Supreme Court will review New Jersey's proposed sports gambling law

Legalized sports wagering in New Jersey has been supported by Monmouth Park, which is operated by the state's horsemen under a lease from the state.

The NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball sued Christie in 2012 to keep his ink-stained gambling mitts out of their houses. Nevada is now the only state where single-game wagering is legal.

"We are pleased the Supreme Court appears to have responded favorably to our arguments as to why they should hear this important case", said Geoff Freeman, CEO of the American Gaming Association, a group that lobbies on behalf of the casino industry. That's an upset, because the lower courts have ruled against sports gambling in New Jersey time and again since it first came up in 2011.

New Jersey enacted the law in 2014 after an earlier version was struck down in court.


The cert petition argues the case could have implications on the power of the states to authorize private conduct now banned by state law, including recreational use of marijuana, carrying concealed firearms and working on Sundays.

The high court said Tuesday that it will hear the case, which challenges a federal law that bans most states from legal sports betting, during its next term. He hopes that legal sports betting can help the state's economy, particularly beleaguered Atlantic City casinos. Nevada is the only state to allow single-game wagering.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the New Jersey law past year, ruling that the law violated the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that forbids state-authorized sports gambling. The legislation included several exceptions, including an allowance for sports betting in Nevada and three other states that had already authorized limited wagering on sports contests.

But the five major sports leagues are against it.


A Supreme Court ruling on the case could have national implications, potentially opening the door for other states to legalize sports betting. The NFL and National Hockey League are in Las Vegas now, after all - something that would have been unthinkable five years ago.

The issue in the two consolidated cases before the court is whether the federal law impermissibly commandeers the regulatory power of the states in violation of the Constitution's federal structure and the 10th Amendment, according to the cert petitions here and here (PDF). "Both Congress and the Supreme Court should respect these actions".

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6) said both Congress and the Supreme Court should respect New Jersey voters who made a decision to legalize sports betting.



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