Federal law prohibits betting on sports in all of the United States, with a few narrow exceptions. Be that as it may, several state governments now want to license brick-and-mortar venues to offer wagering on sports. Sooner or later, the controversy will have to be tried in federal court.
Last week I wrote an article for Global Betting & Gaming Consultantsexploring the potential path to legalized sports betting in the United States. The article explains that ultimately federal courts must decide whether the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is consistent with the U.S. Constitution.
A federal court action would focus on two distinct issues: 1) whether the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution reserves for each of the 50 states the right to provide their own laws for sports betting, and 2) whether the Interstate Commerce Clause gives power to the federal government to make laws for sports betting.
These issues will in any event take years to settle.
The legalization of internet gambling is likely to proceed piecemeal over a period of several years in the USA, at the discretion of each state as it becomes ready to experiment.
New Jersey is poised to become one of the first states to legalize, and the governor of nearby Connecticut says he would like his state to start competing as quickly as possible.
“Internet gaming is going to come to the United States,” says Connecticut’s Governor Daniel P. Malloy.
“Now that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to come to all 50 states, but I don’t have to worry about all 50 states. I have to worry about the states that we compete with, particularly for casino traffic, which is roughly New Jersey through Maine, through Eastern Pennsylvania, and New York State. And if [internet gaming] comes to any one of those places, as it clearly is going to because it’s going to come to New Jersey– they passed it last last year, and the the governor said he’s going to sign it this year [even though] he vetoed it last year– and if it is at all tied to the success of their casinos, then the shot is fired… So I think all of our discussions are about being ready for what’s going to happen in our region….”
The editorial meeting, in which Governor Malloy openly fields questions in a straight-forward and informed manner, is available for streaming at The Day: Malloy sees need to protect casinos.
Among the highlights:
Reporter: Do compacts have to be renegotiated to allow online gaming? (5:00-minute mark).
Governor Malloy: Sure.
Reporter: Are there active and ongoing discussions with the two tribes?
Governor Malloy: Yes. Tribes, the lottery, everybody. We’re all trying to figure this out together.
Reporter: Is the assumption they would be the ones operating?
Governor Malloy: I don’t think there is any assumption. I think there are sufficient questions around that issue, [such as] who has authority [to operate]… The wisdom or lack of wisdom of competing with casinos, is another one of the issues we have to take into consideration.
We have two highly successful organizations running gaming in our state. Actually three; the lottery does a good job as well. They all have to be at the table and we’ve got to figure this thing out. We’re working on it– and have been working on it– but it took on a whole new dimension the Friday before Christmas. There is no doubt about it.
Reporter: Do you expect any action this legislative session?
Governor Malloy: Yes. I hope so. Whatever we’re going to do we should do. New Jersey is going to pass it in a couple weeks. Let’s assume New Jersey permits it and allows their casinos to operate, and all of a sudden they’re operating online gaming and they’re giving points or incentives to use their casinos…