Oneida Indian Nation to adopt sports betting after ruling by Supreme Court

Published May 14, 2018 at 1:16pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court today struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, giving states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The 1992 law barred state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions. It made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game.

The Oneida Indian Nation said after today's ruling that it intends to adopt sports betting.

"The 1993 Nation-State Gaming Compact authorizes the Oneida Indian Nation to adopt any gaming specification that is permitted in New York, without any further approvals by the State," said a media release by Joel Barkin, the Oneida Indian Nation's vice president for communications. "The Nation previously has adopted numerous games under this provision, and the Nation now will adopt sports betting too.  In anticipation of today's ruling, the Nation has made preparations to offer sports betting at venues throughout the Oneida reservation, and we will be putting those plans into operation in the near future."

"We anticipate that sports betting at the Nation will create numerous new job opportunities at each of our casinos.  The Nation is proud of its track record of success in managing these kind of new opportunities and using new revenues to invest in Central New York,” Barkin's announcement added.

One research firm estimated before the ruling that if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law, 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years.

“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. 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,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court.

The court’s decision came in a case from New Jersey, which has fought for years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks in the state.

More than a dozen states had supported New Jersey, which argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, barring states from authorizing sports betting. New Jersey said the Constitution allows Congress to pass laws barring wagering on sports, but Congress can’t require states to keep sports gambling prohibitions in place.

The 1992 law at issue in the case bars state-authorized sports gambling with exceptions for Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware, states that had approved some form of sports wagering before the law took effect. Nevada is the only state where a person can wager on the results of a single game.