After a federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled this week that New Jersey cannot implement sports betting, Gov. Chris Christie said he would take New Jersey’s case to the U.S. Supreme Court. During a campaign event in Paramus, he said, when asked if he was going to take the case to the Supreme Court, “Yes, if the Supreme Court will take it … We’re definitely going to ask them to.”
Christie does seem to have a genuine grievance as the appeals court blocked New Jersey’s Sports Betting law on the ground that a federal statute allows sports betting only in four states – Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.
The NJ Sports Betting law was signed last year in a bid to revitalize the state’s economy. Even though the casinos welcomed the law, none opened a sports betting counter for fear of federal raids and shutdowns.
The fears were not unfounded as the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals pointed out in their decision. The New Jersey law apparently conflicts with the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that protects only four states when it comes to sports betting and prohibits such action in all other states of the country.
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a leading force behind the law said that hope was not lost and the fact that at least one judge in the three-judge panel dissented creates hope to “allow New Jersey to enjoy the economic benefits of sports betting.”
The question that remains why sports betting should remain legalized only in four states and not be allowed in all states of the country at a time when lottery, card tables and slot machines are allowed everywhere.