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New Jersey ready to roll on sports betting

By Robert Simmons
The first full day of hearings at the Supreme Court into the New Jersey sports betting case concluded without a decision by the nine justices, however New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has told reporters at the Supreme Court that New Jersey is ready to go on sports betting.

Standing on the steps of the Supreme Court, Governor Christie told reporters that “If we’re successful here, we could have bets being taken in New Jersey within two weeks of a decision (by the court).

“We’re like Boy Scouts; we’re prepared. We’re prepared in New Jersey, and we’re ready to go.”

Christie was speaking after the first full day of hearings into whether a Philadelphia-based 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals was correct in its August 2016 ruling that a 2014 New Jersey statute permitting sports betting at casinos and racetracks violated PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992).

Former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, representing New Jersey in the hearings argued that PASPA does not federally require states not to legalise sports betting and any federal intervention against states that wish to do so contravenes the tenth amendment of the US constitution.

Governor Christie echoed these arguments saying: “I think it violates the Tenth Amendment, and that’s why I think you saw so many governors join the [amicus brief] on this, because they understand that today’s sports gaming will be something else tomorrow.

“This is the fear of every government; that we’ll be at the mercy of the federal government and that they’ll make us pay for it. It’s not right, and I believe here that it’s very clear that the federal government overstepped its bounds vis-a-vis states’ rights.”

In a statement released after the first day American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman added: “Today is a positive day for the millions of Americans seeking to legally wager on sporting events. While we can’t predict the intentions of Supreme Court Justices, we can accurately predict the demise of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection of 1992 (PASPA).

The justices of the Court expressed deep interest in the role of the federal government - a role that we believe has created a thriving illegal market that has driven trillions of dollars to offshore websites and corner bookies.

States and tribal sovereign nations have proven to be effective regulators of gaming and today’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court moved them one giant step closer to offering a new product that Americans demand.”

There will be a further two days of hearings this week, before the Supreme Court retires for its Christmas break, before reconvening on January 8th.


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