Entertainment & Sports Law

New Jersey loses bet on sports gambling in 3rd Circuit; 'clever drafting' doesn't save the law

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A New Jersey law legalizing gambling on sports has been struck down by a federal appeals court.

The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in an en banc opinion, the New York Times and NJ.com report. How Appealing links to additional coverage and the opinion (PDF).

The 3rd Circuit found the New Jersey law conflicts with a federal law that bans state-sanctioned sports gambling in most states. The appeals court also held the federal law does not commandeer the states in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

New Jersey had argued it did not violate the federal ban because it was repealing its ban on sports betting at casinos and racetracks, rather than affirmatively authorizing it.

“The presence of the word ‘repeal’ does not prevent us from examining what the provision actually does,” the 3rd Circuit said. “This is an authorization.”

New Jersey had also pointed to a provision that said its law should not be construed as state sponsorship or authorization of sports gambling. The 3rd Circuit also rejected that argument.

“States may not use clever drafting or mandatory construction provisions to escape the supremacy of federal law,” the appeals court said.

A New Jersey lawmaker who led the push for sports betting told NJ.com he expected the state to seek cert with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case is he case is National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Governor of New Jersey.

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