NJ Lawmaker Urges SCOTUS Review of Sports Betting Case

New Jersey U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone has sent a letter to the acting U.S. solicitor general asking for an endorsement of the state’s position in the case challenging the federal sports betting ban. It’s already on the agenda of the Supreme Court, but recent developments have made it more time sensitive.

A U.S. congressman representing New Jersey is attempting to jump-start the state’s challenge to the federal law banning sports betting by appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

The case is a lawsuit brought by the National Football League and other professional sports leagues, along with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, challenging a New Jersey law signed by Governor Chris Christie that would establish a state-regulated sports betting program.

The lawsuit was filed on the basis of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which bans sports betting in all but four grandfathered states, and bans complete Las Vegas-style sports wagering in all states but Nevada. Judges in lower courts have sided with the sports leagues in ruling that New Jersey’s law would violate PASPA.

The state has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on a states’ rights argument, contending individual states should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to permit sports betting. It is a position that has been supported by the American Gaming Association, which is currently in the middle of a campaign to have Congress repeal PASPA.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) sent a letter to Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall, urging him to endorse a Supreme Court review of the case. The Solicitor General’s Office id expected to file a brief with the court by the end of the month with a recommendation on whether or not the high court should review the case.

Pallone’s letter said the case is worthy of review because it is a “legal question of major importance” that “equally affects every state and the prerogatives of its citizens.”

The letter stated that should the Supreme Court decline to review the case—affirming and finalizing the lower-court rulings—it would lead to a continuance of conflict and confusion surrounding the sports betting issue.

“Without the Supreme Court’s review and a decision on this appeal, these areas of disagreement and conflict will inevitably grow and lead to more confusion,” Pallone wrote. “After all, the question of how a state authorizes sports gambling by law or compact without violating PASPA remains extremely hazy… New Jersey should have the same opportunity to proceed with sports betting that has been allowed in other states.”

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