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The Lede. Betting on Sports, and on the 10th Amendment

The Lede, Monday, May 14, 2018
By David Royse

New York Design Week is going on. It’s also Blockchain Week – also in New York.

May Madness

What are the odds you’ll soon be able to put down some cash on the World Series or Super Bowl, or even a college football or basketball game, without having to go to Las Vegas?

Well, today, the odds got much better.

The Supreme Court ruled this morning that the federal government can’t require the states to outlaw sports betting. Congress could outlaw sports betting itself (don’t bet on that happening), but it can’t just say, ‘Hey we don’t want to make sports betting illegal nationwide, but we don’t want to let you states make it legal either.” The 6-3 decision today says the states can decide for themselves whether they want to allow betting on sports absent a federal law outlawing it.

I wrote a little more on the decision this morning. And here’s the opinion.

And you can wager that at least a couple states will move to join Nevada in allowing sports books, considering the revenue that could come with it. New Jersey almost certainly will – it already voted to allow sports gambling, but saw its effort held up by the court case that ended with today’s Scotus ruling.

New Jersey’s Monmouth Park race track says it hopes to be able to be taking sports bets within the next two weeks.

“I am thrilled to see the Supreme Court finally side with New Jersey and strike down the arbitrary ban on sports betting imposed by Congress decades ago,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the Legislature to enact a law authorizing and regulating sports betting in the very near future.”

Several state lawmakers and legislative committees are likely to quickly file bills to legalize sports betting. Among those most prominently mentioned as likely to act quickly, besides New Jersey, are Illinois and Iowa and Louisiana, where a bill was already filed this spring.

I’d like to get some side action on sanctuary cities and marijuana

While gamblers are looking at the decision as a preface to the ability to bet on sports lawyers are looking at it as a sort of federalism case study. So are people with other issues that are strongly agreed on in one area, but not nationwide.

There are a few states’ rights issues kind of in play right now that you may have heard about. One involves whether states can legalize marijuana, even though it remains illegal at the federal level and the federal government has said it reserves the right to enforce federal law on the matter even in states where it is legal.

Another involves so-called “sanctuary” cities or states, where local governments say they have no intention of helping enforce federal immigration law. While not helping enforce federal law is a policy issue, not one of law usually, the broader implication is that when local residents believe they know best, they should be able to live by their laws, not those imposed by Washington.

As USA Today wrote late last year about the sports betting case, “At its heart, New Jersey’s case is about the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which says the power of Congress is limited to specific enumerated powers and anything not on that list — which does not mention gambling — is the exclusive domain of the states.”

The Cato Institute said federalism, not sports gambling backers, won the case.

“Indeed, as important as Murphy v. NCAA is for the gaming industry, the reason this case was so closely watched is because of its implications on so many areas of policy that have revealed federal-state tensions of late,” Cato’s Ilya Shapiro wrote. “From environmental regulation to sanctuary cities, marijuana to guns, states are flexing their sovereign muscles in a way that strengthens our body politic. It’s insane to think that in a large, pluralistic country like the United States, so many decisions should be made one-size-fits-all in Washington. Federalism is good for red states and blue states alike.”

Advocates for states being able to set their own laws and policies on cannabis are likely already celebrating the sports betting decision – drawing the same parallel  on the clash between the feds and states. In fact, during oral arguments over the issue, Justice Sonia Sotomayor also noted it could affect the marijuana issue.

Alas, my own observation is that most people aren’t consistent in their beliefs on this issue – when they agree with their state or local government they tend to be in favor of states rights, when they don’t, they tend to look to the federal government to come in and set the state or city right.


The most interesting thing I read today that I never knew anything about:

A reader sent me a link today (thanks, Bill!) to a really fascinating story about the effort to find a synthetic substance to test things like medicines and medical implants for bacterial contamination. I had no idea that such a thing was needed, because I had no clue about the current way of testing for bacterial contamination. It’s also really interesting – it requires the milky, blue blood of horseshoe crabs.
Here’s the story from The Atlantic.

Taking Time To Live, More on Yale’s Class on How to Live Life

Another story about Yale’s popular class on living life 

Reunified Korea Would be “Beautiful” for Investors

Reunification of the two Koreas would provide new opportunities for investors, says emerging markets expert Mobius. CNBC


This startup wants to help new ISPs get off the ground to provide people with more alternatives for getting internet. TechCrunch

Has suspended 200 apps following Cambridge Analytica scandal. Washington Post.

Elon Musk
Has announced a major shake-up at Tesla. CNBC

Also interesting:

The jogging humanoid robot that is terrifying the internet

As always, I welcome your thoughts. @daveroyse on Twitter or dave.royse@ledetree.com

About David Royse

David Royse
David Royse is the Editor-in-Chief of Ledetree.com. He has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years, including stints with The Associated Press and The News Service of Florida. He enjoys writing about health and medical science, and hopeful stories about scientific breakthroughs and new technology.

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