Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992

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Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to prohibit sports gambling under State law, and for other purposes.
Acronyms (colloquial) PASPA
Nicknames Bradley Act
Enacted by the 102nd United States Congress
Effective October 28, 1992
Public law 102-559
Statutes at Large 106 Stat. 4227
Titles amended 28 U.S.C.: Judiciary and Judicial Procedure
U.S.C. sections created 28 U.S.C. ch. 178 § 3701 et seq.
Legislative history

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (Pub.L. 102–559), also known as the "Bradley Act," attempts to define the legal status of sports betting throughout the United States. This act effectively outlawed sports betting nationwide, excluding a few states.

The sports lotteries conducted in Oregon, Delaware, and Montana were exempt, as well as the licensed sports pools in Nevada. In addition, Congress provided a one-year window of opportunity from the effective date of PASPA (January 1, 1993) for states which operated licensed casino gaming for the previous ten-year period to pass laws permitting sports wagering. The latter exception was clearly crafted with New Jersey in mind. However, New Jersey failed to take advantage of this opportunity and carve out an exception for itself. Also excluded from the reach of PASPA are jai alai and parimutuel horse and dog racing.

Legal challenges[edit]

As a widespread trend to legalize, regulate, and tax gambling to increase tax revenues, many states are trying to persuade the federal government to repeal PASPA. Proponents of repeal typically assert that the law as written is inherently unconstitutional, as the US constitution reserves to the states all rights not explicitly granted to the Federal government—such as gambling regulation.

Recent developments[edit]

New Jersey has attempted to build momentum towards the eventual legalization of sports betting in New Jersey through federal litigation, state legislation, and the voter referendum process. In March 2009, New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey claiming, amongst other things, that the PASPA unconstitutionally discriminates among the states by allowing four states to offer sports betting while disallowing the other forty-six states from enjoying the privilege. The case is pending before Magistrate Judge Torianne Bongiovanni. Additionally, Lesniak successfully steered a proposed amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution through the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, which would constitutionally permit sports betting in New Jersey. If the full Senate approves the change, New Jersey voters would be able to vote on a referendum whether to accept the constitutional amendment, though the amendment is predicated on a repeal of PASPA. Additionally, both houses of the New Jersey Legislature have introduced resolutions calling on the United States Congress to repeal PASPA.[1]

In January 2010, Rhode Island State Senators Tassoni, McBurney, and Doyle introduced a Joint Resolution calling on Congress to finally repeal PASPA. In February 2010 in almost identical language, Missouri State Representatives Jason Grill and Mike Colona also introduced a Joint Resolution calling on Congress to repeal PASPA. Though the resolutions have not yet passed their respective chambers, both are symbolic of the growing dissatisfaction with PASPA at the state level.

In February 2010, a subcommittee in the Iowa State Senate approved a bill legalizing sports betting, which now faces a vote in the full Senate. Even though the PASPA prohibition bars them from legalizing the activity, some state senators are trying to drum up support for a federal repeal of the law.

In August 2010, California State Senator Roderick Wright, who chairs the gambling committee, publicly announced that he supports the New Jersey lawsuit. He is trying to convince the California legislature to sign on to the suit, as the state is facing tremendous fiscal problems and is contemplating legalizing sports gambling to raise badly needed revenue.

In October 2016, former NBA Commissioner David Stern called for the repeal of PASPA, reversing his earlier position.


  1. ^ "Appeals Court Upholds Constitutionality of New Jersey Sports Betting Ban". U.S. Attorney's Office - District of New Jersey. U.S. Department of Justice. September 17, 2013.  External link in |website= (help)

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