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Ifrah Law Article on SCOTUS Sports Betting Decision in George Washington Law Review
May 30, 2018

Ifrah Law Article on SCOTUS Sports Betting Decision in George Washington Law Review

By: Jeff Ifrah and David S. Yellin

In their recent article published in the George Washington Law Review, firm founder Jeff Ifrah and associate David Yellin describe the three immediate effects of the groundbreaking Supreme Court decision in Murphy v. NCAA: “this ruling immediately legalizes sports betting in New Jersey, opens up a logjam that states, casinos, and foreign sportsbooks have been hoping to break for years, and will likely lead to a rush to legalize sports betting in many states that already have casino gambling.”

Despite a history of conflicted views on gambling in this country, the Supreme Court avoided moral judgments in coming to its decision and relied  instead on the constitutional doctrine of anti-commandeering: in other words, federal laws cannot require states to take actions implementing federal policy. As Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion, “Legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”

Ifrah and Yellin’s piece analyzes the legal argument behind the decision and what state legislatures may now expect to face in the coming months. They predict that regulations may be more complex than expected because of the rapid rise in online betting, requiring innovative approaches such as those demonstrated in pending bills in New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.