Leagues Respond to New Jersey Sports Betting

On Monday, September 29, four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA (“Leagues”) challenged New Jersey’s latest attempt to offer legal sports gambling within the state. The Leagues filing is in response to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s directive to allow casinos and racetracks to offer sports wagering so long as it is not state-regulated.

The Leagues argue that Governor Christie’s directive conflicts with the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which bans individual sports gambling in all but four states. Governor Christie contends that under a Third Circuit ruling, New Jersey is not necessarily prohibited from repealing its ban on sports wagering. Governor Christie wants to confirm that it can repeal New Jersey’s current ban on sports betting and not be in violation of PASPA.

The Leagues argue that the law passed by New Jersey’s legislature explicitly assumed sports gambling as a state-regulated industry, which would violate PASPA. The Leagues are contend that since current New Jersey casinos and racetracks are heavily regulated by the state, offering individual sports wagering would amount to regulation as well; a direct violation of PASPA. The Leagues’ filing states that New Jersey’s

“latest arguments are nothing more than a blatant attempt to circumvent this Court’s injunction and the federal law that it prohibits defendants from violating.”

U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp is expected to rule by next week on the matter.

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