NFL among leagues suing against N.J. sports gambling law

0:53 | NFL
NFL among leagues suing over N.J. sports gambling law
Monday October 20th, 2014

The NCAA joined the NFL and other professional sports leagues in filing a lawsuit Monday saying New Jersey violated a decades-old prohibition on state-approved sports betting.

Under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, only four states (Delaware, Montana, Oregon and Nevada) are permitted to offer sports gambling.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie on Friday signed a bill into law that authorizes sports betting at race tracks and casinos within the state -- one day after the state assembly approved the bill.

Also on Friday, The Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., announced that it will begin accepting wagers on sporting events on Oct. 26.

State Senator (D-NJ) Raymond Lesniak told that the leagues intend to file for an injunction on Tuesday.

According to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, the leagues view the latest bill as "in clear and flagrant violation of federal law -- to accomplish what it unsuccessfully attempted to do three years ago: sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license or authorize gambling on amateur and professional sports at state-licensed casinos and horse racetracks. Because this effort is no more lawful than New Jersey's past ones, it, too, should be enjoined."

Lesniak says it's a state's right, under general police powers, to restrict where an activity can take place.

A U.S. Court of Appeals panel in 2013 ruled against New Jersey's law approving sports gambling, which Christie signed into law in 2012A district judge in 2013 issued an injunction against the New Jersey law and ruled that PASPA was constitutional. 

The NCAA, MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL also filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the law on the grounds that it threatens the "character and integrity" of sporting contests.

In September, one month after vetoing a bill exempting the state under PASPA, Christie told casinos and horse-racing tracks in New Jersey that because of the 2012 law, they would not be prosecuted by state law enforcement. The judge postponed an Oct. 31 hearing over whether the 2013 injunction permits sports betting in New Jersey that isn't regulated by the state. 

The Attorney General's Office filed a motion with Shipp saying that the State Attorney General John Hoffman's directive to exempt casinos and horse-racing tracks from prosecution by state law enforcement comports with the injunction.

- Chris Johnson

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