An article came out in the Washington post on a recent supreme court decision to strike down part of the federal law which bans gambling on sports. The law banned gambling everywhere except in Nevada because I guess there was already a large business for it in Las Vegas and they didn’t want to disrupt the mafia there when it was first passed. Or maybe it was meant to give them a monopoly, I really don’t know. New Jersey also has casinos, however, and they had been fighting this for at least several years and have managed to convince the supreme court to strike down at least part of the law:
“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. — coincidentally, the court’s preeminent baseball fan — wrote for the majority.
“Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”
[Justice] Ginsburg said there is no doubt “that Congress has power to regulate gambling on a nationwide basis, authority Congress exercised in PASPA.”
I am not a lawyer or a politician, but I take this to mean that the law required states to actually investigate and enforce the law rather than use employees of the federal government to do it directly. More on that in a second… [Anyone who understands this better, please comment and let me know.]
Overall, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, per patchwork, I believe polities are able to be governed or govern themselves when the unit size is smaller. By returning this function from the federal government to the states, America very slightly approximates the patchwork a little better. This is a good thing.
However, gambling can very easily become a vice for many people and is often enough a racket run by thugs. This is definitely not a norm that should be encouraged. However, again, an absolute prohibition on vice can end up having a lot of unintended consequences. Certainly, it encourages sleazy black-markets and organized crime. In a perfect (libertarian) utopia, the best strategy is to not abridge freedom with extra laws and successfully encourage people to make the right decision and not succumb to vice. With some human groups or populations, something like that might even get close to working. I have gambled on rare occasions before without any ill effects which I can see. I have met a person or two who have wasted fortunes on it. In diverse America, it is a noble, yet foolish, pipe dream to expect everyone to make wise decisions. There will be negative social consequences to allowing a wild west on this issue. How bad, I am not sure. Maybe not that bad. If so, the less regulation the better. If pretty bad, then a state’s proper function is to curtail it to an extent.
Either way, it seems likely that the federal government will either come up with a replacement law quickly, or the states will enact their own laws to take up the slack. From my perspective, letting cities or states decide for themselves would be preferable since locals actually have more leverage on it. Some local populations might not have much of a problem with it being completely legalized.
Another thing to consider about this, though, is that this potentially gives a new lease on life to organizations like the NFL, who have been struggling as a result of SJW infiltration. Fans have been leaving in droves due to disgust with leftists, but legal gambling potentially lets these converged organizations recoup the lost profits with fewer fans and even start drawing them back. More circuses and more leftism could only result from this. Not a pleasant thought for a reactionary.
I doubt the above has much political impact on the judges’ decision, although it could have. You never know. There is actually something much more worrying about it which doesn’t seem related at first.
New Jersey voters in 2011 approved a referendum proposal to allow sports betting. Christie signed a law authorizing it and dared the federal government to “try to stop us.”
Well, maybe people in New Jersey should be able to decide what they can or can not do. This does seem like federal over-reach. A case of a local population asserting itself against a distent bureacracy. Sounds romantic.
The majority’s rationale — that Congress may not commandeer states to “enact or enforce a federal regulatory program,” in Alito’s words — could resonate in other areas. Immigration laws and marijuana restrictions were issues raised in oral arguments.
It seems this may have been an attempt by judges to indirectly derail Trump’s (insufficient) crackdown on immigration by encouraging states to disregard direct enforcemnt of federal law. If states don’t have to directly enforce federal sports betting laws, then they probably don’t have to directly enforce federal immigration law. And many states probably won’t. This will likely make stopping immigration much, much harder to do in practice if states can’t be depended on to help out. In this case, I would have to say all those libertarian sympathies have to be thrown out. White Americans can’t order their destiny when overrun by foreigners. This is, in my opinion, the most overriding issue of our time. If local policies can stop it, then do that, if federal policies can stop it, then do that. Principles don’t matter for a people who are displaced, diminished and ultimately killed off.