Major sports leagues across the United States scrambled to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the law prohibiting sports betting, with most agreeing that the ruling will have a profound impact on the world of professional athletics.
The 6-3 decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) will allow states to begin regulating sports betting, if state legislatures choose to legalize that activity. The reactions from the leagues varied, but almost every response emphasized that the integrity of athletic competition was a primary concern.
NFL Calls for Federal Action
As the largest sports league in the United States – not to mention the one that attracts the most betting – the NFL could see the biggest impact in the wake of the decision. In a statement released soon after the ruling came down, the league emphasized that they would prioritize protecting their product above all else.
“The NFL’s longstanding and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our game remains absolute,” a spokesperson for the NFL said in a statement on Monday. “Congress has long recognized the potential harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events. Given that history, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting.”
Unlike the NFL, which largely sat on the sideline and avoided taking a strong stance on sports betting while the case was pending, both the NBA and Major League Baseball have shown support for legalized and regulated betting in recent years.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that he would prefer a federal solution rather than state-by-state regulation, something he reiterated in his comments on the decision.
“We remain in favor of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it, but we will remain active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures,” Silver said in a statement. “Regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority.”
Most Leagues Support Regulation
MLB released a statement that focused on their efforts to work with other stakeholders on smoothly implementing sports betting across the country.
“As each state considers whether to allow sports betting, we will continue to seek the proper protections for our sport, in partnership with other professional sports,” the league statement said. “We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators, and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”
Similar messages came from many other leagues and organizations. The PGA Tour reiterated that they supported regulation and that they “remain aligned with the NBA and MLB in this area.” MLS said they were “supportive” of the decision, while the NHL and NASCAR both said they will have to wait and see how the ruling impacts their competitions.
Predictably, there was one organization who was less enthusiastic about the ruling: the NCAA, which stood as one of the primary respondents in the Supreme Court case that overturned PASPA.
“While we are still reviewing the decision to understand the overall implications to college sports, we will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court,” read a statement from NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy.