Why We Can Now Bet on Sports | Murphy v. NCAA

Mr. Beat presents Supreme Court Briefs New Jersey
November 8, 2011 Citizens vote to make betting on sports legal. This was a big deal. At the time, 97% of all sports bets placed in the country were illegal. The New Jersey state legislature then passed and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the Sports Wagering Act of 2012, which let citizens place sports bets at casinos and racetracks. Well the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB were like “nuh-uhh.” They sued Governor Christie, arguing that New Jersey legalizing sports betting went against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, aka PASPA, passed by Congress back in 1992. This law banned betting on sports except for a few special places that were exempt. Well apparently New Jersey was not special enough. Governor Christie was like “Yeah, I KNOW New Jersey legalizing sports betting went against PAPSA, but the Tenth Amendment is on our side.” You see, the Supreme Court had previously established this thing called the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine in two cases, New York v. United States (1992) and Printz v. United States (1997). The doctrine basically said the federal government can’t force states or state officials to adopt or enforce federal laws. Soon the U.S. Department of Justice joined forces with the sports leagues, and when they went to U.S. District Court in February 2013, their main argument was that sports gambling not only hurt their leagues, but hurt the integrity of the sports. The judge agreed and ruled with the sports leagues and Justice Department. Governor Christie and New Jersey appealed to the Third Circuit Appeals Court, but they upheld the ruling. After the Supreme Court refused to hear another appeal in the spring of 2014, the New Jersey legislature went back to the drawing board. Since the Sports Wagering Act was unconstitutional, they just went back and repealed parts of existing New Jersey laws from 1977 that had banned sports gambling. Oh snap. What a sneaky way to legalize sports gambling. But Governor Christie was like “sorry, not sorry” and vetoed the repeals, saying “guys, we just can’t bypass the Third Circuit’s ruling.” However, just a few months later, Christie changed his mind and signed it into law. Welp, the five sports leagues sued New Jersey again in November 2014. Yet again, the District Court and Third Circuit ruled in favor of the sports leagues. But Christie and New Jersey begged the Supreme Court to consider an appeal again, specifically bringing up the question “Does a federal statute that prohibits modification or repeal of state-law prohibitions on private conduct impermissibly commandeer the regulatory power of States?” and they cited good ol’ New York v. United States as precedent. Well that got the Court’s attention this time. They agreed to hear the case on June 27, 2017. The Court heard oral arguments on December 7, 2017. By this time, New Jersey had elected a new governor, Phil Murphy. One big thing the Court looked at was whether or not the Commerce Clause gave the federal government authority to say a state couldn’t repeal old laws. On May 14, 2018, the Court finally announced their decision. They sided with New Jersey. It was 7-2, although Justice Stephen Breyer only partially sided with the majority. The Court ruled that PASPA went against the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine because it specifically said what a state could and could not do. A month later, New Jersey made sports gambling legal again. Other states soon followed. Today, just 16 months after the decision, Atlantic City appears to be on the rebound. For years before the decision, its economy had struggled. Now that sports betting is legal, business is booming once again there. Murphy v. NCAA was a win for states’ rights and the 10th Amendment. It strengthened the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, and ever since states have been a bit more bold passing and upholding laws that went against federal laws. A great example is marijuana policy. The decision has made it clear that the federal government can’t prevent states from legalizing marijuana. Sure, there’d still be ways the federal government could regulate it and prevent its legalization indirectly, but for the most part it looks like states are going to keep doing their own thing and it’ll be harder can stop them. Now, that all said. What IS gambling really? I mean, just about all of us agree betting on sports is gambling, but what about loot boxes? Shouldn’t buying THEM be considered gambling? Well, to answer that question, Mr. Sinn has made a video. That’s right, this video is a collaboration with Mr. Sinn, a fellow social studies teacher/YouTuber based out of Minnesota who is a fantastic educator. Be sure to check out his video and subscribe to him while you’re over there. I’ll see you for the next Supreme Court case, jury! Thanks to Mr. Sinn for collaborating with me. What do YOU think about Murphy v. NCAA? Do you agree with the Court’s decision? Should ALL gambling be legal? Let me know in the comments below. I think I’m going to bet my life savings that the Chiefs will win the Super Bowl this year. I probably should run this by Mrs. Beat first but We’ll see. Thanks for watchiiiiiiinnnnnngggggggggg

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