What's next for New Jersey in fight to legalize sports betting?

Sports bettors need a short memory to be successful, quickly shaking off that night’s loss to re-focus on the next day’s odds.

New Jersey’s push for legalized sports betting needs a similar gold fish-minded take following a judge’s ruling in favor of four pro sports leagues and NCAA in their case to block sports gambling in the Garden State.

Late Thursday, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp denied New Jersey’s claim that the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which prohibits sports betting in all but four grandfathered states, is unconstitutional and a violation of the state’s sovereignty.

The next step for New Jersey is to move the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals Third Circuit in Philadelphia. The state has 30 days to file an appeal on the ruling and then the court will assign a briefing schedule and dates for oral argument, a process that could take up to a year.

“New Jersey can raise some compelling questions on review that the Third Circuit has never addressed and for which there is little precedent,” Griffin Finan (@G_Finan), an attorney at Ifrah Law in Washington D.C, told Covers.

“I expect New Jersey to appeal both yesterday’s decision on the constitutionality of PASPA and the ruling from December on the leagues standing to bring this suit,” says Finan. “The Third Circuit has never issued an opinion that directly addressed the constitutionality of PASPA, so there is no precedent on the issue.”

While Thursday’s ruling is a major bump in the road for the legalization of sports betting in New Jersey, the state has a couple backup plans already in motion.

There have been two bills introduced to Congress recently, one that grants only New Jersey exemption under the PASPA and another that would grant any state that legalizes sports gambling by 2017 an exemption under the PASPA. The latter would open the door for other states looking to legalizing sports betting, like California which recently reintroduced a bill that would allow sports wagering in the state.

As for now, the country will patiently wait while the process plays out in the U.S. Court of Appeals Third Circuit. The biggest topic up for debate will be the state’s argument that the PASPA violates the anti-commandeering principle which prohibits the government from forcing duties on state legislators or executive officials to carry out a federal initiative.

“I expect the issue of whether the anti-commandeering principle requires that a state be forced to take an affirmative action will be important in the appeal,” says Finan. “There is very little precedent on the issue and this is one of the stronger points on appeal for the state.”

There is a chance that the case could find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Either side can petition the eventual ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals Third Circuit and the Supreme Court can grant the petition to seek an appeal, which would lead to more formal briefing and oral argument. However, according to Finan, less than two percent of cases seeking appeal by the Supreme Court are granted.

For more information on Thursday’s ruling and the appeal process read Ifrah Law’s blog, Crime In The Suites.

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Posted by budwiser
4 years ago

Well vacation, I hope you're right in that he's just kicking the can down the road. We can always hope. The law is a crazy law that needs to be stricken down, for the federal government to say this state can get this, but the other can't, even if it wants it.

Posted by vacation
4 years ago

Judge Shipp did what many on the bench do in these type cases. He kicked the can down the road. He id this because the system of appeals allows him to do so. His comment about Congress is a bunch of crap. Shipp most likely knew no matter his ruling, there would be an appeal and he went with the status quo. And in doing so he presented the perception that he just wanted this thing off his docket. Anyway, I think the 4 states that are exempt from PASPA had better take notice. For if an opinion denying the legality of NJ's gambling law is written in a certain manner, it COULD outlaw sports wagering in ALL states. I think this is NJ's legal strategy. That is to compel the courts to rule one way( legal everywhere) or another (illegal everywhere).

Posted by budwiser
4 years ago

The best thing that can happen to this case is to get it out of that worthless Judge Shipp's hands. Hopefully the Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has a competent judge worthy of reviewing this case and, if it's rejected, coming up with sound reasoning and not what Judge Shipp said, which is, "not my problem, if you want it changed let the Congress do it". Wow, what a worthless judge, and it pisses me off.

Posted by tomnolan
4 years ago

i just cant believe that did not pass!! omg!!smh!!!
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Top Response

Posted by budwiser
4 years ago

"Well vacation, I hope you're right in that he's just kicking the can down the road. We can always hope. The law is a crazy law that needs to be stricken down, for the federal government to say this state can get this, but the other can't, even if i..."