January 17, 2017
By Dustin Gouker
The New Jersey sports betting case has some life left in it.
What SCOTUS said on NJ sports betting
The US Supreme Court decided to ask for a brief from the Solicitor General in New Jersey’s ongoing case to legalize sports betting. New Jersey had been hoping the nation’s highest court would take up its appeal on whether the state can partially repeal its own laws to offer sports betting within its borders.
From the orders released by the court this morning:
“The Acting Solicitor General is invited to file a brief in these cases expressing the views of the United States.”
That short list of cases included Christie vs NCAA, et al, which is the NJ sports betting case.
Now New Jersey will have to wait for the filing from the SG. The court will then again consider whether to take the case at a later date, after it has weighed the position of the US government.
Here is more on what SCOTUS asking for a brief from the SG means.
Backstory on NJ sports betting
The state has continually argued that a federal law — PASPA — that prevents most forms of sports betting around the country is unconstitutional. (Single-game wagering is only allowed in Nevada sports betting.) The state wants to allow sports betting to help prop up the casino industry in Atlantic City and at the state’s racetracks.
The NCAA and the major North American professional sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB — have been the plaintiffs in the case and have been arguing against the appeal.
The state has lost in a series of defeats in federal courts, thus far.
The state has continually pushed the envelope on gambling matters. It authorized NJ online casinos several years ago, which has helped stem the tide of falling revenues for land-based casinos.
Good news for NJ sports betting
That is good news for New Jersey, as a denial of the appeal would have been the end of the road for the case.
It might signify the court is considering taking the case. A vast majority of the cases that were appealed to the Supreme Court were turned down on Tuesday morning, and in general.
In any event, New Jersey’s chances of legalizing sports betting in the short term seem significantly better than they did before yesterday.
NJ Gov. Chris Christie had recently been optimistic about the state’s chances in the sports betting case.
The American Gaming Association offered this statement:
“We are encouraged that the U.S. Supreme Court has expressed interest in the problems posed by PASPA, the failed law that fuels a $150 billion illegal sports betting market. We are optimistic that the 25-year-old federal sports betting ban will be removed and sports fans will soon have safe, legal ways to engage in sports that also protect the integrity of games.”
Trump administration on NJ sports betting
The incoming administration of President-Elect Donald Trump will be involved in the New Jersey sports betting case.
The American Gaming Association has pushed the legalization of sports betting at the federal level. The group representing US casinos has posited that a Trump administration would be good for sports betting’s chances:
“We look forward to working with the Trump administration and the incoming Congress on a range of critical issues, from sports betting and illegal gambling to tax reform and immigration,” said Geoff Freeman, AGA president and CEO. “The gaming industry has never been more united and better positioned to advocate for policies that promote growth and reinvestment.”
Trump has not yet picked a Solicitor General, but here are some of the possibilities.
Other sports betting fronts will push forward
New Jersey is not the only place where PASPA will be challenged, nor is New Jersey likely to give up.
New Jersey may continue down a path to change its law on sports betting once again, just in case SCOTUS does not take the case. A new legislative effort cropped up late last year. However, that effort may have to sit on the sidelines until the resolution of this case.
New York is contemplating a challenge to PASPA in the vein of NJ.
Some lawmakers in Congress have a plan to revisit gambling laws in the US, including PASPA.