Appeals court rules against NJ sports gambling law

Judges at the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled in a 2-to-1 vote Tuesday against the legalization of sports betting in New Jersey, squashing the state’s latest of several attempts at doing so and sending proponents back to the drawing board.


New Jersey had been hopeful heading into the Third Circuit proceedings, as it was there during the last challenge that the idea of repeal was presented as a potential way to circumvent PASPA.

New Jersey has been trying since 2009 to offer legal sports betting at its casinos and racetracks to help both struggling industries. The law exempted four states-Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware-which had already adopted sports betting by 1992.

Furthermore, despite his league’s inclusion in the suit, National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver called for a “different approach” to sports betting in the an op-ed for the New York Times previous year . “The District Court held that the 2014 Law violates the [1992] Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”)”. New Jersey state Sen.

The ruling is a setback for Christie as he seeks to boost the state’s shrinking gambling industry amid increased casino competition from neighboring states. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., a former Knicks player, banned gambling nationwide but gave New Jersey a one-year window, until the end of 1993, to pass a law permitting sports betting. “New Jersey residents should have the right to engage in legal sports wagering if they choose to”.

Justice Julio Fuentes dissented from the court’s majority and sided with the state, which argued that its 2014 law complied with PASPA because in did not create a comprehensive scheme or provide for a state regulatory role in sports gambling.

“There is simply no conceivable reading of PASPA that could preclude a state from restricting sports wagering”, Fuentes wrote in his opinion.

“Today’s decision by the Third Circuit on sports betting and how gaming is regulated encourages deeper examination about the best path forward on this issue”, the American Gaming Association said in a statement.

“With Americans betting at least $140 billion on sports illegally each year, it’s clear that (the) current law is not achieving its intended result”, said AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman.


Christie vetoed a second sports betting measure in August 2014, objecting in part to a bill he said had been “rushed to final passage” in the Legislature just three days after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the original case.

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