A state divided as landmark New Jersey sports betting case looms

A state divided as landmark New Jersey sports betting case looms

Thursday, November 16, 2017 Posted by Michael Lawson
The case will begin on December 4

The debate over legalising sports betting in New Jersey continues to intensify as the date for the landmark US Supreme Court case draws closer.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments for overruling the controversial Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) - which criminalises the vast majority of sports betting outside the state of Nevada - starting from December 4.

The state of New Jersey has fought to overturn federal-level PASPA provisions for almost a decade, seeking to bring licensed sports betting to its ailing Atlantic City casino industry.

But opponents to the legalisation include President Trump, who sided with the NFL in an attempt to block the scrapping of PASPA.

On the opposite side of the debate, a string of New Jersey congressmen have rallied behind the Gaming Accountability & Modernisation Enhancement (GAME) Act. The act aims to remove federal barriers, give oversight authority to the Federal Trade Commission and outline consumer protections that states would need to have in place in order to offer legal sports betting.

Democratic Party Congressman Frank Pallone, one of the GAME Act’s biggest advocates, said during a recent congressional hearing: “There is a revolution in the world of sports and that’s the exploding popularity of sports betting. Sports betting is more popular and widely accepted than ever before.

“Despite that, it’s still illegal in most of the country. A majority of Americans now believe that sports betting should be legal, and since it’s happening anyway we should ensure that basic consumer protections are attached to it.”

Meanwhile, it has been reported that leading gambling technology firms are already jockeying for position within the state, on the assumption that PASPA will be overturned.

David Yellin of Ifrah Law PLLC told TotallyGaming.com: "From a legal standpoint, there's no question that the Supreme Court should strike down PASPA. That doesn't mean they will, but I think that the fact that they took the case at all suggests they're leaning in that direction."

"If PASPA is struck down, I think we will see a lot of states following New Jersey's lead. More and more states are embracing gaming and its financial potential, and sports betting is even more popular than casino gaming."  

"The states and the leagues all know that sports betting is happening every day, and most sports leagues rely on that for their popularity. If the Court finally strikes down PASPA, I think a lot of people - the states, the leagues, and bettors - are going to benefit from bringing this activity into the light of day and subjecting it to oversight."

Totally Gaming says: Whatever the outcome of this Supreme Court hearing, it’s clear that it will have a monumental impact on the future of sports betting in the US. Looking from the outside in, the fact that sports betting is prohibited in all states bar Nevada has an air of surreality to it. The ban conflicts with America’s ‘land of the free’ mentality, while legalising would be highly lucrative for governments at all levels. Time will tell whether common sense prevails.

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