New Jersey Sports Gambling Bid Loses Again with Circuit Court Rejection


Another court has upheld the federal prohibition on sports gambling in the state of New Jersey. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that sports betting in the Garden State would violate federal law.

In a 2-to-1 vote on Tuesday, the court ruled against New Jersey’s bid to begin sports betting in the state’s casinos and racetracks. The decision maintains that New Jersey’s attempt to repeal its own state ban on sports betting could not supersede the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), which bans sports betting in all states but Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana.

The state claimed that a repeal of its own ban in 2014 did not violate the federal law, but the court said that a repeal is essentially an “authorization” of sports gambling and that authorization flies in the face of the PASPA.

New Jersey’s repeal “provides the authorization for conduct that is otherwise clearly and completely legally prohibited,” the court’s majority opinion reads.

“We conclude that the 2014 Law violates PASPA,” the court concludes, “because it authorizes by law sports gambling.”

The court also noted that back in 1992 Congress gave New Jersey a year to craft sports betting laws and if done in that time the law would have permitted New Jersey to legalize sports betting but the state failed to finish its process in time.

New Jersey also argued that the opinions of various sports leagues that testified against allowing the state to begin a sports betting system should be dismissed because they have “unclean hands.” Since the leagues participate in fantasy leagues and operate in cities like Las Vegas and London where gambling is legal, their opinions are naturally biased. The court also rejected this claim.

New Jersey still seems willing to continue the fight, though. After the decision, New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak said that the state will likely ask for a hearing by the entire Third Circuit.

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