Hawaii Family Forum Signs onto National Anti-Gambling Amicus

October 26, 2017

Hawaii Family Forum (HFF) signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief to the United States Supreme Court this week opposing the expansion of gambling in question in Christie vs. NCAA, a New Jersey case that could usher in sports gambling nationwide. HFF Family joined a host of organizations in submitting the brief, including Stop Predatory Gambling and 17 other Family Policy Councils.  Oral arguments in the case have been scheduled for December 4.

Les Bernal, the National Director for Stop Predatory Gambling, has shed light on the potentially grave ramifications of the case: “If they prevail, state lotteries, regional casinos and online gambling operators will soon be offering wagering on almost everything—video games, The Oscars, reality TV shows like The Bachelor—in addition to every kind of potential sports bet you can imagine.”

The crux of the case hinges on the constitutionality of a federal law passed in 1992: the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (known as PASPA). As outlined on the U.S. Supreme Court’s blog, “PASPA makes it illegal for states to ‘authorize’ ‘a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme’ ‘based on one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate.’”

In Christie vs. NCAA, the State of New Jersey is challenging the authority of the Federal government to prohibit sports gambling at the state level, claiming that such a law is an overreach of the Federal government as outlined in the 10th Amendment. On the other side of the case, the NCAA argues that PASPA is not an overreach since it does not require the states to “do” anything, but instead prohibits gambling activities from taking place.

The friend-of-the-court brief, which HFF signed, explains the constitutionality of PASPA, how state-sanctioned sports gambling is a colossal failure across the board, and the necessity of federal intervention to stave off a massive expansion of sports betting and state-sponsored gambling and all of the economic and social harms that would inevitably result.  The brief argues specifically that sports gambling:

  • Provides incentives for states to legalize gambling in a “race to the bottom”;
  • Preys on society’s most weak and vulnerable individuals and communities; and,
  • Opens doors for crime and exploitation, harms children and youth, and brings great costs for communities.

Hawaii Family Forum remains opposed to any form of legalized gambling in Hawaii.  More information and research on the dangers that gambling poses for families and society at large can be found on our website, here.