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SCOTUS gambling ruling doesn't change sports betting in Nebraska, Iowa

Posted at 11:54 AM, May 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-14 20:28:31-04

The Supreme Court has 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 on Monday struck 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.

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 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.


Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says he has no plans to legalize sports betting, or expand gambling of any kind, in the state.

"I've always been against expanded gambling here in Nebraska, Ricketts said. "In fact that's how I got involved in politics over a decade ago. And so I have no plans to change that."

A spokesperson for Iowa's Racing and Gaming Commission says the ruling doesn't change anything in the state. A prospective bill failed to pass in the state legislature this past session.

House Study Bill 592 would have legalized professional and collegiate sports betting, with gambling hosts paying a $25,000 licensing fee and generating an 8 percent tax on all gambling revenues. It was estimated to bring in $80-$90 million in state revenue.

Administrator Brian Ohorilko says the commission is looking into the ruling and would anticipate another bill being introduced to the legislature in 2019.

Unlike Iowa, Nebraska doesn't permit casino gambling. Ohorilko says the commission would reach out to casino entities already operating in Iowa, as well as the public.

"It would certainly make it easier for a state like Iowa to get up to speed quickly and be prepared to regulate sports wagering, if indeed we were asked to do that," Ohorilko said.

Ohorilko says it's also possible Congress could pass a bill affecting the ability of the states to regulate sports betting.


The NCAA's chief legal officer says the organization is still reviewing the Supreme Court's decision but adds that it "will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court.

Donald Remy added that the NCAA is reviewing the decision "to understand the overall implications to college sports."


Washington Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis calls the Supreme Court decision "a great one for sports fans" and adds he's eager to embrace the expansion of sports betting in the U.S.

Leonsis says the decision "brings a multibillion dollar industry out of the shadows and into the sunlight, where its integrity can be guaranteed and consumers can be better protected" and that it will change the face of sports fandom for the better.

Leonsis says in a statement released Monday he believes legalized betting will protect the integrity of sports against potential corruption and paves the way to implement safeguards against fraud.

Tony Clark, the head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, calls the Supreme Court's ruling on sports betting "monumental, with far-reaching implications for baseball players and the games we love."

Clark said the topic must be addressed "urgently and thoughtfully to avoid putting our sport's integrity at risk as states proceed with legislation."


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 Robbins says he expects several states to formally legalize sports betting before the start of the NFL season in September.

Robbins 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 Associated Press contributed to this report.