Will sports betting ever come to New Jersey?
That question was back in a Philadelphia federal appeals court Wednesday, when 12 judges heard arguments over whether New Jersey was within its rights to repeal its ban on sports betting at casinos and race tracks in 2014.<
A 1992 federal law barred most states, including New Jersey, from authorizing or regulating sports betting.
Theodore Olson, the attorney representing New Jersey, said the 1992 federal law was unconstitutional because it forced the state to pass a law banning sports betting, which he said violated the 10th Amendment.
Olson added that lifting the ban did not equate with authorizing sports betting, which Gov. Chris Christie and state lawmakers have said could help the state’s ailing casino and race track gambling industry.
When pressed by the judges on the potential fallout of lifting the ban, Olson acknowledged that sports betting would be unregulated by the state, which led one judge to question whether New Jersey would become the “Wild East” of gaming.
Paul Clement, the attorney representing the four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA, argued that carving out a part of the state’s ban on sports betting to allow wagers at casinos and race tracks amounted to a de facto authorization of sports betting in certain areas, which he said violated the 1992 law.
The last time this case was before this court, a three-judge panel ruled against New Jersey.A decision on Wednesday’s hearing is not expected for several months. The loser could appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States.