Posted by Michelle Quintas on 12/31/10 : iMEGA case hots up
A court action in which the pro-online gambling action group Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association is involved entered a new phase this week when the U.S. Department of Justice opposed an attempt to legalise sports betting in the state of New Jersey.
The Department notified Judge Garrett E, Brown of its opposition to the iMEGA move in a letter which now becomes part of its defence against the iMEGA action to overturn the Federal ban on sports betting.
New Jersey is among the more progressive of US states in its approach to a more open and legalised sports betting regime, and in November this year passed legalization authorising a poll of the state's eight million or more residents to test support for legalised online sports betting.
The legalization – driven by state Senator Ray Lesniak – passed by a convincing margin despite the opposition of state governor Chris Christie.
In the letter, DoJ lawyer Peter D. Leary claims that iMEGA's request to supplement the record with a copy of SCR 132 – the sports betting ballot referendum bill – is not warranted. Leary goes on to point out that the successful New Jersey sports betting ballot legalization is irrelevant because it simply "…might give the State Legislature the power to possibly pass state laws related to sports betting".
The Department additionally asserts that a favorable judgement would not remedy the plaintiff's injuries, identified as New Jersey's present inability to offer state-regulated and taxed sports betting.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is at the heart of the action as the federal legalization which precludes New Jersey – despite the sensitive issue of states' rights – from introducing its own sports betting regulatory and tax regime.
iMEGA claims that the law unconstitutionally restrains the state of New Jersey from entering this sector, when other states such as Delaware and Nevada are allowed to do so.
The Department is also relying on it's now predictable but highly contentious claim that iMEGA has no legal standing to bring the action against the government.