New Jersey Sports Betting Case Reaches Final Stages

by Jim Hall

New Jersey has tried for some time now to offer sports betting options. A case involving the state and the wagering option is now in the last stages before the United States Supreme Court will decide if the appeal will be heard.

For some time now, the state of New Jersey has tried to be able to offer sports betting for real money wagering. Based on current federal law, only four states have the option to offer sports betting and New Jersey is not one of them. The state actually passed a law that would allow for sports wagering but federal law still stands in the way. The state will now wait to see if the highest court in the nation will listen to their appeal.

Last Hope

US Supreme CourtThe last hope that New Jersey has of offering sports betting at this time is the United States Supreme Court. The highest court in the nation must decide if they will hear the case as to if New Jersey will be able to repeal their own laws and offer sports betting in their borders. The state has continued to argue that the PASPA legislation is unconstitutional.

Earlier this week, the Governor of the state, Chris Christie, along with the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association filed a short reply to their request for the Supreme Court review. The replies were sent after the national sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB and the like made a case against the appeal.

The Recent Filings and Argument

The recent filings by the state are basically a reiteration of the last appeal, which took place in October. The filings are a response to the arguments of the sports leagues that an appeal is not necessary in regards to the case. The state argues that the PASPA is in violation of the states’ rights idea of the constitution, by not allowing the state to repeal their own laws.

In the most recent decision of the case it was argued that the Third Circuit Court’s decision undermines the constitutional anti-commandeering principle and is conflicting with decisions of the Court and the other courts of appeals.

The Horseman’s Association makes the same argument in their filing, stating that federal statutes that preempt state law do so as a consequence of the creation of some federal rule governing commerce. This is not what the PASPA does in their opinion. The Association feels that the law regulates the content of state law without any federal rule governing commerce as its foundation. The Association also says that the Supreme Court should not wait for a ruling that disagrees with the Third Circuit on the matter. New York is currently considering this type of challenge.

Will The Case Be Heard?

Many feel that New Jersey will have their case heard by the Supreme Court. However, so far, New Jersey has been unsuccessful in attempts to offer sports betting. Only a small number of appeals are heard by the Supreme Court so this may be another case in which the court decides not to move forward with a hearing.

Now, the Supreme Court will have to decide the case ‘conference’. This means the justices will vote on whether or not they will hear the appeal. The conference on the matter should take place on the 13th of January. At least four judges would have to vote to hear the case for the matter to move forward. A disposition of the case should be announced by the 17th. If the appeal were to be rejected, the case would come to an end. New Jersey would have to start all over in their efforts to see sports betting a reality.