Judge upholds Federal Ban on New Jersey Sports Betting

For the past few months, New Jersey has been making strides to challenge the federal ban on sports betting. However, Judge Michael Shipp of Federal District Court ruled in favor the ban, just like he had done when the case was presented to him in the past.

Despite the ruling, don’t expect New Jersey government officials to give up on the matter. “We are going to continue pursuing every legal option available,” Stephen M. Sweeney, President of the State Senate, told the press. “The economic impact that sports wagering can have on New Jersey is far too important to simply shrug our shoulders and move on.”

In past years, New Jersey tried to challenge the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 by wanting to regulate the activity. However, this time around, they merely sought to end the ban on it while allowing private companies to offer sportsbooks. The Monmouth Park racing track was set to be the first location that would begin offering sports bets in New Jersey.

Shipp noted that he “finds that the present case is not nearly as clear as either the leagues or defendants assert.” He also disagreed with some of what the sports leagues like the MLB, NFL, NHL and NCAA have been arguing in regard to New Jersey’s revamped sports betting effort. But in the end, Shipp sided with the leagues, stating that the Garden State limiting sports wagering to certain areas still amounts to regulation.

Politicians like Gov. Chris Christie and NJ State Senator Ray Lesniak were hoping for legal sports betting for the sake of Atlantic City casinos. Moreover, allowing sports bets would give the struggling gaming destination another offering at a desperate time of need. Four of the city’s casinos have already closed, while the Trump Taj Mahal plans to close in December.

Professional sports leagues and the NCAA have sought to keep sports betting contained throughout the United States for fear of corrupting their games. The Chicago Black Sox Scandal of 1919 is one that still resonates with leagues even today. Currently, PASPA only allows for four states to offer sports betting because they were grandfathered into the law. They include Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. New Jersey politicians have consistently pointed out the un-justness of Nevada, a rival gaming destination, offering sports betting while they can’t.