Sports Betting Once Again Pursued by New Jersey, This Time with Far Reaching Gambling Expansion Ramifications

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to expand sports gambling in area’s outside of Las Vegas, with New Jersey being the state at the forefront. Over many years they have tried several approaches to pass legislation to allow sports betting, but beyond just the opposition from the major sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, existing federal law has kept the issue at bay. The last failed attempt was legislation that essentially said New Jersey would simply not enforce the federal law, but that effort was struck down by an federal court. Now, the Third Circuit court has granted a very rare opportunity for the New Jersey law to be reexamined. ESPN explains:

New Jersey has an “incredibly rare” opportunity Wednesday to defeat the nation’s most powerful sports leagues and win the right to offer legal, Las Vegas-style sports betting. An hour long rehearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET Wednesday at the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to determine whether New Jersey’s Sports Wagering Law, signed by

Governor Chris Christie in Oct. 2014, violates a 25-year-old federal law prohibiting state- sponsored sports betting. The NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball have sued the governor to prevent it from happening. The leagues have won every step of the way, including in August, when a three-judge panel at the 3rd Circuit ruled against New Jersey in a 2-1 majority decision. But legal authorities say the 3rd Circuit’s granting of a rehearing en banc (in front of all judges) is a sign that Wednesday may be New Jersey’s best shot of the entire saga. Since March 2010, the Third Circuit has granted a rehearing en banc just 19 times.

The impact of this particular case won’t simply impact New Jersey. Many states have interest in sports betting expansion. Additionally, there are potential Daily Fantasy Sport implications as well. ESPN continues:

Legal experts say the decision is extremely close. The outcome will have widespread ramifications in other states. Last week, Pennsylvania passed a resolution asking Congress to repeal PASPA, and several states have considered sports betting bills that would put them in position to offer sports betting should the federal statute be repealed. The ruling also could have an impact on the ongoing legal controversy surrounding daily fantasy sports. Several state attorneys general have stated that daily fantasy is a form of sports gambling. Some states are attempting to pass legislation that creates a licensing scheme for daily fantasy sports. The NBA, NHL and MLB all own equity in daily fantasy sports sites, and 28 NFL teams have advertising deals with daily fantasy companies. “Once daily fantasy sports are deemed to be a type of gambling, then I don’t know how you reconcile that with PASPA,” said Dan Etna, a co-chair of New York firm Herrick’s Sports Law Group, who has tracked the New Jersey case and daily fantasy sports.

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