Supreme Court strikes down sports gambling ban, legalized sports betting coming soon

58 Comments

The United States Supreme Court today struck down a law that outlawed sports gambling in nearly every state. The ruling will result in legalized gambling all over the United States. You can read the decision here.

The law was known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). Only Nevada — which had legal sports gambling before its passage and was grandfathered in — was exempt. The State of New Jersey wanted to legalize sports gambling too and challenged it as unconstitutional, bringing suit in 2009. The lawsuit claimed, among other things, that PASPA unconstitutionally discriminated among the states. While I have not read the Supreme Court’s decision on this yet, that claim is pretty facially compelling, as is the argument that regulation of gambling is a state matter pursuant to the Tenth Amendment. I’m not a big fan of gambling, and I rarely agree with the current court’s view of things, but PASPA always felt like Federal overreach to me. The decision is not surprising and, I suspect correct on the merits in an absolute sense.

What this means now: all states who want to offer legalized sports gambling to the public will pass laws allowing that to happen one way or another. As we’ve noted here several times in recent months, that effort has long been underway, complicated in part by a frankly ridiculous lobbying effort by the sports leagues, including Major League Baseball. While at first they opposed legalized sports betting, in the past year or so it has dawned on them that they can maybe make some money off of this, so they’ve been pressuring states to give them a cut of the action. As of yet no state has agreed to do so because, um, what possible basis does Rob Manfred and the other commissioners have to claim that cut? My discussion of that can be read here, here and here.

Obviously there is and long has been an illegal sports gambling industry, greatly facilitated by the Internet and offshore businesses running the book. That will no doubt continue, if for no other reason, than any state regulated gambling operation will involve hoops, regulations and costs that make black market options desirable. If you’re betting on 15 games a day, you probably already have plenty of options. For those who find themselves in casinos or race tracks from time to time, however, and simply want to place a bet here or there, you’ll soon be able to do so without traveling to Nevada.

Brewers hold off the Dodgers to force Game 7 of the NLCS

Brewers
Getty Images
3 Comments

Down 3-2 in the NLCS, the Brewers faced a must-win situation during Game 6 on Friday. Any residual uncertainty they might have felt about their chances of extending the series was all but resolved in the first inning, however, when Jesús Aguilar, Mike Moustakas, and Erik Kratz combined for a four-run spread to take an early lead. Powered by those early-game RBI, as well as masterful performances from Wade Miley, Corey Knebel, and Corbin Burnes, the club surged to a 7-2 win to pull even with the Dodgers and force a Game 7 tiebreaker.

Left-hander Wade Miley trounced the Dodgers in 4 1/3 innings of two-run, four-strikeout ball. He was bested by David Freese in the very first at-bat of the night, which culminated with a 402-footer to right field to put Los Angeles on the board, 1-0. After a few scoreless innings from the Dodgers, Freese returned to torment Miley in the top of the fifth, this time with an RBI double that narrowed the Brewers’ advantage from four runs to three.

Things didn’t go nearly as smoothly for opposing lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. In the bottom of the first inning, Ryu allowed a leadoff single to Lorenzo Cain, followed by a four-pitch walk to Ryan Braun. Jesús Aguilar came up to bat with two out and two on, then smacked a two-RBI line drive double to right field. Moustakas and Kratz went back-to-back-to-back with Aguilar, putting up another three runs on an RBI double and single, respectively.

The Brewers kept rolling in the second inning. Christian Yelich and Braun each collected a double off of Ryu, bringing Milwaukee’s lead to 5-1 over Los Angeles. Braun advanced to third on a Travis Shaw groundout, but with Aguilar up to bat, Ryu wasn’t going to chance a repeat of the Dodgers’ first-inning debacle. He intentionally walked Aguilar, then whiffed Moustakas on three straight fastballs to cap the inning.

By the time both Miley and Ryu were forced from the mound, the Brewers stood 5-2 above their opponents. Right-hander Corey Knebel worked a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, striking out Manny Machado to eliminate another potential rally from the Dodgers in the fifth inning and retiring all four batters in the sixth (save for Joc Pederson, who reached base after taking a 96.3-MPH fastball to the wrist). The righty received another significant opportunity to do some damage against the Dodgers in the bottom of the fifth, when he came up to bat for the first time in his professional career with the bases loaded and two outs… but saw just four pitches before swinging at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

After Ryu’s unexpected departure in the third, Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts cycled through five pitchers — Julio Urías, Alex Wood, Dylan Floro, Caleb Ferguson, and Kenta Maeda — in an attempt to squelch the Brewers’ comeback. The bullpen combined for four consecutive scoreless frames, but was ultimately foiled in the seventh, when, with runners on second and third and two outs, a wild pitch from Maeda ricocheted off the front of home plate and allowed Aguilar to plate yet another insurance run. Still not content with a two-hit, two-RBI performance, Aguilar came back in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single — only moments after a failed double play that would have ended the inning — to bring the Brewers to a cushy 7-2 advantage as they entered the ninth.

No similar last-minute rallies awaited the Dodgers there. Rookie right-hander Corbin Burnes orchestrated another flawless 1-2-3 inning in the ninth, retiring Pederson and Puig with consecutive strikeouts and inducing a game-inning, series-extending pop-up from Matt Kemp to wrap the win.

Game 7 is set for 8:09 PM EDT on Saturday. The starters for both clubs have yet to be announced.