Supreme Court Allows Sports-Betting – What does it Mean for Frisco?
On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the provisions of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) restricting states from allowing sports betting is unconstitutional. It will be a popular decision in the sense that it will make headlines around the country. Various angles of the holding could be written in multiple sections of the daily newspaper. It appeared on every television set during the local and national news broadcasts. And, one can bet, it will be among the hottest topics debated by the candidates in Texas’ next election season.
The issue in Murphy v. NCAA was whether PASPA constituted anticommandeering (or, violated the 10th Amendment). In other words, did it violate the State’s rights to govern themselves. As stated above, the Court held that the PASPA violated the 10th Amendment by disallowing the States to govern themselves. Among other things, the statute specifically disallowed states from sponsoring, operating, advertising, promoting, licensing, or authorizing a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based on competitive sporting events.
For residents of Frisco, Texas, the question is whether s/he can now bet on sports. It is important to note that striking PASPA did not legalize gambling in Texas. Although certain Bingo, horse racing, and charitable raffle activities may be legal, most gambling remains illegal in Texas, including sports-betting. In fact, Texas Penal Code § 47.02(a)(1) states specifically, “[A] person commits an offense if he makes a bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest or on the performance of a participant in a game or contest,” although it is a defense if one is in their home, the odds are even, and s/he receives no economic benefit other than personal winnings, not that I encourage you to gamble or test that defense. Tex. Pen. Code § 47.02(b). Further, I am not a criminal attorney.
So, will sports betting be allowed in your local Frisco bar anytime soon? I doubt it. Although one can readily expect lobbies to amp the message on commercials and web-ads, the legislators in Austin would first have to make sports-betting legal in Texas. Further, even if the Texas legislature allowed it, the Frisco City Council could restrict gambling activities through zoning statutes and possibly city ordinances. And, Frisco being the family-friendly place it is, it would be unlikely to pass anytime soon.
Expect, though, for this to be a hot topic in future local elections, especially after Texas removes the restrictions of sports-betting, whenever that may be.
Robert Newton is an attorney in Frisco, Texas, that practices in the areas of real estate, business, and estate planning.