Photo Courtesy of MGM Grand
Sports books, similar to this one at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, could be coming to New York.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday lifted the federal ban on sports betting, indicating that it is up to individual states to decide if they want to allow wagering on athletic events.
In its 7-2 decision, the Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the federal measure that made sports betting illegal in all but four states: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana.
“The legalization of sports gambling is a controversial subject,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the opinion of the Court. “Supporters argue that legalization will produce revenue for the states and critically weaken illegal sports betting operations, which are often run by organized crime. Opponents contend that legalizing sports gambling will hook the young on gambling, encourage people of modest means to squander their savings and earnings, and corrupt professional and college sports. 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.”
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) called the decision a “major victory” for all states that want to establish a sports-betting market.
“As the ranking member of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues in all levels of government to credibly investigate how we can potentially implement sports betting here in New York to improve the state’s tourism, create jobs and increase revenues,” Addabbo added. “I look forward to moving cautiously forward, as our state entertains the idea of sports betting, while protecting the consumer and the integrity of professional sports.”
Some elected officials aren’t excited about the prospect of widespread sports gambling coming to the Empire State.
“I think what happens a lot of times in the public sector is people hear gambling and they think revenue. And unfortunately when I hear gambling, I think addiction and I think a lot of things that could be really bad for families,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. “We are a society with all sorts of addictions problems. This is something my wife, Chirlane, has worked on a lot too – mental health issues and addiction issues. And let’s face it, we’re not really addressing it in a bigger way therefore if you legalize sports gambling and it’s that much easier to get into something that can be in effect an addiction and can have ruinous economic impact on people and families that worries me a lot.”
De Blasio said he fears that with Monday’s decision a Pandora’s Box might be slowly opening.
“I would be very cautious because again what kind of track record do we have in this country on dealing with addiction? It’s not very good…just look at advertising alone where a whole lot of bad practices have a whole lot of money behind them. And if you have sports gambling now available more broadly, there will be a huge amount of money behind that and it will get ever more attractive to some people who really should stay far away from it. And that worries me a lot.”