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NJ's Request for Rehearing En Banc Denied, Sets Sights on SCOTUS

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on November 22, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

"If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us." Those are big words, from a big man, but so far, Governor Christie is being stopped, reports The Star-Ledger. The third time was definitely not the charm for New Jersey, who received a third decision, not in its favor, in its attempts to legalize sports betting in the state.

Sports Betting in New Jersey

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (the Bradley Act) prohibits sports betting, but four states are exempted based on pre-existing sports gaming laws that were grandfathered: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. New Jersey missed a deadline to have its own law grandfathered in 1993. In 2011, eighteen years later, New Jersey voters passed a referendum legalizing sports betting, and Governor Christie signed it into law last year. Various sports organizations immediately moved to block the law and filed suit in district court.

Previous Decisions

The district court granted the sports organizations' motion for summary judgment and granted a permanent injunction against the New Jersey law, finding that the Bradley Act did not violate new Jersey's sovereign rights and was not unconstitutional. On appeal, New Jersey argued that the Bradley Act violated state sovereignty, equal protection rights and "trampled the authority of the state legislatures under the 10th [sic] Amendment." Unconvinced, the Third Circuit affirmed, with one judge dissenting.

Earlier this month, New Jersey petitioned the Third Circuit for a rehearing en banc. Attorneys for the state called the decision "strained" and argued: "New Jersey's effort to shift sports wagering out of black markets and into closely regulated casinos and racetracks was approved by overwhelming majorities of the electorate and the Legislature," reports The Star-Ledger. Again not convinced, the Third Circuit denied the petition for rehearing en banc, says The Associated Press.

New Jersey's Options

New Jersey was betting on help from the Third Circuit, but it didn't win. Now, there are only two options left. First, Congress could repeal the Bradley Act, but that's probably not going to happen. Second, New Jersey could petition the Supreme Court for writ of certiorari, which will happen. A spokesperson for Governor Christie confirmed that the Governor will be seeking review by the Supreme Court, reports The Washington Post.

Whether the Supreme Court will decide to take the case is a whole other issue, but don't bet on it.

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