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Leagues, Bookmakers, and Sports Betting Stakeholders React to PASPA Repeal

After the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling to repeal the federal sports betting ban known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) yesterday, reactions began to roll in from leagues, bookmakers, and other gaming industry stakeholders.

The case of Murphy v. NCAA was originally filed as Christie v. NCAA ­in 2012, when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) joined four professional sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL) in suing Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey to contest the Garden State’s attempt to legalize and regulate sports betting.

The Third Circuit ruled in favor of the leagues, but the Supreme Court deemed PASPA to be unconstitutional – freeing individual states to craft their own sports betting legislation.

Donald Remy – who serves as chief legal officer for the NCAA – commented on the landmark case which bears his organization’s name:

“Today the United States Supreme Court issued a clear decision that PASPA is unconstitutional, reversing the lower courts that held otherwise.

While we are still reviewing the decision to understand the overall implications to college sports, we will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court.”

In the years since the suit was filed, North America’s four largest professional leagues have since changed their tune, warming to the prospect of legalized sportsbooks nationwide.

Major League Baseball (MLB) issued a statement addressing the PASPA repeal:

“Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court will have profound effects on Major League Baseball.

As each state considers whether to allow sports betting, we will continue to seek the proper protections for our sport, in partnership with other professional sports. Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games.

We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”

National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner Adam Silver, one of the more enthusiastic league leaders when it comes to legalization, also commented on the ruling:

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court opens the door for states to pass laws legalizing sports betting.

We remain in favor of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it, but we will remain active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures.

Regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority.”

The National Hockey League (NHL), which brought the first professional franchise to Las Vegas last year, issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court’s decision today paves the way to an entirely different landscape – one in which we have not previously operated.

We will review our current practices and policies and decide whether adjustments are needed, and if so, what those adjustments will look like.

It’s important to emphasize that the Supreme Court’s decision has no immediate impact on existing League rules relating to sports wagering, and particularly, wagering involving NHL games.

So, while changes may be considered in the future, today’s decision does not directly impact the operation of the League or any of our Clubs in the short term.”

The National Football League (NFL), a lone holdout among the leagues in largely opposing PASPA repeal, called on Congress to regulate sports betting on the federal level:

“The NFL’s long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our game remains absolute.

Congress has long-recognized the potential harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events.

Given that history, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting.”

After leading the charge to legalize sports betting, New Jersey is keen on becoming the first state to join Nevada in offering single game betting and sportsbooks. Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey has already partnered with U.K.-based bet shop William Hill to construct a sportsbook facility.

Dennis Drazin – chairman and chief executive for Monmouth Park Racetrack operator Darby Development – predicted a Memorial Day launch for his venue’s sportsbook:

“This is the culmination of the hard work and dedication of a large group of individuals, all of whom contributed to today’s victory and will undoubtedly contribute to our future success.

We started this fight back in 2012 and are grateful that the Supreme Court has recognized that we’ve been right all along.

We can now shift our focus on commencing sports betting, which will be off and running at Monmouth Park as soon as possible.”

Joe Asher, chief executive officer for William Hill US, issued a statement celebrating the company’s expansion from Nevada to New Jersey and beyond:

“We are excited, not just for ourselves, but for sports fans across the country.

We’ve been working towards this day for a long time and take great satisfaction in the Supreme Court’s decision. Just as we have with our 100+ locations in Nevada, we look forward to working to make legal and regulated sports betting a big winner for consumers, state governments and all interested parties across the country.

If we do this the right way, the only losers will be the illegal bookies that have been operating a massive black market.”

American Gaming Association (AGA) president and chief executive Geoff Freeman praised the Court for preserving the right to safely wager on sports:

“Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner.

Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting.”