Christian Groups Speak out against Supreme Court Gambling Decision

Christian Groups Speak out against Supreme Court Gambling Decision

Some Christian conservative groups say they are planning to challenge a Supreme Court ruling that ended a federal ban on sports gambling outside of Nevada.

The Supreme Court’s ruling came this week, reversing a 1992 law that banned sports betting in every state except Nevada.

Jake Grassel, the executive director of Citizens Against Gambling Expansion, said the group is planning a “vigorous challenge” to the bill.

Just a few weeks ago, Grassel’s organization joined with the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition and the Catholic Conference and Minnesota Family Council to help defeat a fantasy sports bill on the House floor.

Grassel says expanding sports gambling could lead to more gambling addictions and a negative influence on youth.

"You're going to normalize gambling for kids because they'll be inundated with advertising during sports games," he said.

Many states have already been pushing for legalized sports gambling. Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, had been working to bring legislation to legalize sports gambling in Minnesota. With the ruling, he says it’s a chance for the state to provide a “safe, fair and regulated sports gambling experience.”

"This is like Sunday liquor sales on cocaine," he said. "That's how excited people are going to be.

 "It's highly unlikely we'll be able to pass legislation in five days, but what we can do is continue the conversation."

The Minnesota current legislative session ends in less than a week, but if the bill can eventually pass in Minnesota, could generate at least $2 billion in bets in the first year, Garofalo said.

"We want to be deliberative, but we want to move fast," Garofalo said. "Today, what you'll see is the unregulated sports gambling environment is going to start marketing to consumers. And once they start signing up with these products, it's difficult for any Minnesota government entity to enforce regulations in a Caribbean sports book."

The American Gaming Association estimates that in the U.S., some $150 billion is illegally wagered each year.

“This is positive news,” said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Ducey in a tweet about the Supreme Court’s ruling. “We have been working on a modernized gaming compact. This ruling gives Arizona options that could benefit our citizens and our general fund.”


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Publication date: May 15, 2018