New Jersey to appeal judge's sports betting ruling

New Jersey to appeal judge's sports betting ruling

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Jersey is set to appeal a judge’s permanent injunction to stop the US state from launching a legalised sports betting service.

Ruling against the state on Friday, US District Court Judge Michael Shipp found in favour of four major North American sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which last month filed a motion to halt plans to legalise sports betting in New Jersey.

Shipp heard oral arguments from both sides on Thursday in Trenton, New Jersey, before releasing his decision just hours before a temporary restraining order that stopped the state's thoroughbred track Monmouth Park from opening its sports book was set to expire.

However, New Jersey will file an appeal within days according to two senior state senators.

State Senator Raymond Lesniak, speaking to ESPN, said: “We continue to believe that New Jersey has the right to allow sports betting in the state and we will keep up the fight in court.”

State Senate President Steve Sweeney added: “We are going to continuing pursuing every legal option available. The economic impact that sports wagering can have on New Jersey is far too important to simply shrug our shoulders and move on."

The NFL American football league, NHL ice hockey, MLB baseball and NBA basketball had opted to launch a legal challenge against a new bill signed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to partially repeal the state’s prohibition on sports betting.

Under the bill, which received approval by a vote of 27-1 from state lawmakers, New Jersey casinos and racetracks would have been able to offer sports betting under the provision that bets were placed on events outside of the state.

However, the sports leagues hit out at the bill and claimed it was “in clear and flagrant violation of federal law – to accomplish what it unsuccessfully attempted to do three years ago: sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, licence or authorise gambling on amateur and professional sports at state-licensed casinos and horse racetracks”.

Judge Shipp agreed with the NCAA and professional leagues’ argument that by allowing certain businesses to offer sports betting amounted to regulation, which in turn would conflict with the federal government’s Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

This permanent injunction bans properties or businesses in New Jersey from offering any form of sports betting, meaning that Nevada remains the only state in the US in which people can legally place sports bets.

New Jersey’s likely appeal will go through the Third Circuit US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

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