Matzie: Supreme Court clears the way for sports betting in state’s casinos

HARRISBURG, May 14 – A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court will clear the way for Pennsylvania’s casinos to offer sports betting, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today. Matzie worked to ensure that language from his sports-betting bill was included in gaming legislation Gov. Wolf signed last year so that the state would be competitively positioned to offer sports betting if and when it became legal.

“It only took us to 2018 to do what should have been legal for years.” Matzie said. “I believed when I first introduced this language last year that the commonwealth was in a good position to regulate sports betting in all forms and that we needed to put the cart before the horse and be ready. With the inclusion of my language and some tweaks to the gaming bill last year, Pennsylvania is ready.”

The Supreme Court’s decision struck down a 1992 federal law that barred state-authorized sports betting, with a few exceptions. New Jersey challenged the law, arguing that Congress overstepped its authority in enacting it. The high court agreed, holding that although Congress has the authority to regulate sports gambling directly, if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.

Matzie said that given the prevalence and popularity of sports betting, the court’s decision is likely to generate great business for the state’s casinos, and he is encouraged that his efforts have helped Pennsylvania prepare for the opportunity.

“Now that we have legislation in place, the court’s decision will enable the commonwealth to step in and regulate a multi-billion-dollar industry that already exists. It’s an amazing opportunity that will bring needed tax revenue and open the door to new jobs for hardworking Pennsylvanians.”

Matzie added that he expects the state Gaming Control Board soon will be accepting petitions from licensed casinos and that there will be a push to have regulations in place before the start of 2018 football season.