New Jersey Reps get ready for sports betting case

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Representatives acting for New Jersey in the sports betting case filed legal briefs to state their stance.

US.- The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association, along with representatives acting for New Jersey, stated their case in legal briefs before the US Supreme Court meets to hear the oral arguments in the case that wants to repeal the PASPA Act and allow states to decide whether they want to offer sports betting or not.

Ted Olson, one of the main attorneys for the state of New Jersey, said in a 36-page document that PASPA’s prohibition on state “authorisation by law” impermissibly commandeers state regulatory authority by dictating the content of state law—States may not legalise sports wagering. “Because this constraint on state legalisation is central to the statutory scheme, the entire statute should fall, because Congress would not have otherwise enacted PASPA.”

Olson wrote that without this central provision, PASPA would allow States to legalise sports wagering but prohibit them from regulating it, opening the floodgates to a multi-billion dollar expansion of uncontrolled and underground sports wagering. “The Congress that enacted PASPA cannot have wanted that irrational result; to the contrary, the text of PASPA’s exceptions makes clear that Congress wanted sports wagering, wherever it might be permitted, to be regulated by States,” he said.

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association (NJTHA) added that as State Petitioners, they content that PASPA’s most natural meaning is that it commands the States to prohibit sports wagering. “Respondents and the United States do not dispute that if PASPA is interpreted this way, it is unconstitutional.”

Last week, NBA VP and assistant general counsel Dan Spillane said during a panel at the Sports Betting USA Conference in New York that the NBA has plans to lobby Congress for federal changes and regulations to betting law regardless of the outcome of New Jersey’s case.

Spillane explained that whilst the NBA is against New Jersey in the December 4 hearings, the league and the state are both on the same side: “Our view has been that if it’s illegal [at the federal level], that’s not the right way to start off legal sports betting in the United States — under a cloud, doing it in violation of federal law. At the same time, we agree with New Jersey on the ultimate policy outcome: that having legal, regulated sports betting in the United States is the best place to end up. The disagreement is just on how to get there.”