Thursday August 27,2015 : MORE ON NEW JERSEY SPORTS BETTING APPEAL (Update)
Third US Circuit Court of Appeals supports PASPA.
New Jersey's long-running attempt to open up sports betting and get around the provisions of the restrictive Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act has suffered another defeat following a decision by the Philadelphia-based Third US Circuit Court of Appeals this week to uphold PASPA's ban on all sports betting except for four states
In a 2-1 decision, the judicial panel said New Jersey’s attempt to enact sports betting conflicts with the federal 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The majority of the court panel said any change to the two-decade-old federal act would have to come from Congress.
“Unless or until that happens…we are duty bound to interpret the text of the law as Congress wrote it,” the majority wrote.
The good news if that the court did leave the way clear for a further appeal to the full bench, should New Jersey wish to continue to pursue the issue.
For the past six years the Garden State has been trying to launch sports betting within its borders, stubbornly blocked and litigated by the national sports leagues and the Department of Justice. In a series of court battles the state has been unable to achieve success so far.
At issue in the latest appeal was whether a 2014 New Jersey law repealing prohibitions against sports gambling violates PASPA, a 1992 federal ban in all states except Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware.
Another perhaps hopeful sign is the American Gaming Association's reaction to the court's finding; in a statement the Association declared:
"Today’s decision by the Third Circuit on sports betting and how gaming is regulated encourages deeper examination about the best path forward on this issue. With Americans betting at least $140 billion on sports illegally each year, it's clear that current law is not achieving its intended result.”
In an early reaction from New Jersey, a state Attorney General’s Office spokesman said it was considering its options, whilst state lawmaker Rep. Frank LoBiondo said he will continue to push for legalised sports betting in Congress, but the fastest route remains through the judiciary.
State Sen. James Whelan, said the appeal court's decision was disappointing but not unexpected, adding that he is convinced that legalised sports betting will eventually come to New Jersey.
Sen Whelan opined that real benefits for the state could flow if sports betting was not only legalised, but embraced online betting as well, complementing the states existing online casino and poker gambling offers.
National Football League spokesman Greg Aiello was non-committal when approached by the media, saying only:
"The decision speaks for itself."