Press Release

Supreme Court allows states to authorize sports betting

Washington, D.C.; May 14, 2018: Today, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which made it illegal for states to authorize sports betting. Pacific Legal Foundation filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.

“This morning, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act as unconstitutional,” PLF attorney Jonathan Wood said. “The opinion, authored by Justice Alito, is a major win for federalism. Justice Alito’s opinion explains that PASPA, which forbids states from ‘authorizing’ or ‘licensing’ sports betting, ‘unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do.'”

Alito’s opinion goes on to say, “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.”

“In a nation committed to federalism, with independent federal and state authority both answerable to the people, neither one can dictate to the other,” Wood said. “To hold otherwise, would have undermined a key structural protection of liberty and democratic accountability. By striking down PASPA in its entirety, the Court placed a big bet on our Constitution’s system of federalism.”

About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) is the nation’s leading public interest legal organization devoted to preserving individual rights and economic freedom. Since 1973, donor-supported PLF has successfully litigated for limited government, private property rights, and free enterprise in the nation’s highest courts.


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Collin Callahan at ccallahan@pacificlegal.org.

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