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Chris Sieroty

Christie to take New Jersey's sports betting fight to U.S. Supreme Court

25 November 2013

If New Jersey wants to offer race and sports betting at casinos and racetracks statewide, it is going to need an assist from the U.S. Supreme Court.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will ask the Supreme Court to allow the state to move forward with sports gambling after a federal appeals court last week declined to rehear the case, a spokesman said Friday.

“Gov. Christie has said all along this issue should be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and that’s what he hopes will happen next,” Colin Reed, a spokesman for the governor, said in a statement.

Reed said the governor has asked attorneys representing New Jersey to file the necessary paperwork.

Major League Baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and the NCAA sued to stop New Jersey from opening race and sports books after Christie signed the legislation last year to make it legal. The professional leagues say allowing more states to offer betting would risk damaging the integrity of their individual sports leagues.

Christie and the state’s lawyers have argued that the 1992 federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is unconstitutional. The federal law prohibits states from legalizing or regulating sports betting.

New Jersey has lost two rounds of court cases over its efforts to implement sports wagering, first in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J., and then in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

“The people of New Jersey voted overwhelmingly to bring sports betting to New Jersey,” Reed said. “The governor agrees with his constituents and will not give up the fight.”

Voters by an almost 2-to-1 margin approved of sports betting in a referendum on the November 2011 ballot. Sports wagering is legal in four states – Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.