Ring: The Supreme Court, sports betting, and the future

From Sheryl Ring at FanGraphs on May 16, 2018:

Back in March, I wrote about a pending case before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (“PASPA”). PASPA is a federal law which makes sports betting illegal — or, more precisely, requires states to make sports betting illegal. The Supreme Court weighed in on Monday, and we have an answer.

From Justice Alito’s opinion:

The PASPA provision at issue here—prohibiting state authorization of sports gambling—violates the anticommandeering rule. That provision unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do. And this is true under either our interpretation or that advocated by respondents and the United States. In either event, state legislatures are put under the direct control of Congress. It is as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals. A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine.

This “anticommandeering” rule is what I mostly addressed back in March. Remember that the United States is, basically, 50 separate sovereign entities (the states) which ceded power to a unifying government (the federal government) for important matters — things like a military, a common currency, social-welfare programs. But the federal government has (in theory, anyway) limits on its power: it can only do what the Constitution says it can do. And the Constitution says that the federal government can’t order the states to pass, or not pass, laws. To the Supreme Court, telling the states they couldn’t legalize sports gambling was a bridge too far.

Read the full article here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-supreme-court-sports-betting-and-the-future/

Originally published: May 18, 2018. Last Updated: May 18, 2018.