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Court Rules Sports Gambling is Still Illegal in New Jersey

- August 26, 2015 By Oliver Young -

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The NBA league appears to have softened its opposition to expanding sports betting in New Jersey

Even though New Jersey bided to bring legalized sports gambling in the state, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled against it in a 2 to 1 vote.

Last year people in New Jersey voted in favor of the referendum to bring sports betting in the state. The state argued that this doesn’t violate the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 because in a way the state did authorize sports gambling partially when it legalized racetracks and casinos. According to PASPA of 1992, sports gambling is legalized and limited to Delaware, Oregon, Nevada and Montana and other US states are forbidden for authorizing it.

Ruling in Favor of the Opposition

The opposition, comprised of four professional sports leagues and the NCAA, sued to prevent the passing of the law arguing that the repeal of the law proposed by New Jersey would actually mean a legalization of sports gambling in the state which is against PASPA. On Tuesday, August 25, 2015, the Third Circuit Court agreed.

Christopher Soriano, an attorney who has been closing looking into the matter, said on his Twitter profile that the legalization in 2014 according to the court provides an authorization of conduct which is completely prohibited in legal terms. He also added that specific permission amounts to authorizing that which is prohibited by the Act of 1992.

One of the four pro sports leagues to oppose the legalization and expansion of sports betting in the New Jersey is the NBA, but according to recent comments from commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA might be softening its opposition. In 2014 when the state wanted to repeal its prohibition, Silver said that morally he has no opposition to sports betting and that he expects that this form of gambling to be legalized nationwide in the near future. He also hopes that the NBA teams would gain profit from this eventual decision.

The NBA league said in a statement on Tuesday that it supports a federal solution to the sports gambling matter saying that they agree with the ruling of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals confirming again that the right path to legalize sports gambling is through Congress.

NJ Legalized Sports Betting to Help Boost Gambling Revenues

One of the biggest reasons why New Jersey wants to authorize sports gambling in the state is because it believes it would help prop up the fortunes and boost gambling revenues of its casinos and racetracks which have been hit by the competition in neighboring Pennsylvania and Maryland. For this reason, in 2011, New Jersey bided to establish state sponsored sports betting and challenged the PASPA of 1992 in court. However, the proposed law was denied and never took effect because of the challenge from the opposition.

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