and casinos. Major sports leagues including the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball filed a lawsuit to prevent the state from doing so.

The leagues had the new law struck down and appeals to the Third Circuit Court by the state were denied.

New Jersey lawmakers took another shot in 2014. They passed a similar bill legalizing sports betting at racetracks and casinos in the state. However, the leagues filed suit again in district court are were successful in having the law struck down. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision and state appeals were denied again.

The United States Supreme Court steps in

New Jersey then asked the United States Supreme Court to hear the case. Acting US Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall recommended it did not. However, in June of this year, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case.

At the center of it all is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). PASPA is the law that makes traditional sports betting illegal everywhere except Nevada. NFL parlay sports betting in Delaware and game square wagering in Montana are also exempt from the law.

A number of briefs from both sides have been filed in the case so far. This includes an amicus brief detailing the size of the illegal sports betting market and its dangers from the AGA.

AGA hosts Capitol Hill roundtable

Members of the organization also took part in a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill at the end of September.

The event attempted to explore the economic impact of legalized sports betting. The Supreme Court case was also discussed. AGA Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and roundtable panelist Sara Slane summed up the discussion.

“As we approach the 25th anniversary of this failing federal ban on sports, it’s important to look at the negative unintended consequences of an illegal market. A legal, regulated marketplace offers the potential for millions of dollars in tax revenue and an avenue for up to 150,000 jobs.”

An AGA press release detailing the events of the roundtable also pointed to a Washington Post poll showing a 55-percent majority of those taking part approve of legalizing betting on pro sporting events.

Continued AGA efforts

The AGA has also weighed in on the New Jersey sports betting case through a SCOTUSBlog Symposium on sports betting.

More than a dozen states have now joined New Jersey in introducing sports betting laws.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Dec. 4. A decision is expected to come in the spring of 2018.

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Photo by Jana Shea /

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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