On September 5, 2019, the National Football League (NFL) started its season amid a changing legal landscape in sports law (NFL). On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n (Murphy, 30-31)[1]. Prior to being struck down, PASPA prohibited states from authorizing a professional or amateur sports betting scheme and made it “unlawful” for a person to be employed by such a betting scheme (Id. at 4-5). Since the Supreme Court decided Murphy, eighteen states have passed legalization legislation, and another twenty-five more have proposed legislation (USA Today; CBS). If each of the 50 states were to legalize sports gambling, “annual revenue could hit $15.8 billion in five years” (Morning Consult). Just one year after PASPA was struck down, we can already see some of its impacts on sports leagues and businesses.

This three-part series will examine the Murphy decision and its effect on gambling laws, sports franchises, and businesses.

Part I discusses New Jersey’s intricate constitutional argument that brought down PASPA and briefly examines the various ways in which state governments reacted. Part II analyzes how businesses and sports leagues approach legalization and how the legislation transformed or may continue to transform the sports and gambling industry. Part III evaluates unanswered or emerging legal questions.

[1] All citations to Murphy reference the Opinion of the Court.