What now for New Jersey after sports betting setback?

What now for New Jersey after sports betting setback?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 Totally Gaming
US state faces limited legal options after latest ruling

New Jersey is refusing to give up on its efforts to introduce legalised sports betting in the US state despite suffering a major legal setback.

Yesterday (Tuesday), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia rejected New Jersey's appeal against an earlier ruling to block the introduction of sports betting at casinos and racetracks.

The 2-1 majority ruling that the state's efforts violate the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 represents a significant blow for advocates of legalising sports betting in the state, including Governor Chris Christie and Senator Ray Lesniak.

US circuit judges Marjorie Rendell and Maryanne Trump Barry ruled against the state, but US circuit judge Julio Fuentes, who ruled against New Jersey earlier in the case, was a dissenting voice this time round.

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

It is the second time in as many years that a three-judge panel on the US Court of Appeals has rejected New Jersey’s bid for sports betting legislation, and the options for the state to pursue its bid through the courts are limited.

TotallyGaming.com understands that New Jersey is considering requesting an appeal for a hearing in front of the entire Third Circuit. However, this ‘en banc’ request is a highly unusual move, only usually granted in exceptional circumstances.

If New Jersey does succeed in securing an ‘en banc’ hearing, the state will be hoping to persuade the court that Fuentes’ dissent in the latest vote conflicted with the previous decision.

The only other option for New Jersey, if it wishes to continue down the legal route, is to request a review by the US Supreme Court. However, only about one per cent of such petitions are accepted for review, and the court turned down the state’s application in the case’s previous incarnation in 2014.

PASPA prohibits 46 US states from licensing, sponsoring or authorising sports betting, with Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana exempt due to existing sports betting practices.

All of the US major sports leagues, including American football’s NFL, have opposed New Jersey’s plans, although Adam Silver, the commissioner of basketball’s NBA, has previously admitted that legalised sports betting in the US is “inevitable”.

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