High Court to Weigh New Jersey’s Sports-Gambling Law

WASHINGTON (CN) – New Jersey’s attempts to legalize sports betting despite a longstanding federal law will face Supreme Court scrutiny next term, the justices said Tuesday.

When Congress passed PASPA, short for the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, in 1992 as a way to prohibit state-sanctioned sports gambling, it offered an exemption to any state that enacted a sports-gambling scheme within the next year.

New Jersey missed that deadline but has been scrambling to rectify that in recent years as its racetracks and Atlantic City scenes are on the decline.

In 2014, the Garden State repealed all of its prohibitions on gambling — having been unsuccessful with its first attempt, the 2012 Sports Wagering Law.

The National Football League, National Collegiate Athletic Association and other sports leagues have challenged the state’s 2014 sports-betting law in court, however, casting the scheme as an end-run around PASPA.

Though the en banc Third Circuit struck down New Jersey’s law in a 10-2 opinion last summer, several developments on the national scale could give the state an edge in its appeal to the Supreme Court.

One consideration is that the Supreme Court is back to full strength with the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, a nominee of the casino-friendly President Donald Trump.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also acted as a surrogate for Trump on the campaign trail, though his current position with the administration is unclear.

The election for Christie’s successor is set for Nov. 7.

Per its custom, the Supreme Court did not issue any statement in agreeing to take up New Jersey’s case Tuesday.

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