Friday March 8, 2013 : NEW JERSEY GOV. VOWS TO FIGHT SPORTS BETTING RULING (Update)
But it could take two years to resolve New Jersey's attempt to legalise sports betting
On two occasions this week New Jersey governor Chris Christie again committed the state to a legal appeal following its recent defeat in a federal court over legalised sports betting.
Last year the state passed an intrastate measure challenging the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which restricts sports betting to just four US states, and was taken to court by the national sports leagues and the US Department of Justice.
Federal Judge Michael Shipp ruled against New Jersey, imposing a permanent injunction against the implementation of the new measure .
At separate events this week Gov. Christie confirmed again that the state would take the matter on appeal, initially through the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but if necessary all the way to the US Supreme Court.
This would take time, the governor said, estimating that it would take about a year to reach the appeal court, where he expected there would be a split decision and a Supreme Court hearing for the issue.
The whole process could take as long as two years, said Christie, who is a former US Attorney.
In the meantime sports betting is on hold in the state, an outcome which prompted the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), one of the litigants against New Jersey, to lift its October 2012 ban on holding athletic championships in the state.
In lifting the ban, the NCAA warned that it is prepared to reinstate the block if the governor goes ahead with his threatened appeal against Judge Shipp's decision.
Gov. Christie appeared unimpressed:
"I'm appealing it, so if the NCAA think I've changed my mind, they're wrong," Gov. Christie told the Associated Press news agency.
"I'll appeal it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if I can, and will."
The governor added that in any case the economic impact of the NCAA ban was considerably less than the financial cost of maintaining an unfair ban on sports betting in New Jersey through the PASPA.
The alternative to a prolonged legal struggle, and perhaps a second prong in New Jersey's attempt to introduce sports betting, is to persuade the US Congress to amend PASPA, which is on the face of it a remarkably discriminatory federal law.
This option was opened up earlier this year when two New Jersey Congressmen proposed federal bills suggesting amendments that would permit other states to enter the sports betting sector