Here’s What Happened In The SCOTUS Sports Betting Arguments Today

Posted By Steve Ruddock on December 4, 2017

[toc]The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in the Christie vs. NCAA, New Jersey sports betting case on Monday morning: A case that will likely determine not only the future of sports betting in New Jersey, but the United States.

The back-story on the Christie vs. NCAA case

The current case is New Jersey’s second attempt to legalize sports betting, but the first time it made its case to the SCOTUS.

This time around the case centers around a 2014 New Jersey law partially repealing its own sports betting prohibition, by allowing the state’s casinos and racetracks to offer sports wagering.

The sports leagues – the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB – banded together to challenge the law used that power to challenge New Jersey’s law in court as illegal under the ban.

As Dustin Gouker wrote at Legal Sports Report:

“New Jersey is arguing that PASPA is unconstitutional, in that it commandeers states into acting on the federal government’s behalf.

“While the state is using the law to offer sports betting, legal analysts believe the case could have potentially wide-ranging implications for states’ rights.”

For a deeper dive into the history of the case, check out Legal Sports Report.

What happened today?

The two lead attorneys in the case are Ted Olson (representing NJ) and Paul Clement (representing the leagues). Both men are among the most highly respected trial attorneys in the US. Neither are strangers to high-profile cases or the Supreme Court either

The attorneys presented oral arguments today, with the Supreme Court Justices peppering them with questions.

But, as gaming lawyer Michael Mock explained on Twitter, the oral arguments are actually unlikely to sway any of the justices. It will only provide glimpses at the justices’ thoughts on the case.

Observer reactions to PASPA arguments

Here’s what the people inside the courtroom on Monday had to say.

Additionally, here is Legal Sports Report analysis of today’s arguments. Gouker was one of the reporters in court this morning.

Did we learn anything today?

The court’s decision isn’t expected until the spring, so what we got today were clues into the justices’ trains of thought.

Judging by the reactions of observers, it’s the conservative justices that are most likely to side with New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the progressive justices seemed to side with the leagues.

The swing votes will likely come from Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer.

The general mood was a good sign for New Jersey’s chances.

That said, any SCOTUS watcher will caution that a justice’s line of questioning aren’t always a good indication of how they are leaning.

Photo by bakdc /

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Steve Ruddock

Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.

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