Thursday, February 18, 2016 : PESSIMISM OVER OUTCOME OF NEW JERSEY SPORTS BETTING APPEAL
Early reports from Philadephia not hopeful.
Early opinions, comments and media reports from Philadelphia struck a generally pessimistic note Wednesday at the conclusion of New Jersey's latest judicial appeal on legalised sports betting before the Third Court of Appeals in the US city.
A full 12-judge panel officiated at the 90 minute hearing and considered oral arguments from two former U.S. Solicitors General representing the Garden State and the national sports leagues. The panel will deliver its verdict later this year, but the prospects do not look good, according to most of the legal experts who jammed the venue to listen to the arguments.
The appeal is the latest in a series of judicial clashes between New Jersey and the sports leagues which began in 2012 as New Jersey sought to side-line the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which restricts sports betting to just four US states
So far the sports leagues have been victorious, and the latest hearing leaves few further options open to New Jersey.
The "en banc" hearing Wednesday is an unusual event in judicial affairs, but was granted to New Jersey after a previous appeal court hearing by three judges was disputed.
New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak, who has driven his state's sports betting legalization, opined to reporters after the hearing that the issue was probably ultimately headed for federal regulation that would liberalise sports betting and permit those states that want it to implement it.
"New Jersey is happy with that. There’s plenty of action to go around,” he said.
The advocates for both sides reprised the at times complicated legal arguments, whilst other witnesses addressed the need for sports betting in Atlantic City and assured judges that like other industries the sports betting business was capable of efficiently and safely regulating itself.
Judges on the panel asked questions and made comments based on the arguments and evidence, with one judge flagging the possibility that a positive verdict for New Jersey could trigger similar sports betting initiatives in other states.
The judges are expected to take several months before issuing a decision; if that decision goes against New Jersey the state has only the US Supreme Court left for a final appeal…a door that was closed to them in a similar application last year due to a busy court schedule