The Supreme Court is taking up New Jersey's bid to allow sports betting at its casinos and racetracks. The leagues twice sued New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after he signed sports betting legislation in 2012 and 2014. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act [text] prohibits most states from operating a gambling system based on professional or college sports.
The sports betting landscape in the US has shifted significantly as the New Jersey case played out over the past five years. Nevada is the only state where sports betting is legal.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the New Jersey law previous year, ruling that the law violated the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that forbids state-authorized sports gambling. Raymond Lesniak, a Democrat who has led that state's effort to legalize sports gambling, told the Associated Press a win for the state would give an additional boost to casinos.
The court is likely to hear the appeal during its fall session, with the "merit briefs" scheduled to be filed by August.
The state is hoping to get a slice of the estimated $150 billion that's illegally wagered on sports each year. Aside from straight betting on games, Fantasy Sports is what's helping to keep it the most popular US sport.
New Jersey wants to overturn the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which banned sports gambling in all but four states, to various degrees: Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. Until now, three lower courts ruled in favour of the sports betting opponents with a federal appeals court upholding the federal ban in 2016.
Earlier this month, the AGA put together the stakeholder-comprised American Sports Betting Coalition with a view to tackling and updating or repealing the "failing" ban once and for all.
The NFL has stayed silent on this case since it's original involvement in 2014, and hasn't released a comment on the Supreme Court's impending hearing.
Several major sports leagues are arguing that the law should be upheld, even though some executives, including NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, have recently either called for legal gambling or signaled they're more open to it. In May, Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall submitted an opinion advising the Supreme Court to pass on the case. "(But) I'm encouraged by it.
"We are pleased the Supreme Court appears to have responded favorably to our arguments as to why they should hear this important case", CEO of the American Gaming Association Geoff Freeman said.