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New Jersey’s Betting Legalisation Plan at Supreme Court

- June 28, 2017 By Oliver Young -

The decision will set a precedent for other states.

At some point in 2018 we will know if betting has a future in New Jersey,

New Jersey is one of the most enthusiastic American states when it comes to putting forward a legal framework that will allow citizens to have access to betting and gambling services, both online, as well as at land-based facilities. New Jersey legalised online casino gambling in 2011, thus becoming one of the few states where residents can freely and without any limitations visit a licenced online casino and player their favourite games.

The Justice Department issued an opinion towards the end of 2011 in which it was stated that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting, and therefore it is not illegal for New Jersey to allow online casino gambling. But, it also meant that it couldn’t legalise sports betting which was something that the NJ administration also intended to do.

The Supreme Court Has Finally Accepted New Jersey’s Appeal

The opinion of the Justice Department didn’t stop online betting legalisation proponents in New Jersey to continue with their plans and try to find a legal solution for the problem. The American Gaming Association gave its support to New Jersey, and some even suggested challenging the constitutionality of the Wire Act. The fight was on and nobody had the intention to throw in the towel.

Finally, New Jersey decided to present the matter to the Supreme Court. A lower court found that legalising online betting would be a breach of federal laws, i.e. the Wire Act. However, those who are in favour of online betting, argue that states should have the right to decide on such matters.

Now, it is clear, the Supreme Court confirmed that it would review the two appeals submitted by New Jersey, in a move that might end the ban on sports betting once and for all. One of the appeals was filed directly by the state, whereas the other was submitted by the association of owners of horses that participate in horseraces.

The date has not been set yet, but New Jersey’s legal representatives are already getting ready, and so are the opponents of online betting legalisation, which include the Department of Justice, but also some of the representatives of the professional sports leagues.

New Jersey Might Set a Precedent for other States

Of course, there’s still a long way to go. The stakeholders will start submitting supporting documentation in August and the Court will reply by the end of October. Realistically, we can expect an outcome during 2018.

The decision of the Court to accept New Jersey’s petition is very important though, since in 2014 a similar plan was rejected. The new plan for legalisation was slightly different and it followed the suggestions that were put forward by the US Solicitor General, and many agree that New Jersey has a rather strong case on their hands.

New Jersey’s actions and plans have encouraged many other states to consider online betting legalisation and it has been suggested that if the Court rules in favour of New Jersey, at least several states would not be waiting too long before they legalise betting.

It seems that many professional leagues have employed a less restrictive attitude towards betting, with some representatives even hinting that legalisation would be acceptable.

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