FLORIDA LAW UPDATE – Door Open to Sports Betting in Florida

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On May 14, 2018, in a ruling that could have consequences for sports betting in Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling, struck down a federal law that banned certain sports betting, opening the door to Florida gamblers to bet on additional sports if the Florida Legislature allows it under Florida law. Florida currently allows what is called parimutuel betting on horse and dog racing and jai alai.

In the case brought by the state of New Jersey, the Supreme Court found that a 1992 law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which prohibits states from authorizing and licensing sports gambling, violates the anti-commandeering rule of the U.S. Constitution.

“Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own,”’ wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the opinion for the Court. The federal law “‘regulates state governments’ regulation’ of their citizens. The Constitution gives Congress no such power.”

Florida law currently does not authorize any form of sports betting and the ruling may now lead to state lawmakers changing the gaming laws.