New Jersey sports betting battle will take a turning point on January 13th

Written By Janice Doughtrey

New Jersey has been battling to allow for sports betting to take place in their casinos as they were not one of the states that was grandfathered in. The United States Supreme Court is going to make a groundbreaking decision in the fight on January 13th when they determine whether or not the case will be heard. In order to move the case forward, the state will need at least four out of the eight Supreme Court justices to vote in favor of hearing the case. The decision will be made public on January 17th and be placed on the calendar if approved. This is a pivotal point for sports betting in the state because it could mean the end of the run if the Supreme Court turns down the case.

In a worse case scenario of not having the case heard, it would leave very few options for the state to legalize sports betting. The only other prominent option that could help the cause at that point would be for another state to manage to beat the sports betting policies that prevent it from being legalized in their jurisdiction.

In order to hear the case, the justices in the Supreme Court have to weigh whether or not this is a Constitutional issue which might vary depending on their opinions. If heard, this case could become further reaching than simply giving the power of legalizing sports betting in New Jersey and other states. It could push forward state rights and federalism.

The NJ Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the state of New Jersey each filed their briefs on Wednesday as a result of the professional sports leagues case filing from earlier, asking the Supreme Court not to take on the state’s appeal. This case is an appeal in regards to the Third Circuit Court’s decision against allowing the state of New Jersey to at least partially legalize sports betting. This would go against the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that doesn’t allow for states to have sports betting unless they had laws in place prior to the policy.

The argument that the case is based on is the fact that Congress can regulate the citizens of the United States, but they cannot regulate the state’s ability to govern their citizens. Governor Chris Christie cited in his brief that Congress does not have the power to prevent a state from carrying out its own laws. The brief that the Horsemen’s Association submitted a brief that carries forth a similar argument. The nutshell of this argument is that the federal government is not allowed to force a state to change their laws that have been set forth.

PASPA prevents all states from allowing sports betting except for four of them that already had existing laws in place. New Jersey was one of the states that had not created law around sports betting prior to the act, and so they were not allowed to legalize it. In contrast to this, Christie had signed into law a repeal that would allow for sports betting once again in the state that led up to the current court case.