Could legalized sports betting come to Ohio?

Anticipated U.S. Supreme Court ruling could become wild-card issue in 2018 Ohio election

The U.S. Supreme Court could toss a wild card into Ohio’s 2018 political sweepstakes. By mid-year, the court will rule on Christie v. NCAA, deciding if states can permit their citizens to wager on sports.

The case stems from New Jersey, where voters in 2011 amended the state constitution to authorize sports betting. In 2012, the legislature passed a law allowing sports betting at the state’s struggling casinos and racetracks.

That prompted the NCAA and four professional sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB — to file suit, arguing the New Jersey law violates federal law, specifically the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Dec. 4. While predicting court decisions is dicey, many legal analysts believe the court chose to hear the case because several justices question PASPA’s constitutionality. The sports leagues won at the district and appellate court levels.

Twenty states, including Ohio, filed an amicus brief supporting New Jersey’s position. They argue PASPA overextends the long-established meaning of the 10th Amendment’s supremacy clause on federal-state relations.

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