NJ Sports Betting Appeal Joined By Five Other States

new-jersey-sports-betting-appeal-supreme-courtWhen Online.Gambling.org last reported on the sports betting effort in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie had already dropped out of the presidential race and had focused his attention back on getting sports betting legalized in New Jersey. But after being shot down twice by a federal appeals court, there’s no more bullets left in the proverbial gun. The only option left for New Jersey, and a weak one at that, is a last ditch effort for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Governor Christie acknowledges that this is a long shot, but that they have to give it a try.

The appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court will utilize a different approach by arguing not for the legality of sports betting, but instead will argue that the Third Circuit courts had set a wrongful precedent on how Congress regulates industries, which then determined the fate of the sports betting industry.

Attorneys general from five states will join New Jersey in presenting an amicus petition before the US Supreme Court in their quest to legalize sports betting. The states of Arizona, Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana and Wisconsin have all presented themselves as amici curiae, or friends of court. This was after sports betting law expert and Florida State associate professor Ryan Rodenberg filed an amicus brief on behalf of the states.

West Virginia also filled a brief saying they are not necessarily arguing about the ability of states to offer sports betting while stressing that the amici “take no position on the wisdom of the state and federal sports wagering laws in this case.” Rather, their focus is on the fact that the Third Circuit usurped the rights of the state by maintaining the federal ban on sports betting. The brief further stated that, “The concern of Amici States—the States of West Virginia, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wisconsin—is not what Congress regulates but how it does so. Even where it has Article I authority to act, Congress may not force the States to act as the vehicle for implementing federal policy and thereby shift to the States political accountability for its actions. Such coercion is unconstitutional commandeering. In upholding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) … the Third Circuit radically expanded the doctrine of federal preemption by holding that Congress may forbid the States from repealing their existing laws without affirmatively setting forth a federal regulatory or deregulatory scheme. In addition, the Third Circuit disregarded this Court’s anti-commandeering jurisprudence by requiring state legislators to maintain, and state executive officials to enforce, laws that would otherwise have been repealed.”

In the final analysis, this battle to legalize sports betting in New Jersey will be decided upon a misplaced word or technicality. Stay tuned.

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