New Jersey’s latest attempt to legalize Las Vegas-style sports betting was again struck down by a federal court on Tuesday, a decision that could leave lawmakers in the state to consider a so-called “nuclear option.”
The Third US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that New Jersey cannot enforce a 2014 law permitting wagering on sports at racetracks and casinos by a 10-2 vote.
The court found the law to be in violation of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, upholding an August 2015 ruling by a three judge panel that the law amounted to de facto authorisation of betting.
Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell wrote in her report that the court “continue to find PASPA constitutional,” while states “may not use clever drafting or mandatory construction provisions to escape the supremacy of federal law.”
New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak has not abandoned hope for the state’s sports-betting effort, registering his intention to ask the US Supreme Court to hear the case and examine additional opportunities within the state.
Lesniak, quoted by ESPN, said: “It’s a long shot, but at least we have two dissenting votes on our side.
“Second, I’m going to test the public’s, legislature’s and the governor’s temperature on repealing all our laws on sports betting and using the extensive police powers of the state to restrict the locations where sports betting can take place, for instance, like we do with gentlemen’s clubs.
“I’ll also beef up our office of consumer affairs to closely oversee the operations to protect the consumer.”