Gambling Law Expert I Nelson Rose: Dozen States with Legal Sports Betting by “Next Year”

Long time gambling law author Professor I. Nelson Rose has penned a column expressing optimism that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of New Jersey and strike down the federal prohibition of sports betting. What’s more, Professor Rose believes “we will have a dozen states with legal, regulated sports betting by next year.”

In a column published last weekend, Professor Rose explained the major legal arguments being put forth by each side in the New Jersey sports betting case. The case, which has reached the Supreme Court and now awaits a decision, originates from a New Jersey effort to repeal its own ban on sports betting.

A federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) stands in the way, and that is the law New Jersey is challenging as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments back in December and is expected to issue a decision within the next few months.

Professor Rose’s article provides one of the most comprehensive yet succinct replays of what happened during December’s oral arguments. You can see the full article for all the details, but generally what the argument boils down to is whether or not it is constitutional for the federal government to force New Jersey to enforce a prohibition the state does not want to enforce.

New Jersey wants to permit local casinos and racetracks to offer legal sports betting. The NCAA and professional sports leagues have sued to stop that from happening. Multiple lower courts have ruled against New Jersey and in favor of PASPA, but now many are optimistic that the Supreme Court will finally give New Jersey a win.

Professor I. Nelson Rose has thrown his hat in with the optimists. At the end of his column, he states that it is his belief that “at least five and perhaps six or more” Justices will rule in favor of New Jersey. In that case, every state in the USA will be able to prohibit or regulate sports betting as it sees fit.

What’s more, Professor Rose ended his article with a bold prediction:

“Which means we will have a dozen states with legal, regulated sports betting by next year.”

Professor Rose is far from the first person to express optimism regarding New Jersey’s odds, but his opinion holds greater weight than most. The man has been studying and writing about gaming law for longer than some of our readers have been alive. He published his first book titled Gambling and the Law way back in 1986 and still teaches college courses on gaming law to this day.

Having said all that, Nelson I. Rose did state in his article that it is difficult to predict Supreme Court decisions based only on oral arguments. However, he did say it is “clear that at least six Justices don’t like PASPA.” In any case, New Jersey’s odds have increased significantly since the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

We should have an answer by this summer. Some people were hoping for a ruling earlier this week, but Professor Rose predicted on Twitter that the ruling will come down in April at the earliest: