US rul­ing opens way for states-wide sports bet­ting

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

The US Supreme Court has up­held a law that could al­low states across the coun­try to le­galise sports bet­ting.

It en­dorsed a 2014 state rul­ing in New Jer­sey which per­mits sports bet­ting in casi­nos and at horse race tracks.

The news sent the share prices of gambling stocks in the US and UK surg­ing, in­clud­ing Bri­tain’s Wil­liam Hill and Paddy Power Bet­fair.

Sev­eral ma­jor US sports bodies had op­posed the move, in­clud­ing the National Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

The National Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion said it was a threat to the “in­tegrity of ath­letic com­pe­ti­tion”.

How­ever, Jus­tice Sa­muel Al­ito wrote on be­half of the Supreme Court: “The le­gal­i­sa­tion of sports gambling re­quires an im­por­tant pol­icy choice, but the choice is not ours to make.

“Congress can reg­u­late sports gambling di­rectly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”

Shares in UK-based book­mak­ers jumped on the rul­ing. Paddy Power Bet­fair’s share price rose 10.5%, 888 Hold­ings jumped 14%, Wil­liam Hill’s stock gained 9.4% and GVC Hold­ings ral­lied 6%.

The Supreme Court de­ci­sion strikes down a 1992 fed­eral law that pro­hib­ited sports bet­ting in most states.

It is only al­lowed in states such as Nevada, home to Las Ve­gas.

In the US, shares in Churchill Downs, which owns horse race tracks and casi­nos rose by 5.73%.

But Wynn Re­sorts, the Nevada-based ho­tels and casino op­er­a­tor, saw its share price fall by 2% on the prospect of com­pe­ti­tion from new en­trants to sports bet­ting.

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