Bill Bradley, not surprisingly, is upset with the Supreme Court’s ruling Monday that cleared the way for expanded sports gambling in the United States. During his tenure as a senator from New Jersey, Bradley was one of the sponsors of the legislation that became the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. That law, which limited sports gambling to a handful of states and colloquially was known as the Bradley Act, was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on Monday. States other than Nevada can now offer sports gambling if they choose.
This is a terrible thing in Bradley’s eyes, partly because he thinks everyone will rush to the window to bet on high school games.
“I regret the ruling. I think the court ignored the impact that the ruling will have on sports in America and values you learn form sports. I mean, they’ve turned every basketball player, football player and baseball player into a roulette chip,” the basketball Hall of Famer told the Record and NorthJersey.com in an interview Tuesday. “And that doesn’t mean pros only. Because now you can bet on college; you could even bet on high school. You could even bet on AAU, 14-year-olds playing in the finals of the AAU. And the only winner here are casinos, in my opinion.”
Bradley continued along this path when asked what the effect of the court’s ruling will be.
“I think the game will be corrupted. Do you really want to go to your son’s high school basketball or football game and see people in the crowd who are betting, who are not rooting for your child to win or lose, but are betting on a spread? It’ll be pervasive,” Bradley said. “It is destructive. But again, it’s the Supreme Court making a decision on very narrow grounds.”
There’s just one problem with Bradley’s prediction: It’s probably not going to happen.
While bets on high school sporting events have been taken by some offshore sportsbooks in the past, the practice is outlawed in Nevada, the only state as of now to legally offer single-game sports wagering. Nevada Gaming Regulation 22.120 states that college and Olympic sports are the only “amateur” sports in play at the state’s casinos — whatever “amateur” actually means these days. Nevada’s gambling practices likely will be a model for any state that follows suit, like New Jersey. After the Supreme Court’s ruling was issued Monday, State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and three of his comrades introduced the legislation that would officially open New Jersey to sports gambling under a number of regulations. Among them was a ban on gambling on high school sporting events.
Bradley seems to think we’re headed for the Wild West, despite all evidence to the contrary.
“This has no restrictions whatsoever,” he said.
Read more on the Supreme Court ruling: