Gambling On Sports? Supreme Court Clears The Way, For Now

Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Law It will take an act of Congress to undo the Supreme Court’s Monday ruling that puts control of sports gambling in the hands...

Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Law

It will take an act of Congress to undo the Supreme Court’s Monday ruling that puts control of sports gambling in the hands of the states. What are the odds of that happening?

That’s the kind of question we might be asking more if states and private industry move forward with betting on our sports competitions.

Face it, that stuff already happens. Legally, it’s in Nevada. Illegally, it’s everywhere. Now it could soon be a regulated business in New Jersey and other states, with a presence on the internet as well.

Good? Bad? That’s not a question the Supreme Court had to deal with. “The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority in a 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.”

Gambling creates a situation where people tax themselves as they seek to make a few elusive bucks. If as many folks were winning as say they are, there’d be no casinos or sports books. So states can easily tap a new revenue source. And an illegal venture suddenly becomes a respectable state business.

There are few things organized sports hate as much as gambling. Consider how Pete Rose is banned from baseball (and, therefore, the Hall of Fame) for betting on baseball. If there is no public confidence that games aren’t fixed (through point shaving or simply being thrown), the games will wither and the leagues and the NCAA have concerns.

Of course their concerns will be assuaged if they get a cut of the state profits. High-mindedness rarely wins an argument with money.

The Supreme Court did what it does – it gauged whether this longstanding ban on the states met the Constitutional test. The court said it didn’t. States will now decide if they will offer sports gambling.

And each individual must decide whether to partake, how much to risk and if that is worth the potential reward.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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