CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Updated: 5/14/2018
The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a federal law prohibiting gambling on sports-including Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NFL
That ruling clears the way for legal sports betting in West Virginia.
A bill approved in this year's legislative session-and signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice-legalized sports betting at the state's five casinos, in the event the law was struck down.
The national law, approved in 1992, barred state-authorized sports betting in every state but Nevada.
A local lawmaker believes the high court's ruling was inevitable. But, nonetheless, he's disappointed by it.
"Let's base our economy on the old-fashioned values of hard work, thrift, savings, low taxes and low spending," said Sen. Mike Azinger (R_Wood County). "We need a manufacturing base, a base of small business, growth. That's what we need in West Virginia, not more betting."
Governors of several states said new revenues from sports betting will be good for their budgets.
But Brad Humphreys, Professor of Economics at West Virginia University, questions their optimism.
The size of these revenues is difficult to estimate without concrete information on how much will be bet in a state," Humpreys said in a statement released by WVU. "In addition, sports leagues have already begun pushing for a share of any sports betting revenues. Several leagues lobbied state legislatures for a 1% ‘integrity fee’ to help offset any external costs to leagues, in terms of monitoring games for fixing and educating players about the dangers of gambling. Clearly, this decision will alter the sports betting landscape in many ways.”
The high court's decision came in a case from New Jersey, which for years has fought to legalize gabling on sports at casinos and racetracks in the Garden State.
Gov. Jim Justice has signed a bill to legalize sports betting at the state's five casinos in the event that a U.S. Supreme Court case leads to the repeal of a nationwide ban.
It would allow sports betting at West Virginia licensed casinos and on Lottery Commission-approved mobile device applications.
The state would collect 10 percent of gross receipts. Bettors would have to be at least 21.
Later this year, the court will decide New Jersey's challenge to a law banning sports betting in most states.
Supporters say it will create jobs and tax revenues and bring sports betting into the open.
Critics say it will increase gambling and addictions and could compromise integrity of sporting events.
Justice says he's asked the Legislature to consider partnering with major sports leagues.
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