Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts of New Jersey to enact a sports betting law that is opposed by the NCAA, NFL, MLB, NHL and most recently the Federal Government. The bill was passed and then immediate challenged in court. An online source is reporting that the law has been struck down:
A federal judge on Thursday upheld a 21-year-old law prohibiting sports betting in 46 of 50 states, dealing a setback to New Jersey’s attempts to revive its struggling casino industry by grabbing a piece of what has become a multibillion-dollar industry, both legal and illegal.
The defeat was the second for New Jersey in a lawsuit filed last year by the four major pro sports leagues and the NCAA. In a December ruling, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp denied the state’s claim that the leagues and NCAA didn’t have standing to bring the suit because they couldn’t demonstrate tangible harm to their products if New Jersey were to allow sports betting.
In arguments earlier this month, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, representing the Justice Department, said the Constitution empowers Congress to regulate an interstate industry such as sports gambling and to treat states differently.
During this period, the NCAA placed a ban on certain sports events from being held in New Jersey schools. Trenton lost out on an opportunity to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament this year and it has possibly prevented Newark from hosting the Men’s NCAA tournament in 2015. The USA Today is now reporting that given the ruling, the NCAA is lifting those restrictions:
The NCAA has lifted a recent ban against New Jersey schools being allowed to host tournament games or championships sanctioned by college sports’ governing body.
The NCAA informed its member schools of the decision in a memo after U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp in Trenton issued a permanent injunction Thursday barring New Jersey from offering sports betting in the state.
In a statement issued late Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA said the court ruling determined that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was constitutional and continues to outlaw sports betting nationwide, excluding a few states.
“As a result, effective immediately, New Jersey-based member schools are allowed to host non-predetermined sites of NCAA championships,” the NCAA statement said. “Going forward, New Jersey schools and conferences may also be considered to host future championships events. We are excited that New Jersey student-athletes can now compete on their home field.”
It was a great gesture by the NCAA, but NJ Gov. Chris Christie immediately fired back saying he is committed to appealing the case. An online source explains:
Gov. Chris Christie says he’ll take the fight to legalize sports gambling in New Jersey to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. Even after a recent federal court defeat, Christie said Thursday he plans to continue his push for sports betting in his state.
“I’m appealing it, so if they (the NCAA) think I’ve changed my mind, they’re wrong. I’ll appeal it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if I can, and will,” Christie said after visiting a group home for people with disabilities.
The state must first appeal the judge’s ruling to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A defeat there would leave the Supreme Court as the last legal avenue, though there is also the option of amending the 1992 law in Congress. Two New Jersey congressmen have proposed bills that would give New Jersey and other states the chance to approve legal sports betting.
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