December 4 Will Be A Historic Day, As SCOTUS Hears The NJ Sports Betting Case

Updated on October 19, 2017
Supreme Court date NJ sports gambling


There was a time when the thought of New Jersey being home to sports betting was nothing more than a pipe dream.

Now, on Dec. 4, the state of New Jersey and the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association will present oral arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States. The court case will be the furthest the state has gotten in three attempts to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and make sports betting legal in New Jersey.

Should New Jersey gain the victory, Gov. Chris Christie told he expects betting across the country on the 2018 Super Bowl.

“If they say that states should make the decisions, New Jersey voters have already decided by a two-thirds vote [in a 2011 referendum] that they want sports gambling, and so that’s what we would do in our state, and I assume a lot of other states would follow,” Christie said.

The Dec. 4 hearing will not include a decision. But the court will hear oral arguments from New Jersey and its opponents, the NCAA and the country’s professional sports leagues. The SCOTUS decision is expected in late spring or early summer of 2018.

NJ says PASPA violates states’ rights

New Jersey’s chief argument is that the federal government doesn’t have a right to bar states from passing sports betting laws. PASPA basically froze states’ ability to pass such legislation when Congress passed it in 1992. Therefore, only the states that allowed gambling at the time (Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon) have it today.

New Jersey will argue Congress passing a law preventing states from passing their own is a violation of the 10th Amendment.

Public, judges moving toward legal sports betting

One sign of optimism for New Jersey is a recent Washington Post poll indicating the majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing sports betting for the first time since PASPA was passed.

According to the poll, 55 percent of Americans support legalizing sports betting while 33 percent are against it. Those numbers are far different than results from a poll in 1993, which was practically the reverse.

This sea change could be an indication of the nation’s sentiments — and possibly the Supreme Court’s — in favor of a practice already legal in four states. added further evidence to this trend by pointing out Judge Julio Fuentes, one of the justices who initially supported a district court’s decision to deny New Jersey sports betting, is now in favor of allowing the state to legalize wagering on sports.

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