Will Minnesota Legalize Sports Gambling?

Vikings vs. Packers TCF Bank Stadium. Photo by Runner1928. (CC-BY-SA 1.0)

WASHINGTON – With the United States Supreme Court granting New Jersey’s appeal regarding the legalization of sports gambling, one Minnesota lawmaker hopes this will allow other states to cash in on the industry as well.

Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) released a statement Wednesday lauding the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case.

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear New Jersey’s appeal to legalize sport gambling in their state,” Garofalo said in the release. “It is time for Minnesota’s sports gambling laws to move out of the caveman era and into the 21st century. Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans already wager on sports. In the 2018 legislative session, I promise to introduce legislation that will regulate and legalize sports gambling in Minnesota.”

Garofalo hopes that the Supreme Court will rule for New Jersey, having granted certiorari on Tuesday.

New Jersey passed a law in 2012 which would have legalized sports gambling. The NCAA, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL sued under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA,) reports ESPN. The PASPA restricted sports gambling to Nevada and a few other states.

New Jersey is arguing that this is an unconstitutional violation of a states’ rights to regulate businesses conducted within their own borders.

In the Supreme Court’s letter granting certiori, the court notes that a previous case, New York v. United States (1992), held that “the Constitution’s fundamental federal structure does not permit Congress to ‘directly . . . compel the States to require or prohibit [certain] acts.’”

The Supreme Court will now decide the question of if the PASPA is an impermissible infringement upon states’ regulatory powers by the federal government. The Court seems set to decide this through the prism of New York v. United States (1992.)

For his part, Garofalo seems quite eager to get to work setting up Minnesota to get a cut of the action.

“I look forward to working on smart regulations with the tribal casinos of our state, government regulators and those citizens interested in wagering on professional sports,” continued Garofalo. “Modernizing these laws will move these activities away from underground economy where citizens have few protections and into a safe, regulated business environment.”

Anders Koskinen