Leagues to fight New Jersey’s sports betting plan

Leagues to fight New Jersey’s sports betting plan

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 Totally Gaming

North America’s four major sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have challenged the latest attempt to allow sports betting in New Jersey.

Three weeks ago, Republican Governor Chris Christie issued a directive that would allow casinos and racetracks to offer sports wagering as long as the bets are placed on events that take place outside the state, with a likely implementation date of October 6.

In a court filing yesterday (Monday), the leagues described the directive as “astounding” and a “blatant violation” of an earlier court order.

US District Judge Michael Shipp, whose injunction supported the leagues’ efforts to uphold a federal ban last year, is expected to rule on the matter by next week, with casinos and racetracks left in an uncertain predicament in the meantime.

New Jersey Legislature passed a sports betting law that was signed by Christie in 2012 after voters endorsed sports wagering in a non-binding referendum in 2011.

However, just over two years ago, American football’s NFL, basketball’s NBA, ice hockey’s NHL, baseball’s MLB and the NCAA sued Christie, citing the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which bans sports gambling in all but four states in the US.

In their latest court filing, the leagues said that the law passed by New Jersey’s Legislature explicitly views sports gambling as being a state-regulated industry, which would violate the Act.

“(The) defendants’ latest arguments are nothing more than a blatant attempt to circumvent this court’s injunction and the federal law that it prohibits defendants from violating,” the leagues stated.

According to various reports, under the proposed new approach, Acting State Attorney General John Hoffman will direct New Jersey law enforcement officers not to prosecute venues that offer sports betting.

Hoffman has reportedly claimed that New Jersey would not be regulating, licensing or authorising sports betting, but instead would be informing casinos and racetracks that they would not be prosecuted.

Last week, two New Jersey lawmakers proposed adding a 0.25% tax on all sports bets in the US state to fund the creation of a ‘Game Integrity Department’ for the leagues. 

In a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Atlantic County State Senator Jim Whelan and Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo said: “While we strongly support the legalisation of sports betting in New Jersey and the economic benefits it will bring to Atlantic City, we are cognisant that sports leagues like the NBA need the necessary resources to protect the integrity and fairness of games.”

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New York

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