SBD/March 1, 2013/Sports in Society

Judge Grants Permanent Injunction Barring New Jersey Sports Betting; Appeal Likely

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shipp on Thursday "granted a permanent injunction to bar New Jersey from offering sports betting as well as a summary judgment, stopping the state’s efforts for now but likely setting up an appeal," according to John Brennan of the Bergen RECORD. Shipp sided with the NCAA, NFL, et al. in their "desire to prevent New Jersey from adding such gambling at the state’s racetracks and casinos." Shipp, in a 45-page opinion, wrote that Congress "had a 'rational basis' to allow Nevada to keep its extensive betting, allow three other states to continue limited sports gambling, and bar the other 46 states from doing so." A statewide referendum to approve sports betting in New Jersey received 64% of the vote in Nov. '11 "in spite of the federal law." The Democratic-controlled New Jersey legislature and Gov. Chris Christie then "quickly turned the voter sentiment into state law." The ruling was a "traditional one, as many insiders had suggested" that it would be. Shipp in a footnote suggests that the state’s proposed continued ban on betting on New Jersey college events "shows the 'deleterious' effects of sports betting" (NORTHJERSEY.com, 3/1). Attorneys for the leagues have said that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act "doesn't supersede the authority of state legislatures because it doesn't require any affirmative actions such as enacting laws" (AP, 2/28).
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