Sounds Familiar: Supreme Court Rejects Leagues In NJ Sports Betting Case

Posted on May 20, 2020

It looks more like major US sports leagues could owe some cash over their fight against NJ sports betting.

The MLB, NBA, NCAA, NFL and NHL could have to pay up for making Monmouth Park hold off on accepting sports bets back in 2014. The US Supreme Court decided it would not hear appeals over a Third Circuit ruling that decided the leagues could be on the hook.

The case now returns to federal court in New Jersey. The Third Circuit will decide what the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, operators of Monmouth Park, could get from the leagues.

The Horsemen’s Association originally requested the $3.4 million in bonds posted by the leagues to cover a temporary restraining order, with interest. They also asked for $150 million in damages.

Leagues paying for fight against NJ sports betting

The five leagues were the biggest opponents of New Jersey sports betting regulators attempting to allow its casinos and tracks to accept bets in 2014.

Monmouth Park was about to be the first in the state to accept bets before the leagues successfully petitioned the Third Circuit for a temporary restraining order. The court decided the leagues would suffer irreparable harm if the track accepted bets.

The fight by the leagues was hypocritical, the Horsemen pointed out, as most were cutting deals with daily fantasy sports operators. While DFS isn’t sports betting, it was the closest option many Americans had at the time to win cash from sporting events.

That restraining order was eventually followed by another. The leagues ponied up two $1.7 million bonds to cover losses from the order.

Horsemen want more than just bonds

Considering those temporary restraining orders turned into more than three years of delayed NJ sports betting, the Horsemen’s Association wants a little bit more than that $3.4 million.

The Horsemen already scored a small moral victory over the leagues when Monmouth Park took New Jersey’s first legal sports bet a month after PASPA fell at its William Hill-branded sportsbook.

Now, they’re hoping for a real victory. It’ll now be up to the Third Circuit to decide just how much, at all, the Horsemen’s Association gets.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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