Bonacic reacts to SCOTUS sports betting ruling

ALBANY, NY — The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on May 14 struck down a 1992 federal law that prevents most states from legalizing sports betting. Analysts expect that to lead to sports betting operations in several states including New York.

State Sen. John Bonacic issued a statement that said, “New York has been preparing for this moment since as far back as 2013, and we have remained proactive in anticipation of this decision by the court. The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee held a public hearing in January that brought together stakeholders from across the gaming spectrum to discuss this issue in depth. Since that time, I have introduced legislation that has passed committee and continued to have productive discussions regarding the issue. I am confident that, working together with my colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly, we can have a bill ready for the governor’s signature by the end of the session.”

The SCOTUS ruling was in response to a case brought by New Jersey officials who argued that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional. The act allowed sports betting to remain in four states where it had already been legalized to varying degrees—Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.

The SCOTUS vote was six to three, with the majority saying the law overstepped the authority Congress has to tell the states how to behave. Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “The provision unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do.”

He continued, “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.”

The ruling was a defeat for the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the four major professional U.S. sporting leagues, which had to this point blocked New Jersey from allowing sports betting in that state’s casinos.

Several lawmakers in Pennsylvania also welcomed the decision.


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