New Jersey case could change sports betting landscape

WASHINGTON  (Gray DC) -- If you like to bet on sports, odds are, you have a hard time finding a way to legally do it.
However, the sports gaming industry is excited over the chance the Supreme Court.

Monday, the court heard arguments in the Christie v. NCAA case.

After arguments, Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey) said, “I believe here, that it’s very clear, the federal government overstepped its bounds.”

New Jersey is challenging the constitutionally of the federal law which bans regulated sports betting outside of Nevada.

The gambling community is watching closely.

Geoff Freeman, the American Gaming Association’s president, said, “The beauty of this case, while brought by New Jersey, is that it stands to benefit all states in the country.”

Freeman said if New Jersey wins this case, as many as 15 states could quickly move toward legal sports betting.

Among them -- Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Iowa.

Freeman said, “What I know about Iowa, is it’s a state with a thriving casino market, heavy regulation, strict regulation. A good partnership between the industry and between state government.”

Advocates for people who have gambling addictions agree, a New Jersey win could spark a rapid growth of legal sports betting, but worry that growth won’t be matched by enough help for people who need it.

Keith Whyte, the National Council on Problem Gambling’s executive director, said, “Gambling addiction can be a devastating and potentially life-threatening disorder. It has one of the highest suicidal rates of any of the addictive disorders.”

Whyte said a lot of states already fall short of helping people with gambling problems.

“We would just like to see the same level of concern for gambling as we do for other highly addictive substances like tobacco and alcohol.”, he said.

In Monday’s Supreme Court hearing, the legal arguments made against the New Jersey case centered more on upholding current law, rather than arguing for or against sports betting expansion.

Both Freeman and Whyte agree, current law surrounding sports betting is flawed.
An example of that, people bet about $150 billion a year, and 97% of those bets are placed illegally.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the New Jersey case next year.

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