Mississippi joins fight for legal sports betting

Geoff Pender , The Clarion-Ledger 4:50 p.m. CST November 17, 2016
Mississippi and four other states have joined New Jersey’s fight to legalize
sports betting in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Attorney General Jim Hood signed onto the brief submitted by West Virginia
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, as did the attorneys general of Arizona,
Louisiana and Wisconsin. New Jersey in October appealed a lower court’s
ruling to the Supreme Court. The American Gaming Association also joined.
A Hood spokeswoman on Thursday said: “We joined other states in this
amicus brief to ensure the interests of the states were protected under the
Tenth Amendment. Whether a state permits legalized sports wagering is a
question for that state’s legislature and not the federal government.”
This is the second time New Jersey has appealed to the nation’s high court
in its long-running battle against the NCAA and professional sports leagues
in its efforts to have legal sports betting at casinos and race tracks. The
Supreme Court declined to hear New Jersey’s appeal in 2014.
The brief Mississippi joined questions whether the federal Professional and
Amateur Sports Protection Act unfairly prohibits states — other than
Nevada and several others “exempted” — from repealing existing laws
banning sports wagering. This, the brief says, is in violation of the Tenth
Whether states want to have sports betting or not, the brief says, the lower
court’s decision in the New Jersey case “raises serious federalism concerns
for all states” and “…threatens the balance of power between the states and
the federal government.”
RELATED: Gov. Bryant says he’s open to lottery discussion
Hood — considered a potential candidate for governor in 2019 — has
mentioned a state lottery and a tax on fantasy sports betting as potential
ways to increase state revenue.
Gov. Phil Bryant has said he is open to discussion of a lottery, but
apparently is not so open to sports betting.
Bryant spokesman Clay Chandler said: “As he has said before, Gov. Bryant
opposes any expansion of gaming in Mississippi beyond current statutory
Contact Geoff Pender at 601-961-7266 or gpender@jackson.gannett.com.
Follow @GeoffPender on Twitter.