WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, giving states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA). The 1992 law barred state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions. It made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.
One research firm estimated before the ruling that if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law, 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years.
The court’s decision came in a case from New Jersey, which has fought for years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks there.
In 2012, the NCAA and four major professional sports leagues sued New Jersey governor Chris Christie after he signed legislation allowing sports betting in the state. That law directly flew in the face of PASPA, which makes it unlawful for a state to “sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law” sports wagering.
A handful of states that already had forms of sports betting when PASPA was implemented were grandfathered in, with only Nevada allowed to offer a full menu, including single-game wagering.
New Jersey lost every step of the way, and the Supreme Court initially declined to take the case in June 2014. The state didn’t give up, though, and passed another law that attempted to comply with PASPA.
The case made its way through the court system again before the Supreme Court took the case and heard oral arguments last December. Twenty states signed on in support of New Jersey in the case.
ESPN’s David Purdum and The Associated Press contributed to this report.