When is the US Supreme Court going to rule in the New Jersey sports betting case? That’s really anyone’s guess.
But the new cottage industry, at least in the sports betting world, is trying to guess when SCOTUS will issue its decision in Christie vs. NCAA (now Murphy vs. NCAA, since the state has a new governor). While the speculation on what they’ll rule has already been written about (a lot), we’ve moved onto the when. The case involves the constitutionality of the federal sports betting ban, PASPA.
When the nation’s highest court announced it would be issuing decisions on Wednesday morning, many people believed (or wanted to believe) the decision was being handed down then. But the morning came and went, and New Jersey was left on the sidelines.
So when will it be? Like sports betting itself, we’re trying to figure out an outcome with imperfect information.
The logistics of the SCOTUS decision
It’s been about two and a half months since oral arguments took place, and we’re now in the window for when an opinion would usually be issued. After all, a case heard on the same day as Christie vs. NCAA — Dec. 4 — got its decision on Wednesday.
There’s not much to read into that for our purposes, other than that’s a typical amount of time from oral argument to decision.
Beyond that, we know SCOTUS will officially issue opinions (though not which ones) on these dates:
- March 5
- April 2
- April 30
- May 14
- May 21
- May 29
- June 4
- June 11
- June 18
- June 29
But even that’s an incomplete list.
Guessing on the when for sports betting
ESPN and Legal Sports Report contributor Ryan Rodenberg did his best to handicap when we’d see a ruling. His best guess is March or April. Even that’s just an educated guess based on his knowledge of the court.
And after today’s vigil for a possible ruling was over this morning, an attorney who follows the case offered this:
In addition to releasing decisions on non-argument days the Court often releases decisions on argument days. So there could be more releases next week, with three argument days scheduled. There's really no way to predict when we'll get the #sportsbetting decision though.
— Christopher Soriano (@CLSoriano) February 21, 2018
The bottom line is: We won’t know when we’ll have the opinion until it is actually staring us in the face.
While you can’t bet on the “when” anywhere (that I know of), you can bet on the content of the decision — whether NJ wins or not — at some offshore sportsbooks. Admittedly, placing wagers on the outcome of a sports betting case on a site that is operating illegally in the US is pretty funny/sad.
In the meantime, states move forward
While we’re all waiting for a ruling on sports wagering, not everyone is just sitting on their hands.
More than a dozen states have introduced new sports betting legislation — often multiple bills — this year. West Virginia, for its part, moved a bill through the state Senate on Tuesday. It’s one of several states lining up to be ready to launch sports betting if the federal ban is struck down, because they don’t want to fall behind other states.
Pennsylvania and New York are already poised to join NJ, with laws already on the books. Even the NBA and Major League Baseball are lobbying in states, probably because they believe they will lose in SCOTUS.
While the wait goes on for a sports betting decision, plenty is still going on to get for the world it may create.