11/3/09 – Over the objections of the US Department of Justice, a Federal judge has ruled that New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is permitted to join a legal challenge to a Federal law prohibiting state-regulated sports betting.
US Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni ordered that Governor Gorzine’s motion to intervene in iMEGA, et al v. Holder was granted, and that his attorneys must file their complaint no later than November 12th.
Governor Corzine joins a plaintiff roll that includes iMEGA, Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), and NJ state horse racing associations.
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The lawsuit asks the court to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1991, which prohibits the expansion of state-regulated sports betting to all but four protected states – Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.
The plaintiffs have argued the law is unconstitutional because it favours certain states by allowing them to reap tax revenue from legal sports betting, while barring every other state from doing so. New Jersey could raise substantial tax revenues if successful in overturning the restrictive law.
“It’s nice to clear this hurdle and move closer to a court considering the merits of our challenge,” said Joe Brennan Jr., chairman of iMEGA, lead plaintiff in the suit.
“It’s ridiculous the DOJ opposed the motion. We expect they’ll now ask the court to have all of the plaintiffs thrown out for lack of standing. It’s a waste of time and effort, but it seems they’ll do anything to prevent the court from examining this law.”
“The irony is that the DOJ actually opposed this law (PASPA) when it was enacted, on the very same grounds we’ve listed in our suit,” Brennan said.