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Supreme Court to hear NJ appeal over betting law

By Robert Simmons
The US Supreme Court has confirmed that it will conduct a review of a previous court decision which, if rejected, could pave the way for the legalisation of sports gambling at New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks.

Supreme Court justices will review an August 2016 ruling by the Philadelphia-based 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals that an earlier 2014 New Jersey statute permitting sports betting at casinos and racetracks effectively violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992 (PASPA), which prohibits such gambling in all states except Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.

US Courts have previously voided two New Jersey laws relating to sports betting including one in 2012 which was designed to raise revenue for the state.

The previously unlawful 2014 statute would ban wagers on state college teams and limit bets to people age 21 and older at casinos and racetracks if reinstated by the court.

Several major American sports bodies are challenging this decision, namely the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and Major League Baseball.

The appeal to review the ruling is being spearheaded by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who claims that the reintroduction of the 2014 law would reinvigorate New Jersey’s gambling industry and generate as much as $1bn worth of bets in the first year alone.

In the appeal Governor Christie points to an earlier 1992 Supreme Court decision which said that the US federal government may not “commandeer” the regulatory powers of individual states, claiming that this infringes on state sovereignty, as laid out in the US Constitution.

Confirmation that the court will hear Christie's appeal comes despite officials in the Trump administration previously urging justices not to hear the case.

The case will be heard when the Supreme Court enters its next term in October.

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