Sports Betting Appeal
Implications of New Jersey Winning its Sports Betting Appeal
The state of New Jersey has entered the final phase in its prolonged battle to get sports betting legalised. The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals has just held an en banc rehearing in the case brought against the state by the powerful professional sports leagues along with the NCAA to strike down the state’s 2014 law that would have been enough to get sports betting started in the state. The Third Circuit Court had originally ruled 2-1 against the state which was indeed a major setback to its plans, but last October it agreed to the state’s request to get a re-hearing.
It is not often that the court grants a rehearing, and in this instance it was an en banc rehearing which is rarer still. The panel consisted of 12 active judges of the court instead of the usual three.
The Garden State has been trying to get sports wagering legalised since 2009 and this is a very important component for its plan for economic restructuring. However, the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA have come together to oppose this move in a court of law since they feel that sports betting is detrimental to the health of sports overall. They insist that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 should be upheld and that New Jersey’s 2014 law on sports betting ran contrary to it. As of now, Nevada is the only state that has a robust sports betting industry although Delaware, Montana and Oregon also have the right to offer it.
The judges will not let their decision be known earlier than June, but in case New Jersey was to win then there are important implications for the gambling industry in the entire country.
What Could Happen if New Jersey Wins the Appeal?
To start with, the state will be able to offer sports betting without any delay. It goes without saying that the sports leagues (along with the NCAA) will take the fight to the United States Supreme Court. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court will take up the issue.
Secondly, quite a few other states will ride on New Jersey’s coattails in order to launch sports betting operations of their own. For instance, the states of Delaware and Pennsylvania, which are also covered by the Third Circuit Court, could use the precedent to implement sports wagering as well. Both states have already indicated their eagerness in this matter.
Furthermore, additional states could consider having sports gambling laws of their own. The en banc ruling of the Third Circuit Court could be used as a precedent in other legal battles. The sports leagues will no doubt oppose them legally, but their arguments will have added weight once the Third Circuit’s finding is favourable towards sports betting.
PASPA to be Repealed or Amended?
There are growing calls to make changes to PASPA in order to offer sports betting in a regulated manner. This is the need of the hour because it will benefit everyone concerned, from the state to the gamblers themselves.