Limited Sports Betting Allowed in Pennsylvania
Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling and opinion striking down a 1992 federal law that banned commercial sports betting in most states, but allowing some states to permit gambling.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act—an Act promoted by NBA-player-turned-Senator, Bill Bradley—intended to safeguard the integrity of sports, especially in light of the Pete Rose saga that unfolded just a couple of years before the Act’s passage. After approximately 26 years, the Supreme Court determined that the Act was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court determined that the Act violated states’ 10th Amendment rights, which forbid the federal government from “commandeering” the states to enforce federal laws or policies. Secondarily, the Supreme Court grappled with the fact that the federal government was treating Nevada more favorably than other states who were not grandfathered into sports betting systems.
This decision is a remarkable shift away from the “Commerce Clause Doctrine,” which is often interpreted to allow the federal government to regulate individual state practices if the practices affect commerce across state lines—something gambling would seem to do.
So what does all of this mean? Can participants in an Office Pool fill out NCAA Tournament Brackets in the open instead of behind closed doors? In Pennsylvania, it seems like a “no.” Office Pools still have legal pitfalls since they are not licensed by the state. However, Pennsylvania anticipated the Supreme Court decision and recently decided to allow the state’s existing casinos to offer sports betting “through an internet based system” after paying a $10 million licensing fee.
Attorney Zachary Fowler handles all phases of litigation, from pleadings through and including trial, and has successfully tried a number of arbitrations for numerous small businesses and large corporations in a variety of industries.