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New Jersey Petitions Appeals Court to Legalize Sports Betting


July 3, 2013
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Representatives for the state of New Jersey made a final appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia to legalize sports betting law, which was struck down in a previous ruling.

In opposition to the legislation to legalize sports betting are the NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA, MLB, and the U.S. Department of Justice, all of whom argue that the law is inconsistent with the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The 1992 legislation restricts sports betting to Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware.

Legalize Sports Betting

“The NCAA maintains that the spread of legalized sports wagering is a threat to the integrity of athletic competition and student-athlete well-being,” NCAA’s Emily Potter told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Other athletic league representatives note that when states have authority and control over the scope of games and whether consumers can make wagers, the dynamic of sports changes in a negative way.

However, representatives for New Jersey argue that the PASPA discriminates against all other states not included in the sports law and that Congress has an obligation to treat all states equally. In addition, Gov. Chris Christie argued that the PASPA violates state sovereignty.

“The leagues have not, and cannot, prove that controlling sports gambling and regulating it – which is already taking place in New Jersey and throughout the United States illegally under cover of the black market – that regulation of that activity will somehow hurt the leagues,” Ted Olson, who is representing New Jersey, Gov. Christie, and the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, told the Inquirer. “They have not proven that. They cannot prove that.”

The case, which is expected to one day make it to the Supreme Court, may have significant implications for states and all professional leagues. If New Jersey is successful in legalizing sports betting, other states that are facing budgetary shortfalls and fiscal issues may follow suit to generate more income. This proliferation may, in turn, lead to new regulations that govern sports betting.