US Supreme Court Ends Ban on Sports Betting

15 May, 2018

The United States Supreme Court on Monday ended a 26-year ban on betting on professional and college sports.

The court's decision permits state officials to pass laws permitting books to open on sports such as football, basketball, baseball and other games.

In the coming months, those officials will also consider where bets can be placed: casinos, horse racing tracks, betting centers, stadiums, online, or from mobile phones.

Supporters of the decision said legal betting could sharply increase income for states and the gambling industry. And they pointed out illegal sports betting is common. The American Gaming Association reported that Americans already place about $150 billion a year on bets.

Opponents of the decision include major sports groups, such as the National Football League. Those groups said expanding legal gambling on sports could hurt the integrity of the games. In other words, they worry that players or others would try to influence the outcome of the games for financial gain.

Men watch horse racing on an array of screen at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2018.
Men watch horse racing on an array of screen at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2018.

The president of an organization that helps people addicted to gambling also expressed concern. Marlene Warner leads the National Council on Problem Gambling. She said the ruling "will likely increase gambling participation and gambling problems unless steps are taken to minimize harm."

But given Monday's ruling, both the sports groups and the National Council on Problem Gambling have suggested that some of the income from legal betting go toward supporting their interests.

Three Supreme Court justices also disagreed with the ruling. They said parts of the original law were worth keeping.

But the majority of justices said the issue was not so much sports or betting, but states' rights. They said states should not be forced to adopt a federal regulation system – an argument that may later be used in cases related to immigration laws and marijuana restrictions.

I'm Kelly Jean Kelly.

The Associated Press reported this story. Kelly Jean Kelly adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

stadiumn. a very large usually roofless building that has a large open area surrounded by many rows of seats and that is used for sports events, concerts, etc.

gamblingn. the practice or activity of betting money : the practice of risking money in a game or bet

integrityn. the quality of being honest and fair

minimizev. to make something bad or not wanted as small as possible