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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No Surprise Here - Third Circuit Rules Against NJ in Sports Wagering Suit

As reported in The Record, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against New Jersey's attempt to bring sports betting to the Garden State by ruling the states' sports wagering law illegal.

This is no surprises here at VFTRG (Disclosure: I have no legal training).  When NJ first passed the sports wagering law, I declared the law dead on arrival as it would not pass muster with the Federal courts.  

The complete ruling can be read here.  The court found the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution permitted congress to pass the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) and as such, PASPA is constitutional which outlawed sports wagering except where already legal, grandfathering those types of gambling but not allowing its expansion which is why in 2009 the State of Delaware was not allowed to introduce single game wagering.  As the Third Circuit indicated, redress from the law may be seeked in the legislative branch via congress repealing PASPA or otherwise modifying the statute.

It should be noted the vote was 2-1 meaning the State can ask for a hearing in front of the entire circuit court or go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Being the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to pass on the case, I expect the State to ask for a rehearing in front of the entire third circuit.  Being the third circuit ruled against Delaware back in 2009 (where the same Circuit Court of Appeals found allowing Delaware to offer single game wagering violated PASPA because it was not a type of wager offered in Delaware at the time of PASPA's passage),  I don't expect a rehearing by the entire court to change the outcome nor do I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this case (they refused to hear the Delaware case).

If the NJTHA truly thinks sports wagering was the only thing that was going to keep thoroughbred racing in business in New Jersey, they are in deep trouble.  Atlantic City Casinos are being dealt another blow by the courts although Internet Gaming should soften the blow somewhat, something which is not being offered to the racing industry.

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