In a 6 to 3 vote the Supreme Court ruled this morning that the federal law prohibiting sports gambling violated constitutional principles limiting the federal government from controlling state policy, unconstitutionally forcing states to prohibit sports betting under their own laws.
Chris Christie got the ball rolling in 2011 when the state passed a referendum allowing sports betting. With Monmouth Park's racing season already underway, there is a good chance that it will be taking sports bets during the current racing meet.
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. "In the 2018 legislative session, I promise to introduce legislation that will regulate and legalize sports gambling in Minnesota".
Experts said sports gambling is not a huge moneymaker for casinos, in part because of the uncontrolled nature of the gambling.
The decision is a victory for Christie, who has been fighting since 2010 to make sports wagering legal at racetracks and casinos in the state.
The four major men's sports leagues ― the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL ― and the NCAA all opposed New Jersey's efforts. New Jersey officials successfully argued that their state should be able to operate sports books in its Atlantic City casinos and horseracing tracks just as Nevada does in Las Vegas, Reno and other locations.
New Jersey said the Constitution allows Congress to pass laws barring wagering on sports, but Congress can't require states to keep sports gambling prohibitions in place.
ESPN detailed California's constitutional amendment regarding sports gambling.
Boyd Gaming President and CEO Keith Smith said they see the expansion of sports betting as a growth opportunity for their company. "Our union will monitor developments closely and address the implications of this decision with the National Football League, state legislators and other relevant stakeholders". Nevada - the only state at the time the bill became law that had widespread state-sponsored sports bettors - and three other states with more limited betting (Oregon, Delaware and Montana) were grandfathered in. States can now decide on their own if they want to offer gambling within their borders.