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Pallone: Supremes Sports Betting Call Should Spur Game Act Passage

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) hailed a Supreme Court decision that states can decide to legalize sports betting, and said that should light a fire under Congress to pass his bill.

The Supreme Court restored a New Jersey law that would have allowed sports betting but for an appeals court decision that it violated a federal law banning sport betting, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA). The court said Monday (May 14) that PAPSA was constitutional and repealed it, opening the door to other states approving sports betting if they choose.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling is a win for New Jersey and the rest of the country," said Pallone. "PAPSA was clearly unconstitutional, and the ban on sports betting has now rightfully been rejected by the Court.  I have long believed that New Jersey should have the opportunity to proceed with sports betting. Now that the Supreme Court has struck down this unlawful and confusing law, it is time for Congress to move the GAME Act [Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act of 2017] forward to ensure that consumer protections are in place in any state that decides to implement sports betting.”

Related: Sports Sites Encouraged By Betting Ruling

At about the same time the Supremes were hearing oral argument last year, Pallone introduced the GAME Act last year, which would outline the proper consumer protections for legalizing sports betting on and offline as well as a legal framework for states tpo adopt sports betting.

Pallone has long opposed PAPSA, not surprising since Atlantic City has been the East Coast version of Las Vegas, where sports betting has been legal for years--it was grandfathered in PAPSA.\

Pallone also joined with the Thoroughbred Horseman's Association to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of reversing the decision on the New Jersey law and repealing PAPSA.

In the brief, Pallone argued that "While States cannot stop the Federal Government from enforcing federal law within their territory, the Federal Government cannot command the State to create a law criminalizing the conduct, Pallone continued."

The issue is similar to state laws legalizing marijuana use.

Pallone suggested that decriminalizing sports betting would bring to bring a common practice of the shadows and out from under untoward influences.

"Despite being illegal in most states, traditional and internet sports betting is widespread, and functions almost exclusively through organized crime," Pallone argues. "Of the nearly $400 billion that is spent annually in the U.S. on sports betting, 99% is illegal."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.