The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for states to legalize sports gambling, striking down a 1992 federal law that barred it in most places and setting off a rush by businesses and states to cash in on an expected multibillion-dollar jackpot.
The justices endorsed New Jersey’s bid to allow such wagering in a ruling that ushers in a new era for the leading U.S. sports leagues, which had sued to block the state’s sports gambling law and called such betting a threat to the integrity of competition, fearing game-fixing and other types of cheating.
In a ruling that sent shares in gaming companies and casinos soaring, the court voided the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and upheld the legality of a 2014 state law permitting sports betting at New Jersey casinos and horse racetracks.
Some states see sports betting, like lotteries, as a potentially lucrative source of tax revenue. The American Gaming Association estimates there is currently a $150 billion-a-year illegal sports-betting market.