Texas Can Now Legalize Sports Gambling, But Will It?
The Supreme Court on Monday voted 6 to 3 to strike down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which banned state-authorized sports gambling across the nation with the exception of three states that were "grandfathered in". The SCOTUS' decision opens the door for Texas to legalize sports gambling, but will it? Or should it?
Under that law, Congress did not pass an official ban on sports betting - it simply said states couldn't pass laws legalizing. When the law passed, New Jersey was offered the opportunity to legalize before it took effect, but opted not to. In recent years NJ lawmakers have had a change of heart, and their case made its way to the SCOTUS, which led to today's decision.
Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito wrote:
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. PASPA “regulate[s] state governments’ regulation” of
their citizens, New York, 505 U. S., at 166. The Constitution
gives Congress no such power.
You'd think that'd be great news for states like Texas who prefer as little federal involvement in state laws as possible. However, Texas lawmakers have traditionally not been in favor of expanding gambling beyond the state lottery, despite arguments that it could prove to be a huge financial boon. (The Associated Press reports that Americans illegally wager around $150 billion on sports annually.)
Emma Platoff with the Texas Tribune wrote a skeptical article Monday in which she cites examples of Texas legislators and governors resisting efforts to expand gambling. An example that stood out to me was Attorney General Ken Paxton's 2016 comments likening fantasy sports sites to gambling. For fantasy sports fans in Texas, that's definitely a hot take. And, of course, there are always those who argue that gambling is immoral and not a habit Texas ought to foster. Organizations such as the NFL and NCAA have also expressed concerns about the ruling, stating that gambling could comprise the integrity of their games.
So, what do you think? Should Texas take advantage of this opportunity and legalize sports gambling? Vote in the poll below, then let us know what you think in the comments.