MGM Ready To Roll The Dice On $7 Million NJ Sportsbook If SCOTUS Fells PASPA

[toc]New Jersey’s sports betting case will be heard by the highest court in the land on Dec. 4. Meanwhile, the state’s casinos are already betting New Jersey will score a win.

MGM International announced it’s beginning construction on a sportsbook at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, a full six months before most experts believe the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will rule on the matter.

MGM’s confidence indicates overwhelming sentiments among sports betting aficionados and the American public that SCOTUS will rule in favor of New Jersey’s bid to allow sports gambling. That move would end the legislation that has blocked sports betting in all but four states for the past 25 years: the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

Why the NJ sports betting case and PASPA are linked

PASPA is at the center of New Jersey’s case because the legislation essentially froze every state’s sports betting laws as they stood in 1993. At that time, only four states had sports betting; PASPA kept it that way.

New Jersey is now arguing PASPA violates the 10th Amendment’s anti-commandeering principle. Various landmark events over the past year seem to point to the fact that SCOTUS will rule in favor of New Jersey.

MGM not alone in expecting PASPA’s reversal

While it’s not a certainty, gaming executives treated PASPA’s demise as a foregone conclusion at the Sports Betting USA Conference earlier this month.

MGM announced on the second day of the two-day conference it will build its $7 million NJ sportsbook. In the event that SCOTUS rules against New Jersey, the space will likely function as a sports bar.

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WaPo survey says America doesn’t mind sports betting legalization

When PASPA came to life, its supporters argued that barring states from introducing legalized sports betting would curb the growth of illegal sports betting.

Fifty-six percent of Americans opposed sports betting in 1993. However, earlier this year the Washington Post published the results of a survey that showed, for the first time since PASPA, more of the American public is in favor of sports betting than against: 55 to 33 percent.

Another notable voice in the PASPA debate has been Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, who told members of the press the United States is in the “dark ages” when it comes to sports betting.

Image by Luke H. Gordon / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

About the Author

Warren Jones

A three-time winner of the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest, Warren Jones works as a freelance writer with a focus on the NJ online gambling and online casino industry. He writes for a number of publications, including Bespoke Post, Our Amazing Norway, Barcelona Metropolitan, Snooth, and the Villages Daily Sun.