The Supreme Court struck down a 1992 law that made sports gambling illegal in most states, arguing the ban violated state’s rights and unfairly imposed prohibitions that should be left up to state legislatures.
The ruling fell short of a federal sports gambling framework, something NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had been pushing for, with Justice Alito arguing in the 6-3 opinion that “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”
The decision is being viewed as a big win for casinos and gaming companies, daily fantasy sites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel and officials from New Jersey, who had been fighting to legalize sports gambling with a lawsuit originally brought by former Governor Chris Christie.
Major League Baseball released a statement saying the decision will have “profound effects” on the sport.
“Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games,” MLB’s statement continued. “We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”
Ted Leonsis, who owns the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the NHL’s Washington Capitals, praised the decision.
“It brings a multibillion dollar industry out of the shadows and into the sunlight, where its integrity can be guaranteed and consumers can be better protected,” Leonsis wrote in a blog post, adding, “I think that the increased transparency that will accompany more legalized betting around the country will only further protect against potential corruption.”