Victory for New Jersey as Supreme Court strikes down sports betting ban

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (WPVI) -- A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court means sports fans will soon have many more places to place legal bets on the results of football, baseball, basketball, hockey and other games.

The 6-3 ruling struck down a decades-old federal law. It is a major victory for New Jersey, with Delaware and Pennsylvania likely to make gambling changes as well.

The legal battle over sports betting in New Jersey has been going on for the last seven years. In a tweet, former governor Chris Christie said this was, "a great day for the rights of states and their people"

The Supreme Court ruling to end "Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act" now allows for each state to decide on whether to allow sports betting.

The New Jersey State legislature has already drafted laws that will likely pass quickly. The Division of Gaming, as well as casino and racetrack operators, have already met with international companies that are in on the practice.

"There's already been a lot of work done, we expect, and now that work will be taken off the shelf and move from concept to implementation pretty quickly," said gaming lawyer Christopher Soriano.

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Victory for NJ as court strikes down sports betting ban. Maggie Kent reports during Action News at 4pm on May 14, 2018.

"It's obviously a tremendous opportunity for the casinos and Atlantic City to increase revenues and therefore increase jobs, which is extremely important to all of us in the state of New Jersey," said NJ state senator James Beach.

Experts say here in New Jersey, sports bets will likely be under the same tax structure as casino gambling, with the state collecting an 8% tax in house, and a 12% tax for online bets.

"It's a floodgate that just opened as a result of this decision," said Mike Pollack of Spectrum Gaming Group.

Pollack said this is huge positive news for Atlantic City, which for the last few years has been on a downward economic spiral.

"It's going to attract a younger demographic, it's going to attract a demographic with money, with income," he said. "It's going to attract a demographic that is largely not here now."

Pennsylvania and Delaware casinos and racetracks also want in on the action.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D-Pa.) signed a bill last year that authorized sports books at Pennsylvania's casinos along with mobile and online sports betting.

But gambling industry leaders are skeptical that sports books will flourish in Pennsylvania because of the bill's tax provisions: a 36 percent tax on gambling revenue and a $10 million licensing fee for sports book operators.

Parlay bets on NFL games are already available in Delaware because it was one of the four states with pre-existing laws authorizing sports betting that were not affected by the federal ban.

Delaware tried to legalize bets on individual games in 2009, but that ran afoul of the federal law. With the ban lifted, Delaware has the infrastructure in place through its lottery and casinos to quickly begin expanding its wagering options.

State finance secretary Rick Geisenberger told The Associated Press on Monday that full-scale sports gambling could be available at Delaware's three casinos by the end of June.

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