will contain information regarding the recent Supreme Court case, Christie v.
NCAA. It will be separated into three different sections to clearly and
concisely outline the key points of the case. The three sections will cover the
following topics: a summary of the overall case, the arguments for and against
the case, and the proponents and opponents of the case.
#1: GENERAL OVERVIEW OF CHRISTIE V. NCAA
In 1992, the government enacted a
federal law entitled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act
(PASPA), which made it illegal for states to authorize betting on sports. A
special exception was made for New Jersey that allowed its citizens to legally bet
on sports, on the condition that the state government had to set up a program in
accordance to PASPA one year after it went into effect.
went into effect, and after a year New Jersey had still not set up a program. However,
almost 20 years after PASPA was created, New Jersey held a court hearing to
consider allowing betting on sports. In 2012, the National Collegiate Athletic
Association (NCAA) and the four major American sports leagues took the law to
the federal court, claiming that it violated PASPA.
court, the state of New Jersey countered the sports organizations by stating
that PASPA violates the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution. The Tenth
Amendment states, “the powers not delegated to the United States by the
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
respectively, or to the people.”
The lower courts rejected this
claim, and the state of New Jersey lost. Soon after, the state passed a new law
that repealed the prohibition of betting on sports. Once again, New Jersey was
taken to court for allowing sports betting, and the courts ruled in favor of
the NCAA for a second time.
#2: ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE LEGALITY OF SPORTS BETTING
The main argument in favor of a
Supreme Court decision favoring New Jersey centers on the constitutionality of
PASPA. The governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, claims that the federal law
violates the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution. The New Jersey law only
repealed the prohibition of sports betting, and they claim that the federal law
is commandeering the state into acting under the federal government’s
authority. New Jersey argues that under the Tenth Amendment, the federal
government cannot force the state to enact a prohibition of sports betting.
Thus, the government cannot ban New Jersey’s repeal the prohibition of betting
On the other hand, those who are
against a Supreme Court decision in favor of New Jersey argue that PASPA in no
way goes against the Constitution. They declared the decision made by the
federal circuit court as a “common sense decision.” Their argument centers
around the fact the federal law is not forcing any of the states to do something.
The law is only prohibiting the states from doing an action, which the federal
circuit court explains does not “commandeer” any of the state’s resources.
#3: PROPONENETS AND OPPONENTS OF THE CASE
The main proponents of Christie v.
NCAA are the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie and the NJTHA. The main
reason for why both Christie and the NJTHA support New Jersey’s law and an
“unconstitutional” finding centers on money. Obviously, the state of New Jersey
could see massive profits, especially in casinos, if betting on sports became
legal. Also, the NJHTA believes that they could use these funds to help support
their racetrack that is in a financial crisis.
The main opponents of the case
include the NCAA and the four major sports leagues, the NBA, the NFL, the MLB,
and the NHL. The ultimate reason as to why they oppose New Jersey’s law focuses
on the scandals that could ensue if sports betting was legal. These large
sports entities are fearful of the negative impacts that sports betting could
have on student athletes and colleges. They want to keep betting out of sports
to decrease the possibility of corruption that might occur if it was legal.