U.S. Solicitor General Won’t Support Sports Betting in New Jersey

It may soon be another sad day in New Jersey for fans that enjoy betting on their favorite sport. A bill led by New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone would have the Supreme Court overturn “the 25-year-old prohibition on state authorization of sports betting.” However, on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, United States Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall recommended that the Supreme Court deny New Jersey’s certiorari petition. There have been recent studies that the Supreme Court follows the recommendation of the Solicitor General 79.6 percent of the time.

New Jersey has been wrestling with this gambling issue for years. In 2011, a state referendum amended New Jersey’s constitution, paving the way for lawmakers to develop a way to regulate gambling activity on spots. But after the NCAA and various professional sports leagues sued, the Third Circuit ruled that the state had violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). However, on appeal, the appeals court ruled that it is a “false equivalence” to compare repeal with authorization. That led to New Jersey repealing sports prohibitions, focusing on casinos and race tracks. This was also found to violate PASPA, as the court ruled that even though it’s called a repeal, it is still an authorization. That decision led to the current certiorari petition

Supporters of sports betting argue the illegal gambling market is worth a whopping $150 billion, which is depriving states, such as New Jersey, the opportunity to use this revenue for schools, infrastructures and law enforcement. “Americans are betting up to $400 billion a year on sporting events alone,” Pallone said in a statement. “It’s time to recognize that the laws are outdated. . .”

Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, New Jersey State Senator and Gubernatorial candidate Raymond Lesniak told said “he will continue the pursuit” and “I’m not giving up,” a sentiment seemed to be shared by the American Gaming Association.

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