After three hours of argument today in U.S. District Court, Judge Michael Shipp said he will make a decision within two weeks that will determine the outcome in the New Jersey sports betting case.
Legalized sports betting in the state at casinos and racetracks is at stake, which the major sports leagues and Department of Justice are trying to halt before it begins. In all likelihood, the judge's decision is going to be appealed no matter which way he rules and we could see this case eventually wind up in the Supreme Court.
The leagues and DOJ are arguing New Jersey shouldn't be allowed to permit sports betting under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. The state says the law is unconstitutional because it makes exceptions for four states - Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.
And Shipp said today that the case will be based on that very item - whether or not PASPA is constitutional.
Ted Olson, acting on behalf of the state, said the law unfairly handcuffs New Jersey because the people voted in favor of it and legislation was passed to allow it. Attorneys for the horse industry also said if the law doesn't pass, it may cripple their industry in the state, which is in steep decline across North America.
But it's a tough fight. even though the judge pointed out today that there is no other law he is aware of that makes exceptions for certain states.
”Those attacking the law have the burden. It just has to be good enough,” argued U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.
Griffin Finan, a Washington D.C based attorney at Ifrah Law, was live Tweeting from the proceedings today and made this comment:
(To learn more on commandeering, read this helpful blog post by New York attorney Brad Polizzano.)
Whatever the judge decides, the issue of legalized sports betting is far from over. In addition to the inevitable appeals, we're seeing some huge momentum throughout the U.S. that's pushing for legalized sports wagering beyond Nevada's borders.
California recently introduced a bill to legalize sports betting and Minnesota became the latest state to do the same with a bill on Wednesday. New Jersey Congressmen Congressmen Frank Pallone, Jr. and Frank LoBiondo have also reintroduced bills to legalize sports betting.
So the tide is rising when it comes to Las Vegas style sports betting outside the desert. And Judge Shipp knows his decision will be heavily scrutinized by other states waiting to make the same move.