Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

U.S. top court to consider reviving New Jersey sports betting law

U.S. top court to consider reviving New Jersey sports betting law

If New Jersey's appeal is successful, it could lead a wave of states to pass laws legalizing sports wagering, or force Congress to reconsider its current federal gambling laws.

In January, the Supreme Court had asked the incoming Trump administration to offer its views on whether the justices should take up New Jersey's appeal, and the administration advised against it.

One of the cert petitions argues that the federal law amounts to a "federal takeover of New Jersey's legislative apparatus" that is "dramatic, unprecedented, and in direct conflict with this court's 10th Amendment jurisprudence barring Congress from controlling how the states regulate private parties".

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the New Jersey law previous year, ruling that the law violated the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that forbids state-authorized sports gambling.

Opposition to the ban has softened in recent years.

New Jersey state Sen. "PASPA is a failed law, and now is the time for all parties, including the sports leagues, to come together and replace it with a regulatory framework that will bring sports betting out of the shadows and into the sunlight, creating well over 100,000 jobs and raising billions in tax revenue".

The NFL remains publicly opposed to legalized sports betting, but league owners recently approved the Oakland Raiders' proposed relocation to Las Vegas, one of the few venues that now allows for legal sports betting.

The NHL has also expanded to Las Vegas, where a new team, the Vegas Golden Knights, will begin play this fall.

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The justices will review a lower court's conclusion that the measure runs afoul of a 1992 federal law that outlaws sports gambling in most of the country.

The appeal to review the ruling is being spearheaded by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who claims that the reintroduction of the 2014 law would reinvigorate New Jersey's gambling industry and generate as much as $1bn worth of bets in the first year alone. Nevada is the only state where gambling on individual games is allowed.

Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia and Wisconsin have joined with New Jersey in appealing the decision to the Supreme Court.

The case has lasted almost as long as Christie has been in office.

"Rather than continuing to allow criminal and offshore entities to reap the benefits of illegal gaming, there is now an opportunity for the Supreme Court to allow the democratic process in New Jersey to appropriately regulate sports gaming", Pallone said in a statement.

According to the Associated Press, more than $150 billion is illegally wagered on sports annually.

The groups cited research that showed legalizing sports betting in the US could support more than 150,000 jobs.

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