The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 federal law that had prohibited most states from authorizing sports betting. The ruling could lead to significantly expanded opportunities for organized betting on pro sports, such as auto racing.
The federal law – to which Nevada was exempt, while Delaware, Montana and Oregon were permitted to continue their pre-existing sports lotteries – had been challenged in a suit filed by New Jersey with the support of some other states interested in allowing sports gambling as a way to boost tourism and tax revenue.
In a 6-3 ruling, the court overturned the federal law as unconstitutional, although it noted that Congress can still act to regulate gambling on a national level through additional legislation.
“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the 6-3 opinion. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”
CNN reports that fantasy sports contest provider DraftKings said after the ruling that plans to enter the sports betting market.
While there was no immediate reaction to the ruling from motorsports’ sanctioning bodies, NASCAR star Brad Keselowski acknowledged in a tweet he was “torn” on whether opening up his sport to widespread gambling was a good thing: