Third Circuit Court of Appeals continues to deny New Jersey sports betting legalization
The state of New Jersey has tried time and time again to legalize sports betting within their borders but have continually had no luck. Back in August, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in the NCAA v. Christie case that a statute in New Jersey seeking to repeal the state’s ban of sports betting, partially, constituted an authorization in violation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which is a federal measure.
Over the past four years, the state has battled against major sports organizations including the NFL, NBA and NCAA. Along with the sports leagues, the state has been fighting the government for the right to offer sports betting to try and save the casino industry. In 2013, a statute was created that authorized sports betting but was cut down by the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
During 2013, the court ruled that the PASPA did not appropriate officials of the state to regulate sports betting, violating the 10th amendment. States were ruled to not be forced to keep prohibitions in regards to sports wagering and had the choice to repeal prohibitions if they so choose.
Fast forward to October of last year and New Jersey gave themselves the option of sports betting based on the ruling by the Third Circuit. State officials created a new statute that would essentially repeal the prohibition of sports betting but restricted within state-regulated gaming facilities such as casinos and racetracks. The activity would only be allowed for bettors who were at least 21 years old.
The leagues then decided to sue to prevent the law from being implemented, debating that the state’s repeal in a selective manner was just an authorization of another name. The District of New Jersey then agreed with the sporting groups in November of 2014.
Now with the recent appeal, the Third Circuit stated that the statute was still in violation of the PASPA as it authorizes the state of offer sports betting activities. In their ruling, officials stated that that 2014 law allows sports gambling by selectively stating where the option would be allowed to occur, who could take part and which sports events would be available for said gambling. The Third Circuit ruled that the selectiveness constitutes specific permission and empowerment within the state, citing states do not have the right to use ‘clever drafting’ to be able to escape the supremacy of the federal laws.
Officials in New Jersey have reportedly indicated that they plan on pursuing a rehearing en banc with the Third Circuit Courts. This type of hearings are rare, however since the judge that authored the previous opinion dissented gives a probable cause for a rehearing to be approved.