UPDATE: Supreme Court makes sports betting a possibility nationwide

By  | 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Supreme Court ruling striking down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states (all times local):

MGN Image

4:15 p.m.

Longtime sportscaster Brent Musburger says prohibition didn't work with liquor and prohibition didn't work for sports betting.

The former ESPN announcer now heads a sports betting broadcast called Vegas Stats and Information Network.

He's calling Monday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on sports betting in states a healthy thing for sports and the public.

Musburger says sports betting and influence scandals are rare, and all that bookmakers in Las Vegas want is integrity and honesty.

He says the ruling takes sports betting "out of the underground and makes it mainstream."

____

3:50 p.m.

Casino giant Caesars Entertainment says you can bet it will expand its sports wagering business to states where it says secure and responsible gambling is legalized.

It's not talking yet about details.

Company president and chief executive Mark Frissora says Monday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court could end illegal sports wagering by replacing it with a well-regulated alternative that sports fans can trust.

Las Vegas-based Caesars operates 47 casinos in 13 U.S. states and five countries.

Frissora says the company will announce its specific approach to adding sports books after regulations evolve from the court ruling.

__

3:45 p.m.

New Jersey lawmakers have introduced new legislation that would regulate and tax sports betting, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for states to legalize it.

A bill sponsored Monday by Democratic state Senate president Steve Sweeney and others would set an 8 percent tax rate for bets made in person at casinos and racetracks, and 12.5 percent on online bets.

The state Division of Gaming Enforcement, Casino Control Commission, and state Racing Commission would all be involved in regulating sports bets that would be placed through casinos and racetracks.

The bill would presumably supplant one introduced last week that would have paid an "integrity fee" to the sports leagues, in effect giving them a cut of the proceeds from sports betting.

____

2:40 p.m.

The National Council on Problem Gambling says the high court ruling offers the largest potential expansion of gambling in U.S. history, and predicts many more people will develop gambling problems or worsen existing ones unless steps are taken to minimize risks.

Marlene Warner, the group's board president, says any governmental body and sports league that receives money from sports betting revenue should be required to dedicate funds to prevent and treat gambling problems.

Earlier Monday, the Supreme Court 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.

__

2:35 p.m.

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee says he'll propose legislation that would establish standards for sports betting that will uphold the integrity of the game, protect consumers and safeguard against underage gambling.

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah says Congress cannot allow uneven enforcement and a patchwork of state laws regarding sports betting result in a "race to the regulatory bottom."

Hatch is reacting after the Supreme Court struck down a law that he helped write in 1992 that forbade 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.

Hatch says the 1992 law was created to protect the integrity of athletics from corruption. He says the upcoming legislation will have that focus, too.

__

2:20 p.m.

A New Jersey horse track says it plans to start taking bets within two weeks "unless someone stops us."

At a news conference at Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey, Dennis Drazen, chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, which operates the track, said he envisions wagering via kiosks, websites and mobile apps.

The track already has a sports book set up.

Drazen said he will take his cue from lawmakers, who were huddling with Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy's office before deciding when to act on a bill they have already introduced to regulate sports betting.

Deputy Assembly Speaker John Burzichelli said it will probably be several weeks before a revised bill is enacted.

Earlier Monday, the Supreme Court 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.

__

1:25 p.m.

A gambling market researcher says the market for legal sports betting could be more than $57 billion nationwide.

Analyst David Katz of the Jefferies firm in New York is projecting modest near-term positive effects on the gambling industry following Monday's Supreme Court ruling.

His analysis says regional casino operators Penn National Gaming and Caesars Entertainment could be possible big winners.

The analysis says negotiating and establishing regulations and licenses could take time, and that gambling technology companies Scientific Gaming Corp. and IGT also are well-positioned to benefit from the ruling.

Representatives of the four publicly traded companies did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International welcomed an expansion of sports betting to other states, saying it offers a chance "to protect consumers and benefit the public by regulating and taxing sports betting."

___

12:55 p.m.

The NFL plans to ask Congress "to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting" following the Supreme Court's ruling that would allow sports wagers in most states.

In its statement, the NFL noted that "Congress has long recognized the potential harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events."

The NFL also said it will work closely with teams to ensure that any state proposals "protect our fans and the integrity of our game."

____

12:50 p.m.

The PGA Tour has restated its support of sports gambling following a Supreme Court ruling that overturned a federal law barring gambling in most states. The tour's position is similar to the NBA and Major League Baseball on gambling issues and it says it will continue to work with state legislators and regulators.

The tour last year established a program that requires players on all six circuits the PGA Tour manages to take part in an online tutorial that, among other things, illustrates some of the far-reaching effects of gambling.

"We believe that regulation is the most effective way of ensuring integrity in competition, protecting consumers, engaging fans and generating revenue for government, operators and leagues," the tour said in a statement.

___

12:45 p.m.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the league remains a favorite "of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it."

Silver said the league would "remain active" in ongoing discussions with state legislatures in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling. Silver added that "regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority."

___

12:30 p.m.

Daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings says it's poised to enter the sports-betting market after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal law that bans gambling on sports in most states.

The Boston-based company said Monday it had been preparing to launch a sports betting platform and apply for state operating licenses ever since the high court announced it would take up the case.

DraftKings chief executive Jason Robins says he expects several states to formally legalize sports betting before the start of the NFL season in September.

Robins says DraftKings will push for regulations in those states that put "smart consumer protections" in place but aren't overly restrictive.

He says the company is well-positioned to enter the market because of its experience with offering daily fantasy sports games.

__________

The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go-ahead for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states.

The justices voted 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 law that forbade 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.

Many states have hoped their cut of legalized sports gambling could help solve budget problems. Stock prices for casino operators and equipment makers surged after the ruling was announced.

The ruling, in a case from New Jersey, creates an opening to bring an activity out of the shadows that many Americans already see as a mainstream hobby. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports each year, and 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.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court, "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."

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. Ginsburg wrote for the three that when a portion of a law violates the Constitution, the court "ordinarily engages in a salvage rather than a demolition operation," preserving what it can. She said that instead of using a "scalpel to trim the statute" her colleagues used "an axe" to cut the remainder down. Breyer agreed with the majority of the court that part of the law must be struck down but said that should not have doomed the rest of the law.

The federal government and all four major U.S. professional sports leagues and the NCAA had urged the court to uphold the federal law, with the leagues saying a gambling expansion would hurt the integrity of their games. Those concerns are rooted in past gambling scandals. The leagues don't want anyone thinking the outcome of their games could be altered by someone with money on a certain result, and they argued that with legal sports betting in the United States they'd have to spend a lot more money monitoring betting patterns and investigating suspicious activity.

Sports gambling proponents argue that the leagues already do that work and that legal sports betting will make enforcement easier than it is now, when most bets in the U.S. are made illegally. They say state regulators are capable of monitoring suspicious bets, as is done in Nevada.

On Monday, Major League Baseball issued a statement saying the Supreme Court ruling would have "profound effects" on the league and that it would "continue to seek the proper protections for our sport."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says the pro basketball league remains in favor "of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in sates that choose to permit it." He said that "regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority."

Representatives of the National Hockey League and National Football League had no immediate comment on the ruling, saying they were analyzing it. The NCAA's chief legal officer said the organization is still reviewing the court's decision but added that it "will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from 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. Former Gov. Chris Christie said after arguments in the case in December that if justices sided with the state, bets could be taken "within two weeks" of a decision.

After the ruling was announced, the former Republican governor tweeted that it was a "great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions." The state's current governor, Democrat Phil Murphy, also cheered the ruling, saying he was "thrilled" to see the high court strike down the "arbitrary ban." He said he looked forward to working with the Legislature to "enact a law authorizing and regulating sports betting in the very near future."

Monmouth Park, a racetrack at the Jersey Shore, has already set up a sports book operation and has previously estimated it could take bets within two weeks of a favorable ruling.

Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana Entertainment, said his Atlantic City casino will "absolutely" offer sports betting once it can get it up and running. "It's been a long time coming," he said.

New Jersey has spent years and millions of dollars in legal fees trying to legalize sports betting. In 2012, with voters' support, New Jersey lawmakers passed a law allowing sports betting, directly challenging the 1992 federal law. The four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA sued, and the state lost in court.

In 2014, New Jersey tried a different tactic by repealing laws prohibiting sports gambling at casinos and racetracks. It argued that taking its laws off the books was different from authorizing sports gambling. The state lost again and then took the case to the Supreme Court.

More than a dozen states had supported New Jersey in urging the Supreme Court to overturn the law.

___

Associated Press reporter Wayne Parry contributed reporting from Atlantic City, New Jersey, Ben Nuckols contributed from Washington and Steve Megargee contributed from Knoxville, Tennessee.