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Supreme Court strikes down federal sports betting ban, paving way for NJ and other states

The U.S. Supreme Court will allow more states to legalize sports betting, breaking up Nevada’s monopoly on the practice, according to a ruling Monday.

New Jersey casinos and horse racetracks and voided the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Some states see sports betting, like lotteries, as a potentially important source of tax revenue.

The Supreme Court justices struck down the entire federal law on a 6-3 vote.

“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,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote on behalf of the court.

The state law at issue would allow people age 21 and above to bet on sports at New Jersey casinos and racetracks, but would ban wagers on college teams based in or playing in the state.

Shares of several casino companies moved higher following the report, including MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Penn National Gaming, Boyd Gaming and Churchill Downs. Wynn Resorts stock recaptured some of its losses from earlier in trading, down 1 percent on the day.

Industry analysts have said that dozens of states might legalize sports betting if they are not barred from doing so by the federal law. Seven states Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New York and West Virginia have laws prepared to make sports betting legal in the event of Monday’s ruling. Thirteen more states California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Carolina have plans or proposals to consider legalizing sports betting.

The ruling takes the U.S. a step closer to legal sports betting in numerous states, possibly even nationwide. Currently the practice is legal only in select places such as Nevada, home to the gambling capital Las Vegas. The current illegal sports betting market is worth billions of dollars annually.

Reuters contributed to this report.

source : www.cnbc.com