[toc]New Jersey voters may not want casinos built at the Meadowlands Racetrack, but they do want legal sports betting.
For the past several years, New Jersey has been fighting the NCAA and professional sports leagues in its effort to introduce legal sports betting around the state.
A brief history of NJ sports betting
In 1992, when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was signed into law, Congress gave states one year to pass laws that would allow for legal sports betting.
New Jersey passed such legislation in 2014, and has since been struggling to defend it in the courts.
In October, an appeal made to the Supreme Court of the United States was rejected by the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by a margin of 9-3, but since then the movement to legalize sports betting has gained momentum.
Sports betting and the Constitution
The request for the Supreme Court to hear New Jersey’s case centers on the idea that PASPA is unconstitutional.
The full text of the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The argument is that PASPA is unconstitutional because it prevents states from amending the sports betting laws they already have in place.
PASPA makes it unlawful for states to “authorize by law” gambling on sports, and therefore, according to those that would argue for legalized sports betting, is in violation of the Tenth Amendment.
Support from other states
Several other states have jumped on board fearing that PASPA sets a dangerous precedence.
The latest effort by New Jersey to legalize sports betting is now being backed by five other states:
- West Virginia
Read the latest brief on LegalSportsReport.com.
What’s to be done?
A 4303, the most recent attempt by New Jersey to legalize sports betting, is a bill that was introduced by Assemblymen Ralph Caputo and John Burzichelli.
The bill itself is fairly straightforward. It aims to fully repeal the sports betting laws already on the books that are preventing New Jersey from legalizing sports betting.
The bill abides by the rulings made in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which expressed to New Jersey that its prior laws were in opposition of PASPA, but a full repeal would not be.
NJ sports betting future
The chances of this bill passing are unclear, but those in opposition point out that the new law would not limit sports betting activity to Atlantic City and the state’s racetracks alone.
New Jersey voters stated clearly in November that they are opposed to the expansion of gambling outside of the established New Jersey gambling areas, and as such, passing this bill may pose a problem.
If legal sports betting is to become the rule rather than the exception, the smart money is still turning to federal legislation. For sports betting to become legal, Congress would need to amend PASPA or repeal it entirely.