"We intend to go forward and allow sports gambling to happen, and if someone wants to stop us, then they'll have to take action to try to stop us."
Well Governor Chris Christie, ask and you shall receive. The NCAA, MLB, NBA, NFL, and the NHL (for those unfamiliar, those are the governing organizations of collegiate athletics, baseball, basketball, football, and hockey) filed suit to halt New Jersey's attempt to legalize sports gambling at the state's casinos in Atlantic City and at racetracks throughout the state, reports the Courthouse News Service.
New Jersey passed a constitutional amendment to authorize sports betting at the above locations. After the amendment was passed, state regulations were provided to the public for comment. If approved, they will take effect on August 31. Race tracks and casinos could apply for licensure immediately thereafter.
The “notice and comment” period is a standard rule-making procedure in administrative law. When an agency seeks to make rules, such as those required to govern sports gambling, they draft proposed rules and publish them. Concerned members of the public, such as law professors, the track owners, and sports teams, or even bored Uncle Joe, can send comments in on the regulations. The agency behind the regulations then reviews the comments, makes any necessary adjustments, and then either issues a revised rule for comment or finalizes the rules.
Though we’re sure they submitted a few (profane) comments regarding the sports betting regulations, the Big Four and the NCAA aren’t fighting the specific regulations. They are fighting sports betting in general. What right do they have to tell New Jersey not to allow sports betting?
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is a federal law that prohibits sports gambling, except for a few exceptions. It prohibits a governmental entity from licensing or allowing sports gambling. The language isn’t ambiguous.
The exceptions allow those who already had gambling in place (Vegas, baby!) or those who enacted it during a one year grace period in the early 90s. NJ doesn’t meet either exception. The law also allows sports leagues to sue to enforce the law, which they have done. The leagues claim that widespread sports gambling will also do irreparable damage to the leagues’ reputation. For those that doubt, see Tim Donaghy, the Black Sox, and Pete Rose.
You’ve got to wonder if Chris Christie’s got another card up his sleeve. Not only did his state sign gambling laws that apparently violates a decades-old federal law, but he then called the sports leagues to the ring. There’s got to be another play here somewhere, but we’re not seeing it. The law seems pretty clear-cut.
- Discuss Your Own Lawsuit With a New York Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB v. Christie, et al. (Complaint)
- New NFL Concussion Lawsuit Includes 100 Ex-Players (FindLaw’s Tarnished Twenty)
- Bodog Shut Down: Sports Gambling Site’s Founder Calvin Ayre Indicted (FindLaw’s Tarnished Twenty)