December 22,2012 : SPORTS LEAGUES HAVE STANDING TO CHALLENGE NEW JERSEY ON BETTING (Update)
First round to the leagues as federal judge rules
New Jersey has lost a round in its legal battle with US sports leagues over the Garden State's new legalization permitting sports betting
In his judgement issued Friday following oral arguments earlier in the week by the litigating parties, Trenton District Court federal judge Michael Shipp said that the leagues had legal standing – the right to challenge and sue New Jersey – over the new sports betting law.
The leagues want to stop the state from implementing its new sports betting law, which itself challenges the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a discriminatory federal law that permits sports betting in only four states.
Judge Shipp also gave notice that a hearing on the Constitutional issues involved in facing off against the 20-year-old PASPA would be held sometime after January 20, 2013, giving an opportunity for the federal government to intervene in the case.
New Jersey governor and former US Attorney Chris Christie, who has signed the state bill into law, commented:
“This is just the first step in all this. We intend to move forward and to issue sports gaming licenses where appropriate, and to have this happen in our state.”
Referring to submissions by league chiefs that widening the availability of sports betting would cause irreparable harm to sport, increasing suspicion by fans of game-fixing, Christie said:
“It’s the height of hypocrisy. We have $380 billion a year being bet on professional sports and college sports in this country illegally. And they say somehow if you make it legal, that will more negatively affect the integrity of the sport. To have government handling the betting, that somehow has less integrity than having criminals handling the betting, that’s what they’re saying."