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Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Law Prohibiting Sports Gambling (espn.com) 171

The Supreme Court has struck down a 1992 federal law that effectively prevented most states from legalizing sports betting, clearing up a legal gray area and opening a door for state governments to join in what has become a lucrative industry. From a report: The court ruled 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), a 1992 law that 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.

States that want to offer legal sports betting may now do so, and New Jersey plans to be first. Delaware, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are among the states expected to quickly get into the legal bookmaking game.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Law Prohibiting Sports Gambling

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  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @01:23PM (#56609394)
    Good. Another law regulating harmless activities between consenting adults bites the dust...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I agree it should be legal because prohibition is stupid as a concept and all it does it create unregulated black markets run by dangerous people, but also no denying that legal gambling is effectively a regressive tax on the poor and lower classes.

      • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @01:43PM (#56609572)
        A tax is involuntary. No one is being forced to bet on sports or pay a fine/go to jail.
        • by lexman098 ( 1983842 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @04:55PM (#56610904)
          It sounds like you don't really understand gambling addiction. It's a mental condition similar to alcoholism. I don't think we should outright ban it (or alcohol), but it's naive to dismiss those negatively affected by it saying "meh, no one put a gun to your head".
          • by dryeo ( 100693 )

            Better comparison would be phones, computers or even slashdot, though slashdot at least is cheap.

          • I don't think we should outright ban it (or alcohol), but it's naive to dismiss those negatively affected by it saying "meh, no one put a gun to your head".

            If someone does put a gun to your head and make you do something for their benefit, then that's slavery. But if they don't, then it's just taking advantage of you. It's a fundamentally different thing, however you feel about it.

            Taxing things is cool so long as the revenues are spent on fixing the problems with the thing. When the money goes into the general fund, everything goes into the toilet.

        • is this:

          Gambling is a tax on people who are bad at math.

          The proper quote is not wrong. It's just that there's a disproportionate amount of poor people who are bad at math since, well, math is a valuable skill and if you're good at it you're probably not poor (though I wouldn't bet on it :) ).
      • Nonsense. Absolutely no is making them gamble or waste their money on taking chances. It's entirely optional. It's personal responsibility. Taxes OTOH, are mandatory by law.
        Gambling is a luxury at best, and IMO more like stupidity; of all the vices one could enjoy, throwing your money away on a slim chance is incomprehensible to me. The odds of one financially coming out ahead are low to really low.

    • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:26PM (#56609904)

      Good. Another law regulating harmless activities between consenting adults bites the dust...

      Gambling doesn't occur in a vacuum.

      Studies: Casinos bring jobs, but also crime, bankruptcy, and even suicide [washingtonpost.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jwhyche ( 6192 )

        Studies can also show that virtually anything that brings jobs will bring crime. But studies also show that you can't legislate morality, or at least you shouldn't. This is another attempt to do just that. Good riddance.

        • What studies show you can't legislate morality? What study shows virtually anything that brings jobs will bring crime? I would of thought the higher employment the less crime.

          I do agree that the law probably won't make people moral, it should be there to protect people from being taken advantage of. Although there will always be people who break the law, and laws that are flawed and perhaps should be broken, they provide a guide as to what society deems acceptable. Most people follow the law most of the ti

          • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

            Look up studies on the war on drugs and tell me if that was successful? How about laws against prostitution? Have they made the problem, that was never a problem to begin with, better or worse? What is your feelings on the past about laws banning homosexuality? Was that a good thing?

            No the state can't and shouldn't try to legislate moral issues into and out of existence. Regulate and moderate for public safety, yes, but not into and out of existence.

            • by Kjella ( 173770 )

              No the state can't and shouldn't try to legislate moral issues into and out of existence. Regulate and moderate for public safety, yes, but not into and out of existence.

              Since you're cherry picking subjects I assume this means you'd like to repeal the 13th amendment [wikipedia.org], or is it a moral issue only when you want to lift the ban? That it's illegal to show kids porn, is that a moral issue? To me the line in the sand of what laws deal with "moral issues" and not seems rather arbitrary...

              • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

                Well yes, it is my cherry picked subjects because there would be to many to list. It was actually the list I pulled off the top of my head.

                But the point is still valid. Government shouldn't try to legislate these issue.

          • I would of thought

            Would've.

            Why is it that people expect to be taken as knowledgeable about anything when they can't handle sixth grade spelling reliably.

            Note, by the by, that a typo (hitting "o" then "i" rather that "i" then "o", for example) isn't what I'm bitching about....

            Note to self: don't post when blood-sugar is low. It makes you even crankier than the normal "pretty-damn cranky"....

            • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

              Why is it that people expect to be taken as knowledgeable about anything when they can't handle sixth grade spelling reliably.

              Seriously, why is it important for someone to point out every little spelling and grammar mistake someone makes? It is not important in an informal discussion, which slashdot is. You don't even know if English is a 1st, 3rd or even 4th language of the original poster. Hell you don't even know if the original poster is human. He could be a incredibly talented gibbon.

              In days of Usenet it was actually considered very rude to point out grammar and spelling mistakes.

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Seriously, who cares. Spectator sports and dying slowly but surely and the corruption that gambling will bring into localised sports will just accelerate the process. All sorts of crap, can not buy a player to throw a game, pay someone to cripple them for that match, pay off referees, all sorts of crap will happen and trying to monitor and control it at that level, impossible, so it will get right out of hand. They fought to remove the legislation not for simple equal odds gambling but for purposefully corr

        • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @03:25PM (#56610322)

          But studies also show that you can't legislate morality, or at least you shouldn't.

          Every law deals with morality. Even the ones against murder. "Thou Shall Not Kill" is a moral statement. So is "don't steal". What one can do in a contractual framework, ditto.

          The sports gambling laws are there because gambling on sports games leads to attempts to rig those games. Point shaving, for example. This is not a hypothesis, it is why the laws were created in the first place. History shows it happens.

          Those who forget history tend to repeat it.

          • The sports gambling laws are there because gambling on sports games leads to attempts to rig those games.

            So, sports gambling laws actually stop all gambling on sports? Because otherwise, there's still an incentive to rig games....

            • So, sports gambling laws actually stop all gambling on sports?

              No more so than murder laws stop all murders or all robbery laws stop all robberies. Did you think anyone said otherwise?

              Because otherwise, there's still an incentive to rig games....

              If you remove large scale economic incentives, you reduce the motive for doing so.

              Should we do away with all laws because they do not actually stop all illegal activity? Or do we accept that criminals will still break the law?

          • You don't need morality to justify banning gambling. You can make an entirely economic argument for the ban. Normal economic transactions are win-win for both parties - positive sum. The seller gets paid more than the item or service cost them to acquire, the buyer gets something they value more than how much they paid for it. It's this positive sum nature of beneficial transactions which causes economic growth.

            Likewise, criminal activities are negative sum. A burglar gains the value of the loot he
            • That is based on the moral principle that economics should define what matters.
              • That is based on the moral principle that economics should define what matters.

                No, his argument was that you don't have to consider moral values, you can also consider economic ones. He didn't say you should define "what matters" in any specific way, only that there is more than one way to get to the same answer.

                Yes, there is entertainment value to gambling. When it is rigged it is a negative sum game for everyone but the cheater, so there can be no economic value to them. If they discover the cheating, then they lose the entertainment value, too.

          • Every law deals with morality. Even the ones against murder. "Thou Shall Not Kill" is a moral statement.

            You don't need to take a moral stand against murder to find it inconvenient. There are economic effects to murder.

            The sports gambling laws are there because gambling on sports games leads to attempts to rig those games. Point shaving, for example. This is not a hypothesis, it is why the laws were created in the first place. History shows it happens.

            Sure, but that's not morality either. Attempts to rig those games lead to expensive court proceedings. It's cheaper for society if that doesn't happen.

            • You don't need to take a moral stand against murder to find it inconvenient. There are economic effects to murder.

              And why do economic affects matter? There is no universal truth of correctnes, ultimately it comes down to you assigning some sort of value to that. And that is entirely equivalent to a moral judgement. And there's nothing wrong with that.

              • You don't need to take a moral stand against murder to find it inconvenient. There are economic effects to murder.

                And why do economic affects matter?

                Because we live under capitalism, and capital controls the means of production.

            • You don't need to take a moral stand against murder to find it inconvenient.

              Murder is an inconvenience. Wow. Lots of things that are perfectly legal are inconvenient. It's inconvenient that the mailman comes at noon. It would be convenient if he came at 6AM. Should there be a law?

              Attempts to rig those games lead to expensive court proceedings.

              Only because it was illegal. It was illegal for moral reasons.

    • Meh, leaving aside the major questions about gambling and its known addictive and destructive nature, you're assuming that SCOTUS found all laws about gambling to be unconstitutional. They didn't. What they did find was that the Federal law outlawing gambling was unconstitutional because of the way it was written, essentially forcing the states to ban gambling themselves.

      Regardless of what happens now, state laws outlawing gambling will remain constitutional. And it's probable other Federal laws outlawin

      • What they did find was that the Federal law outlawing gambling was unconstitutional because of the way it was written, essentially forcing the states to ban gambling themselves.

        It was even weirder than that. It forced the stats to unban gambling during a narrow window, and then closed that window for all states for all time.

        It allowed states a window to opt out of a federal law, if they pushed through legislature to do it.

        I'm more than happy seeing fucked up shit like that overturned. The justices pretty much said to congress, "If you want to ban it, do it right."

    • Good. Another law regulating harmless activities between consenting adults bites the dust...

      Wanna bet?

    • Good. Another law regulating harmless activities between consenting adults bites the dust...

      Not only a "law", but an obviously illegal one at that. The Constitution doesn't provide *any* possible authorization for Congress to be involved in such.

    • Taking advantage of humanity's general fundamental inability to truly comprehend and internalize consequences of statistically foolish behavior is harmless? Or were you under the impression that that was not how bookies and casinos make money?

    • Good. Another law regulating harmless activities between consenting adults bites the dust...

      Indeed! But then there is that money thing. Money, and the billions that this represents means that point shaving will become the norm. The people who run gambling now that it is intrenched and given blessing and support by the Supremes, simply will not suffer a loss. They won't. This is going to turn out as well as dark money, and the corporation being a super person.

      And just like state lotteries, the poor will use it as a last ditch retirement plan. But don't worry, the billionairs will add a lot to

  • Makes sense (Score:4, Funny)

    by slapout ( 93640 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @01:31PM (#56609468)

    Because if there's anything that will keep politicians honest, it's gambling

  • by Anonymous Coward

    >"Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games," MLB's statement said.

    Yeah, I think steroids ended any claim to "integrity" in professional sports a long time ago.

    Fuck Manny "Scared of Needles" Pacquiao, farce of the century, with 1990s Roy Jones being the farce of the previous century.

  • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @01:48PM (#56609604)

    States that want to offer legal sports betting may now do so, and New Jersey plans to be first

    The law that was just overturned was written in such a way so that NJ could get exempted along with Nevada (so could any other states that wanted to), they just had to fill out paperwork/legalize it before a deadline. It was obvious Atlantic City would want sports betting, so the federal law assumed NJ would make it legal. But the state legislature really fell down, and hence for 26 years it's been trying to undo that mistake.

  • They're already projecting that this will net $6B in taxable revenue for states by 2023.

    • Except, you know, for the one state it was already legal in...
      • I didn't say it was okay there either. Nevada and its residents (former resident speaking here) reap huge financial rewards for legalized gambling.

  • This is a good step in the direction of legalizing climate bets [huffingtonpost.com]. If those who deny climate change were willing to place money on global temperatures stabilizing or falling, the rest of us could retire early!
    • Can they adjust the raw data last... after the Government does ?

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:22PM (#56609870)
    I'm more concerned that the swamp managed to pass a law giving Nevada exclusive rights to sports gambling! How doe$ that happen?
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:30PM (#56609932)
    it didn't ban sports gambling, it make it illegal for the States to lift their existing bans. That way Nevada (who lobbied for the law) could keep right on gambling.

    I'd love to see gambling fully legalized. The Casino operators are crazy rich and use their money to buy all kinds of influence. It'd be nice to see some of that power broke up even a little bit.
  • indian casinos will push hard even if the state they are in says no.

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @02:59PM (#56610148)
    My hobby. Betting on the outcome of Supreme Court cases.
    • Unfortunately gambling on politics is illegal in the US. Lots of people have pointed out this would remove a lot of the BS from politics. If someone wanted to claim law x would have y effect they could back up their claim by putting money on it, if they don't bet, they obviously don't belive it that much

  • by Heebie ( 1163973 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @03:05PM (#56610180) Homepage
    Wasn't it Biff Tannen who was supposed to get these laws overturned? Several years ago?
  • With wide spread betting, I'm guessing it will be easier for small-time point shaving rackets to operate...
    It'll even be less important who will win, but the line will be closely watched. I'm sure you'll see more than more coach or ref taken for task for actions during garbage time.

    As if it couldn't get any worse, right now you need to go off shore to bet on High School sports (was offered at 5dimes for a while)... I'm guessing it won't take long for that to change...

  • It looks like the issue is actually States' Rights, and not that a Federal Law regulating (or maybe even banning) gambling is necessarily unconstitutional. Last sentence of the majority opinion, partially quoted in TFA:

    The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. 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. PASPA "regulate[s] state governments' regulation" of their citizens, New York, 505 U. S., at 166. The Constitution gives Congress no such power.

    Makes sense to me. Also, I'm always interested in the breakdown whenever one or more of the justices "defect" (liberal justice going with a conservative majority opinion or vice versa). For anyone who's curious: Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented, Breyer concurred in part and dissented in part

    • It's actually commandeering rather than states' rights. The feds were trying make the states enforce federal law.

      In the quote you mentioned, Congress can, tomorrow if they wish, outlaw all gambling under interstate commerce power. They can't pass a law stating that the states can't change their laws.

  • Gambling is a one-way function on funds, allowing them to be laundered. Now we can expect more efficient bribes - no more going to Nevada or other jurisdictions, you can bribe your official in any state.

    I like how we are promoting local business (as long as it's in the family).

  • This is about the major for-profit sports industry (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, NCAA) getting pissed because someone else is making a profit off their sports they can't get a piece of. Every sports book will be "using" their IP (team names, player names) to make money and they won't get a dime of it.

    The leagues also worry about it harming the "integrity" of their sport. They need the public convinced that the outcomes are purely driven by competition and that there's no manipulation driving outcomes. I think thi

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