Professional sports leagues and the NCAA scored a major blow in the fight against legalized sports gambling in New Jersey Friday.
U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp ruled that the leagues may challenge New Jersey’s sports betting legislation from taking effect and can sue the state if it continues to push for legalization. The leagues argued that legal sports betting in New Jersey would violate the U.S. Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.
“For purposes of standing, Plaintiffs demonstrated, at least by an identifiable trifle, that state-sanctioned gambling will adversely impact how the leagues are perceived by those who can affect their future, specifically their fans,” Shipp stated in his ruling.
Governor Christopher Christie signed a new law in January of this year, setting the wheels in motion for legalized sports betting in the Garden State and challenged the leagues to contest him. The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and the NCAA voiced their displeasure with the move, stating that legal sports betting would not only violate the PASPA but threaten the integrity of the games.
Currently, there are only four states that allow sports betting - Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. However, Nevada is the only one that allows single-game wagering. During the creation of the PASPA, New Jersey was given the opportunity to institute sports betting between Jan. 1, 1993 and Jan. 1, 1994 but declined at the time.
The next step for New Jersey is presenting a case that the PASPA is unfair and unconstitutional to the other 45 states. The state had planned on issuing sports betting licenses as early as January.
Gov. Christie's office could not be reached for comment by media sources at the time of the ruling.