New Jersey Suffers Sports Betting Setback

A judge in New Jersey agreed with four major sports associations that a 21 year old bill prohibiting sports betting in the Garden State should be upheld.  Yet, despite United States District Court Judge Michael Shipp’s decision, Governor Chris Christie has vowed to fight the ruling and to appeal it at the earliest possible moment.

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“We believe firmly in the principles of our position on sports betting and that the federal ban is inequitable, violates New Jersey’s rights as a state and is unconstitutional,” Christie on Friday. “Even the trial judge has noted that he was not likely the final arbiter in the matter. We are confident that the federal court of appeals will conclude that New Jersey should be treated equally with other states.”

The four major sports leagues, as well as the National Collegiate Athletics Association, called for the rejection of New Jersey’s constitutional challenge to the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which essentially bans sports betting in all states, except for Nevada and three others.  After the ruling on Thursday, the NCAA put out a statement saying that “the spread of legalized sports wagering is a threat to the integrity of athletic competition and student-athlete well-being. We hope the decision in this case is a step in the direction of preventing that from happening.”

Governor Christie, however, is determined to save New Jersey’s floundering gambling industry and has vowed to do all he can to tap into the multi million dollar sports betting market.  Last week, he signed into law a bill that will see the introduction of legalized and regulated online casino and poker games from Atlantic City casinos.  New Jersey thus became the third state, and certainly the largest, to allow online gambling within its borders. The addition of legalized sports betting would be a huge boost to this new law.

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