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N.J. Sports Betting Case Denied Cert, N.J. Enacts Work-Around

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD | Last updated on

New Jersey's attempt to regulate sports betting is in the news again, but this time it's because the Supreme Court denied certiorari. But, in true New Jersey fashion, a new bill was passed within days based on arguments the Department of Justice ("DoJ") made in its brief to provide a work around.

Will the new law (if it goes into effect) be challenged? You can bet on it.

Challenges Below and Above

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) prohibits "betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based, directly or indirectly..., on one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate, or are intended to participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games." Four states have exemptions to PASPA based on pre-existing sports gaming laws: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. New Jersey missed the window to be included among them, and has failed in its attempts to have PAPSA declared unconstitutional.

After the Third Circuit denied a petition to rehear the case en banc, the state petitioned for cert, which on Monday, the Supreme Court denied. Governor Christie stated, "It's always a long shot to get certiorati [sic] from the United State Supreme Court. That's the way it goes. They said no, so we have to move on," reports Online Poker.

The Work-Around

And move on it did. Just three days later, New Jersey Senate Bill 2250, which "partially repeals prohibitions against sports wagering at racetracks and casinos in New Jersey," was passed in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly with virtually no opposition, reports The Star-Ledger. State Senator Raymond Lesniak, the sponsor of S2250, is intent on reviving New Jersey's flailing gambling economy. Lesniak stated that S2250 is based on statements the DoJ made in its appellate briefs, which stated that PAPSA "does not even obligate New Jersey to leave in place the state-law prohibitions against sports gambling ... to the contrary, New Jersey is free to repeal those prohibitions in whole or in part," reports USA Today.

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Is It Viable?

Senator Lesniak certainly thinks so, though no word yet on whether Governor Christie will sign the bill into law though he is showing reluctance, reports USA Today. If signed into law will it be challenged? Most probably by sports associations, but it will be difficult for the DoJ to argue around its own words.

Senator Lesniak thinks if passed, the situation would be similar to Colorado and Washington's legalization of marijuana. He stated, "Federal law prohibits manufacture and distribution of marijuana, but they haven't stepped in to stop Colorado and Washington from legalizing it," reports Online Casino Archives.

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