Sept 18, 2013 – A panel of three judges from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against New Jersey’s proposed sports betting law Tuesday, saying that it conflicted directly with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA)
The 1992 law effectively banned sports betting across the U.S., with exceptions in Oregon, Montana, Delaware, and Nevada.
While New Jersey could petition for a second hearing in front of the 3rd Circuit Appeals court, it is more likely that the state will see its final chance in front of the Supreme Court, testing the constitutionality of PAPSA.
According to an Associated Press report, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp suggested in March that the best way for New Jersey to realize its sports betting goals would be through Congress, with PAPSA being either amended or altogether repealed.
Tuesday’s 2-1 decision against New Jersey’s proposed law supported Shipp’s opinion that the case raised “novel” questions.
Judge Thomas Vanaskie offered the lone dissenting opinion in Tuesday’s decision, and further supported Shipp’s concern that PAPSA may be an unconstitutional law.
“PAPSA attempts to implement federal policy by telling the states that they may not regulate an otherwise unregulated activity. The Constitution affords Congress no such power,” Vanaskie said.
Gov. Chris Christie, who Forbes magazine described Tuesday as an “ardent supporter of allowing sports betting as a means to bring money into the state,” has said he’ll continue to pursue this issue, and is willing to take it to the Supreme Court if necessary.
A Christie spokesman, Colin Reed, echoed those claims to the AP Tuesday: “The judge agrees with New Jersey’s central argument – that the law is unconstitutional since it prevents sports betting in New Jersey against the wishes of its own elected officials and citizens.”
“Two years ago, the people of New Jersey voted overwhelmingly to bring sports betting to New Jersey, and the governor agrees with his constituents,” Reed said. “There’s no reason [sports betting] should be limited to only a handful of states. It’s a fundamental issue of fairness.”