New Jersey Sportsbetting Tussle Continues, Feds Receive Brief Filing Extension

nj-postcardThe US Third Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a brief extension to federal Department of Justice attorneys battling the state of New Jersey’s plans to introduce sportsbetting within the state.  The latest brief, which was originally due today and will instead be filed by next Tuesday, is to include the latest responses from the organizations supporting the feds’ case — the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB.

The battle lines remain clearly drawn in New Jerseys battle to override the federal 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) on grounds of unconstitutionality.  New Jersey voters passed a referendum authorizing sportsbetting in 2011, which has led to the current legal battle with federal officials.

Under 1992’s PASPA, only Nevada was allowed to continue offering full-fledged sportsbetting services, with three other states — Delaware, Oregon and Montana — allowed a limited form in connection with team parlay betting.

This left 46 states on the outside looking in, including New Jersey and several other states with casino interests that view themselves as being at an active disadvantage to Nevada-based casinos.

The first legal victory, surprisingly enough, went to to the feds, when a federal judge in February issued a permanent injunction against the New Jersey referendum results.  That decision left PASPA intact (at least temporarily), and led to the ongoing appeal by New Jersey officials.

New Jersey doesn’t stand alone in its battle against the DOJ and the major sports organizations.  The attorneys general of four other states — Virginia, Georgia, West Virginia, and Kansas — have filed a joint amici curiae (“friends of the court”) brief in support of New Jersey’s unconstitutionality and equal-sovereignty arguments.

While arguing that Nevada’s special status in regards to sportsbetting has little legal basis, these other attorneys general also made clear that their position was not related to the nature of sportsbetting itself, stating that they “take no position on the wisdom of the State and federal sports wagering laws at issue in this case.”

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