For several years, the State of New Jersey has been fighting to legalize sports betting and was hoping to become the latest state allowed to bet on sports. Unfortunately for thousands of sports bettors in New Jersey and the surrounding area, their latest effort was stopped Tuesday by a federal appeals court.
The State New Jersey sports betting advocates were hoping for a favorable decision after a three year battle against national sports organizations. This battle of will has been closely watched by several lawmakers in the US who are believe that legalizing sports betting as an opportunity to help the state budget.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia upheld a lower court ruling that had voided the state’s repeal of some prohibitions against sports gambling. The judges however, were not swayed to their side in a 2-to-1 decision, that New Jersey’s efforts to allow its casinos and racetracks to take bets violated the 1992 U.S. Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA.
Many people in the gambling industry had their opinion of the matter. Many overseas companies that run an online sportsbook were hoping to see the law past to further enhance the chance of becoming a legal entity in New Jersey. Others however, were happy to see the appeal fail as it kept the status quo for illegal online sports betting which is estimated to be bringing around $400 billion annually in bets.
Fantasy sports operators were also happy with the results as they are currently able to operate under the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006” bringing millions of dollars in their pocket every year. The latest statistics show that 57 million people in the United States and Canada participated in fantasy sports this year.
“The bigger winner today is the daily fantasy companies who now have the legal sports gambling space all to themselves for years to come,” said Daniel L. Wallach, a sports and gambling lawyer at Becker & Poliakoff. “The sports league benefited again as well because now they get to control the timing of when and how legal sports betting eventually gets implemented.”
On the other side of the issue are the national sports organizations like the NBA(despite having Commissioner Adam Silver in favor of legalized sports gambling), the NHL and MLB who claim that legalizing sports betting in New Jersey would “irreparably” corrupt sports in the United States.
“We agree with the Third Circuit’s decision reaffirming that the appropriate path to legal sports betting is through Congress,” said NBA spokesman Mike Bass. “We continue to support a federal legislative solution that would protect the integrity of the game while allowing those who engage in sports betting to do so in a legal and safe manner.”
The game however is not over according to the American Gaming Association, which represents the $240 billion U.S. casino industry. They have vowed to keep on fighting to bring legal sports gambling to a broader audience across New Jersey and the rest of the United States.