Patriots

Supreme Court ruling makes sports betting a possibility nationwide

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AP Photo

Supreme Court ruling makes sports betting a possibility nationwide

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go-ahead for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states.

The justices voted 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 law that forbade state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions. It made Nevada the only state where a person could wager on the results of a single game. Many states have hoped their cut of legalized sports gambling could help solve budget problems. Stock prices for casino operators and equipment makers surged after the ruling was announced.

The ruling, in a case from New Jersey, creates an opening to bring an activity out of the shadows that many Americans already see as a mainstream hobby. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports each year, and one research firm estimated before the ruling that if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court, “The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decided whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. Ginsburg wrote for the three that when a portion of a law violates the Constitution, the court “ordinarily engages in a salvage rather than a demolition operation,” preserving what it can. She said that instead of using a “scalpel to trim the statute” her colleagues used “an axe” to cut the remainder down. Breyer agreed with the majority of the court that part of the law must be struck down but said that should not have doomed the rest of the law.

Concerned that questions will be raised at some point that betting could affect teams’ performance and the outcome of games, all four major U.S. professional sports leagues, the NCAA and the federal government had urged the court to uphold the federal law. In court, the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball had argued that New Jersey’s gambling expansion would hurt the integrity of their games. Outside court, however, leaders of all but the NFL have shown varying degrees of openness to legalized sports gambling.

On Monday, Major League Baseball issued a statement saying the Supreme Court ruling would have “profound effects” on the league and that it would “continue to seek the proper protections for our sport.”

Here's the full MLB statement:

“Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court will have profound effects on Major League Baseball.  As each state considers whether to allow sports betting, we will continue to seek the proper protections for our sport, in partnership with other professional sports.  Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games.  We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says the pro basketball league remains favor “of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it.” He said that “regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority.”

Here's Silver's full statement released Monday after the ruling:

The NFL also released a statement:

As did the NHL:

The NCAA’s chief legal officer said the organization is still reviewing the court’s decision but added that it “will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court.”

The court’s decision came in a case from New Jersey, which has fought for years to legalize gambling on sports at casinos and racetracks. Former Gov. Chris Christie said after arguments in the case in December that if justices sided with the state, bets could be taken “within two weeks” of a decision.

After the ruling was announced, the former Republican governor tweeted that it was a “great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions.” The state’s current governor, Democrat Phil Murphy, also cheered the ruling, saying he was “thrilled” to see the high court strike down the “arbitrary ban.” He said he looked forward to working with the Legislature to “enact a law authorizing and regulating sports betting in the very near future.”

Monmouth Park, a racetrack at the Jersey Shore, has already set up a sports book operation and has previously estimated it could take bets within two weeks of a favorable ruling.

Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana Entertainment, said his Atlantic City casino will “absolutely” offer sports betting once it can get it up and running. “It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

New Jersey has spent years and millions of dollars in legal fees trying to legalize sports betting. In 2012, with voters’ support, New Jersey lawmakers passed a law allowing sports betting, directly challenging the 1992 federal law. The four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA sued, and the state lost in court.

In 2014, New Jersey tried a different tactic by repealing laws prohibiting sports gambling at casinos and racetracks. It argued that taking its laws off the books was different from authorizing sports gambling. The state lost again and then took the case to the Supreme Court.

More than a dozen states had supported New Jersey, which argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed its law. New Jersey said the Constitution allows Congress to pass laws barring wagering on sports, but Congress can’t require states to keep sports gambling prohibitions in place.

Associated Press reporter Wayne Parry contributed reporting from Atlantic City, New Jersey and Steve Megargee contributed reporting from Knoxville, Tennessee.

© 2018 by Associated Press.

Matthew Slater on Josh Gordon's return: 'Football is No. 2'

Matthew Slater on Josh Gordon's return: 'Football is No. 2'

Despite playing a sport that typically values third-down efficiency over empathy, Matthew Slater has no problem speaking up to be the voice of compassion inside the Patriots locker room.

Josh Gordon's reinstatement by the NFL on Friday is a complicated issue. How was it determined that Gordon is well enough to play? Is football what's best for him? How will the Patriots provide him with support when he returns?

But Slater broke it down more simply following his team's preseason win over the Titans in Nashville: When it comes to Gordon, football isn't what's most important right now.

"We are excited,” Slater said of Gordon's return. “I’ll say this: Football is number two. We want to see him first and foremost doing well as an individual, doing well as a man, and we want to support him however we can. We’re just going to take this one day at a time, which is all any of us can do. And we’ll see what tomorrow brings and then we’ll let the day after that worry about it when it comes around."

Gordon was a big-play threat any time he was on the field for the Patriots last season. He played in 11 games and led the NFL in yards per reception (18.0). He was suspended late in the year for violating the league's substance abuse policy, and though his NFL rights have remained with the Patriots -- they signed his restricted free-agent tender this offseason -- he hasn't been with the team for months.

Bill Belichick pointed that out in a statement released Saturday.

“For the past eight months, Josh’s situation has been entirely a league matter," Belichick's statement said. "When Josh returns to our program, we will evaluate the entire situation and do what we feel is best for Josh and the team."

Slater emphasized the point that he and others will welcome Gordon with open arms.

“I think having support is always a good thing, no matter who you are, no matter what life has brought your way," Slater said. "I think support is good, and hopefully he finds that he has support here. I think that’s really all I can say about it now. What’s good, what’s not good remains to be seen.”

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Chase Winovich praised for high motor, doesn't know 'why he's built like that'

Chase Winovich praised for high motor, doesn't know 'why he's built like that'

Chase Winovich had another strong performance for the New England Patriots in the team's preseason win over the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night.

Winovich was on the field for a good portion of the evening, and he got relentless pressure on the Titans' quarterbacks and wreaked havoc in the backfield. All told, he finished with 6 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 tackles for loss and showcased one of his top skills for all to see. And even Patriots head coach Bill Belichick noted it in his postgame press conference.

"Chase is a high motor player," Belichick said to reporters after the Patriots victory. "He plays hard. He's very good in pursuit. You see it in the kicking game. You see it on defense. He's got a good motor. He plays hard."

Belichick wasn't the only one who noted Winovich's performance. Winovich's fellow rookie, quarterback Jarrett Stidham, also noted his superlative on-field effort.

"He's a great dude and has a motor like no other," Stidham said. "He's a heck of a player."

But why does Winovich play so hard? What drives that relentless motor? Winovich joked that it was because his grandmother promised him that if he played hard and didn't get hurt in high school, she'd give him $5 and a chocolate bar. So, he was looking to earn those in today's game.

Winovich did cite some of his motivations, including support from his hometown of Pittsburgh and the bond he feels with his teammates.

But in reality, Winovich doesn't know exactly why he plays hard. He just does it. It's how he plays.

"It's weird. I really don't know why I'm built like that," Winovich said. "It might be a gift and a curse sometimes when it's extremely hot and they're just trying to run the ball away ... But you'll see me just sprinting and trying to hit somebody or hit something."

It was abundantly clear that Winovich's goal was to always be involved in the play against the Titans. He particularly demonstrated that when he ran down running back Akeem Hunt on a play that saw Hunt break through the line of scrimmage and Winovich come from the backfield, after beating his man, to tackle Hunt nearly 15 yards down the field.

And when he wasn't chasing running backs downfield, he was blowing up plays at the line of scrimmage and making the lives of the Titans offensive linemen miserable.

Winovich's motor is certainly a trait that Belichick and the Patriots appreciate. If Winovich, a third-round rookie, can continue to impress and play hard, that should give him a chance to earn an important role with the squad. Either way, his relentless style will make an impact on New England, whether that's on special teams or as a pass rusher.

WATCH: Bill Belichick's awkward but funny halftime interview>>>

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