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Sports wagering is a freedom, not just a source of state revenue

17 May 2018

The Supreme Court of the U.S. has struck down a federal law that bars gambling on basketball, baseball, football and other sports as well in most of the states, opening the door to legalizing the estimated $150 billion in illegal wagers on professional and amateur sports that Americans make every year. But the ruling was not quite the vindication of state sovereignty that it appeared to be.

Travis Wussow, general counsel and vice president for public policy at ERLC, told the Baptist Press that the decision will lead to a slippery slope of harm to society.

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Oklahoma lawmakers came close to doing it this session with a House Bill, allowing ball and dice games at casinos.

"Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own". Originally, it included a provision to legalize sports wagering, but it was removed.

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All four major US professional sports leagues, the NCAA and the federal government had urged the court to uphold the federal law.

A LifeWay Research study released in 2016 reported 49 percent of Americans said sports gambling should not be legalized in the country, while 40 percent thought it should.

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Joining Alito in the majority were Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch. Supporters say the ruling will allow states to collect more tax revenues from gaming and will eliminate the need for most illegal gambling operations. That provision unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do. Stephen Breyer issued an opinion that concurred in part and dissented in part.

Sports wagering is a freedom, not just a source of state revenue