NJ Sports Betting Effort Takes One Last Swing In Court
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Hail Mary: New Jersey Will Appeal Sports Betting Case To US Supreme Court

NJ sports betting SCOTUS
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New Jersey will make at least one more effort to legalize sports betting in the state via the courts, as a petition will be filed to the US Supreme Court.

The state lost the latest in a string of court cases and appeals in August, in its attempt to allow sports betting in New Jersey. That decision, from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, will be appealed to the Supreme Court, according to ESPN reporter David Purdum.

The NJ sports betting law, still on the sidelines

In 2014, the state had passed a law in which it partially repealed its own sports betting ban, which would have allowed wagering to take place at racetracks and casinos in New Jersey.

That law has been tied up in the courts ever since, as the major North American professional sports leagues, the NCAA and the Department of Justice challenged the law as violating PASPAThat is the law that prevents single-sport wagering from occurring anywhere in the US outside of Nevada.

The planned NJ sports betting appeal

The NJ sports betting appeal will apparently be filed later this week, per Purdum via a statement from state Sen. Raymond Lesniak.

It was a long expected move by New Jersey, which will make a last-ditch attempt to salvage its current sports betting law, which never took effect.

It has twice lost cases in the Third Circuit, the first coming in In August of 2015. A panel of three judges considered the case, and New Jersey lost 2-1.

The state then requested a rehearing in front of an “en banc” panel of active judges, a rare move for courts of this level. New Jersey lost for the second time in this court, with nine judges siding against the state, and three dissenters.

What are the chances the appeal is heard, or won?

There are no guarantees that the Supreme Court will grant the petition from New Jersey in the sports betting case. Each year, SCOTUS grants appeals only to a small percentage of the cases that ask for one.

Given the mechanics of the case, the granting of an appeal would appear to be a longshot:

  • There is no dissonance between multiple federal circuit courts on the matter, as New Jersey is the only state that has challenged PASPA in this manner. SCOTUS is more likely to grant an appeal if circuits disagree with one another.
  • The majority was pretty overwhelming in the en banc hearing, 9-3. Had the margin been closer, that might have made an appeal more likely.

Still, there is a non-zero chance the Supreme Court takes a look, with the possibility it could find PASPA unconstitutional and runs afoul of states’ rights, aka the 10th Amendment.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.
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