New Jersey Continues Sports Betting Fight in US Supreme Court

by Jim Hall

US Supreme CourtThe state of New Jersey looks to the United States Supreme Court in the hopes of offering legalized sports betting.

Since 1992, the United States has restricted sports betting to four states. Included in those four states are Delaware and Nevada, with Nevada being the most involved in offering sports betting to punters. Other states would like to become involved in the sports betting industry but have not been able to do so due to the opposition of sports leagues such as the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB as well as no support from legislators.

The state of New Jersey has tried for about two years now to see sports betting allowed within their borders and are now taking their fight to the United States Supreme Court. As a last ditch effort, it was announced last night by Senator Raymond Lesniak of New Jersey that the issue will be raised within the Supreme Court later this week in regards to sports betting in the state.

A Little Background

Close to two months ago, the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals decided to strike down the 2014 plan by the state to provide legalized sports betting in casinos and racetracks of the state. Senator Lesniak was quoted as stating that winning the fight for legal sports betting would mean hundreds of millions in economic activity for the state as well as saving thousands of jobs. The senator plans on fighting the NFL all the way to the United States Supreme Court, taking his case to the highest level this week.

Will the Supreme Court Bite?

For a case to be heard by the Supreme Court, it has to be accepted. Many wonder if Lesniak’s efforts to see sports betting passed in the state will fall on deaf ears or will the Supreme Court bite and listen to what the senator has to say? The high court hears only around 1% of 7,000 to 8,000 cases each year so it there is a chance that the court will not hear the case.

Since 2011, the state of New Jersey has tried to see sports betting legalized. The state is in much need of revenues and this is one way in which money could be brought in. But, from the very beginning, the plan was hit with strong opposition from the top four sports leagues. The NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and even the NCAA were out in full force shouting their opposition to the plan, stating that the integrity of the sports games would be in question. The groups also called to mind the 1992 federal ban on sports betting which they say would have been violated if New Jersey were allowed to offer sports betting options.

Governor Chris Christie went so far as to blame the president for the setback of seeing sports betting approved for his state. Christie accused President Barack Obama of using the judges in the court as puppets that would take away the rights of the state. Christie also called out the leagues, stating that each professional sports league is making money off of fantasy sports and they are investing in it. The leagues go to court and try to stop his state from legalizing something that is taking pace each Sunday by illegal bookmakers in the mafia as they would rather have them do it.

Christie’s comments sound a bit crazy but there is some truth to what he is saying. Illegal bookmaking is a multi-million if not billion dollar business. The entire United States loses out on potential tax revenues as sports betting is conducted underground in many states instead of being allowed to be legalized and regulated in states that wish to offer the activity.