A federal court of appeals upheld a decision that the 2012 sportsbetting legislation of the US state of New Jersey would violate federal laws and should not be enforced.
The three-man US Court of Appeals panel in Philadelphia ruled 2-1 that the law, which premits betting on professional and college sports at racetracks and Atlantic City casinos, should be overruled by an earlier Act that restricts sports gambling.
“We are not asked to judge the wisdom of… of New Jersey’s law, or of the desirability of the activities they seek to regulate,” the court said. “We speak only to the legality of these measures as a matter of constitutional law.”
State Senator Raymond Lesniak, who supports sportsbetting, told the Bloomberg news agency that the state would appeal to the US Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals to have the ruling overturned.
Referring to the 2-1 ruling result, Lesniak had earlier told the Reuters news agency “For the first time, a judge has ruled in our favour. That gives us hope that others… will allow New Jersey to enjoy the economic benefits of sportsbetting that are now reserved exclusively for Nevada.”
The judge to vote in favour of the law, Thomas Vanaskie, said that he believed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which was cited as pre-empting the new law on sportsbetting, violates federal principles.
Governor Chris Christie last year authorised sportsbetting at New Jersey racetracks and Atlantic City casinos, but sports leagues sued and a federal judge blocked the law in March 2013.
New Jersey had been hoping to legalise sports wagering to generate revenue for Atlantic City’s gambling industry, which has suffered due to the opening of casinos in other states.