Saturday 10/25/2014 : U.S. SPORTS LEAGUES HALT NEW JERSEY SPORTS BETTING…FOR NOW
No sports betting for Monmouth this weekend.
Hopes that a recently passed New Jersey law would allow gambling licensees in the state to offer sportsbetting starting this weekend have been crushed by federal district Judge Michael Shipp, who late Friday awarded the US national sports leagues a temporary injunction against the law.
The injunction remains in force pending the finalisation of litigation between New Jersey and the sports leagues that started in Judge Shipp's court but has since been unsuccessfully appealed and then refused a hearing by the US Supreme Court.
This led to fresh state legalization, and another round of court actions which is now taking shape.
Monmouth Park racetrack was ready to start taking bets this Sunday, but has had to step back in the face of the injunction, a spokesman for the operator confirmed.
Judge Shipp issued the temporary restraining order after studying submissions by the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA, along with a response from the state.
He found that the major sports leagues had shown they would be irreparably harmed if New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks were permitted to allow sports betting.
Reading his opinion out in court late Friday, Judge Shipp said he had based his decision partly on the public interest in knowing whether the new state law is in conflict with federal law.
“More legal gambling leads to more total gambling, which in turns leads to an increased incentive to fix plaintiffs’ matches,” Shipp said. New Jersey’s implementation of sports gambling “would engender the same ills” that the federal 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act at the heart of the current legal fight sought to combat, he added.
Shipp indicated the temporary restraining order was necessary to ensure the issue is argued in court.
"The public interest is served in preserving the status quo until the merits of a serious controversy can be fully considered by the court,” Judge Shipp commented.
He has given all parties until Monday 27 October if they wish to submit briefs arguing against a more permanent injunction.
In the wake of Judge Shipp's latest block on sports betting in New Jersey, sharp industry observers noted that the restraining order technically only applies to those sports governed by the complaining sports leagues, leaving gambling on activities like golf, tennis, boxing, MMA fighting, NASCAR and soccer unimpeded.
And over in the UK this weekend, two NFL teams playing in London are ironically attracting big money betting with British bookies…and to all intents and purposes surviving the experience unscathed!
The fight is now on over New Jersey's latest legislative attempt to duck round the PASPA. The sports leagues have already indicated that they will fight to the end any attempt to dilute the impact of the PASPA, heralding another round of expensive court actions.
Interestingly, the Department of Justice has stayed out of the latest legal fisticuffs, perhaps because they were the ones who suggested in the previous court action a work-around that New Jersey is now trying to exploit.
For the DoJ to now argue against their previous submissions to the courts would not only be embarrassing, but counter-productive for the sports leagues in their attempts to win the new court action.