NBA, NFL suing New Jersey over Legal Sports Betting

Not long ago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued a directive that allows his state’s casinos and racetracks to offer legal sports betting. However, this goes against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which makes sports betting illegal in all but four states – New Jersey not being one of them. Nevertheless, the Garden State is ready to challenge federal law on this issue.

They’re also going to have to challenge four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA on this matter too. The MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL and NCAA all filed a motion today that would block Christie’s directive to allow sports wagering. At the heart of their lawsuit is that such betting “threatens the integrity of these sports.” As reported by the Washington Post, here’s one complaint from the lawsuit:

The….authorization of sports gambling in New Jersey would irreparably harm amateur and professional sports by fostering suspicion that individual plays and final scores of games may have been influenced by factors other than honest athletic competition.

This is just the latest chapter in a battle that’s been waging between New Jersey and major sports leagues for the past year. Gov. Christie and state politicians have been looking for ways to help the ailing Atlantic City economy. And they see sports betting as one way to do this, arguing that their cross-country rival, Las Vegas, offers legal sportsbooks.

However, the problem lies in the fact that Nevada is one of the four states grandfathered into the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. So sports leagues and the NCAA have heavily argued that New Jersey shouldn’t be allowed accept sports wagers.

New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak is very passionate in arguing the reverse, that they should have the same rights as Nevada. He’s even introduced a bill to the state’s government that would make legal sports betting official within New Jersey’s borders.

Lesniak has brought up the fact that both Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes – despite federal law being against this. The state senator’s hope is that the federal government will stay out of the sports betting matter just like they have with marijuana. However, the key difference remains how adamant sports leagues are in stopping New Jersey from offering sports betting.