Supreme Court strikes down law that limits sports betting

WASHINGTON (KUSI) —The United States Supreme Court is opening the door to legalizing gambling on collegiate and professional sports. Monday, the justices ruled that a 1992 law that bars states from the regulation of sports gambling was unconstitutional.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said, “Congress can regulate gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”

Bringing legalized sports betting to California will require a voter initiative. Voters must approve an initiative to change the language in the California state constitution.

Even if such a measure passes, state lawmakers must then draw up regulations and a tax structure.

Cody Martinez, the tribal chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation said he is excited, but added that the addition of sports betting would be seen as an “amenity” to augment other casino activities.

Dr. George Belch, s professor of marketing at San Diego State University said legalized sports betting could generate more revenue for the state, however he cautioned that the potential revenues should not be regarded as “a panacea.”

He expressed concern that making sports gambling more accessible through cell phone apps could lead to less desirable social outcomes.

“I think for now, California could stay away from it. We know people are addicted to their mobile devices and a lot of the potential betting could wind up being done on mobile devices. And there’s a major problem of people being addicted to betting. Now, you bring together the person who has the ability to just pick up their phone and that – that could be a major societal problem,” Belch said.

One industry analyst estimated that sports gambling could add $3 billion dollars to the casino industry’s annual profits. Currently, sports betting produces $150 billion in profits, mostly going to illegal sports books and offshore companies.


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