On May 14, the U.S. Supreme Court handed New Jersey a victory in its eight-plus-year campaign to legalize sports betting. In the consolidated matter of Murphy v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, No. 16-476 (formerly known as Christie v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n), and New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Ass’n v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, No. 16-477) (hereinafter, Murphy), the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal law that, in part, prohibited states from authorizing state-sanctioned sports betting.
The court held that:
- PASPA prohibited a state from repealing a portion of its own laws barring sports betting;
- The prohibition violated the anti-commandeering doctrine—a principle derived from the Tenth Amendment that bars the federal government from compelling the states to enact and enforce federal regulatory programs; and
- The otherwise constitutional portions of PASPA were not severable from the unconstitutional provisions.
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