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The news on Christie vs. NCAA et al came via The Washington Post’s SCOTUS beat reporter:
#scotus announce oral arguments: Cell-phone privacy Nov. 29; future of sports betting Dec. 4; wedding cakes for gay couples Dec. 5
— Robert Barnes (@scotusreporter) October 6, 2017
At issue is the state’s attempt to repeal its own laws in order to legalize sports betting within its borders. So far, the NCAA and the major North American pro sports leagues have turned back those efforts in federal court. They have done so by utilizing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal law that bans single-game sports wagering outside of Nevada.
However, the state of New Jersey won the right to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. The state is arguing that PASPA is unconstitutional, in that it forces states to keep laws on the books, even if they move to change them. (The state has a prohibition on sports betting in place; the law passed attempted to lift that ban.)
The December date sets up the court to make a decision sometime in 2018, likely in the first half of the year.
If New Jersey were to win — with SCOTUS ruling PASPA unconstitutional — it sets up a scenario where other states could legalize sports wagering. A variety of other scenarios are also possible, including a ruling more narrowly on NJ’s sports betting law or upholding the lower courts’ finding against the state.
Experts believe New Jersey has a good chance to win the case, given that SCOTUS grants appeals in only a fraction of cases and often overturns lower courts.