NJ Sports Betting Case: What Happened During Today’s Hearing?

by Jim Hall

United States Supreme CourtToday marked the first day that the United States Supreme Court heard the Christie vs. NCAA case, with many feeling the justices will rule in the state’s favor.

Today is a big day for bettors in the United States. The United States Supreme Court began hearing the Christie vs. NCAA case today and if ruled in favor of the state, sports betting could change across the nation. During the hearing today, several justices questioned the case and many industry insiders believe the state has a good chance to see sports betting approved in their favor.

What Happened Today?

The case is one that would see New Jersey allowed to offer sports betting, if the court rules in the state’s favor. During the case, the justices listened to oral arguments for about an hour this morning. New Jersey, being represented by Governor Chris Christie’s name in the case, argued to see the prohibition of sports betting on a state level. The NCAA and other professional sports leagues argue that the state is unable to offer sports betting due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

The PASPA is federal law that allows only the state of Nevada to offer single-game sports betting in the US. The issues being discussed within the case are if the PASPA is considered constitutional in regard to how federal law will interact with state law. New Jersey already has a partial repeal of the prohibition and the issue that stands is if the repeal is legal with PASPA still active.

Will the Justices Agree?

Now, New Jersey wants to see five justices agree in their favor. If five judges on the Supreme Court agree, then the PASPA law will be deemed unconstitutional. For now, it seems the oral arguments were in NJ’s favor. Paul Clement is the attorney representing the NCAA and the other professional sports groups who was questioned skeptically of the PASPA law as well as constitutionality of the law.

For the most part, those reporting on the hearing felt that the tone was in New Jersey’s favor. It seemed that the conservatives on the court felt that something was not right with the regulations associated with the PASPA. It seemed the justices were not in favor of the PASPA or were at least not comfortable with how the law says what a state cannot do yet there is no regulatory system in place regarding what PASPA covers.

On behalf of New Jersey, Attorney Ted Olson argued that PASPA is unconstitutional and commandeers states to police sports betting for them. Olson argued that the law does not ban sports betting on a federal level and it just tells the states what they are to do. It seems the justices found this argument compelling and they questioned Clement based on Olson’s argument.

For now, its all about analyzing what took place and what could happen. No one knows how the justices will rule and what the outcome of the case will be. New Jersey has exhausted their last option with the Supreme Court hearing their case. It will be sometime next year before a decision will be made.

If the court rules in favor of NJ, we could see a major expansion of legal sports betting across the nation. Several states have followed NJ lead and put legislation in place that will allow them to take part in the industry, if it is opened up across the board.