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Volume 24 No. 117

Sports in Society

New Jersey yesterday made a "final appeal" to be able to offer wagering on pro and college sports, while lawyers for the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and the NCAA "reiterated their position why New Jersey should be forbidden to do so," according to Suzette Parmley of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The two sides appeared in a courtroom for a one-and-a-half hour session "before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia." Ted Olson, who is representing the state in the case, said, "The leagues have not, and cannot, prove that controlling sports gambling and regulating it ... that regulation of that activity will somehow hurt the leagues." Parmley notes New Jersey seeks to join Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware as the four states "currently permitted under federal law to offer some form of sports betting." Paul Clement, an attorney representing the four leagues and the NCAA, said that the federal government's view of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of '92 had "stayed consistent over 20 years, countering Olson's claim that its interpretation of the federal law had shifted." Clement: "Congress decided back in 1992 that state-authorized gambling -- not decriminalization of it -- was a problem." Olson argued by regulating sports, New Jersey would "shine a light on that activity and make sure that people that have been convicted of felonies aren't engaging in that activity" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/27). In Newark, Ryan Hutchins notes the dispute, expected to "end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, deals with some lofty legal issues that the high court grappled with as recently as this week." Hutchins: "But for New Jersey, it comes down to some simple questions with no clear answers: Does Congress have the right to tell states which laws they can and can’t pass? And if it does have that right, must it treat all states equally?" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/27).