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After a two-year legal battle and $3 million spent on attorneys fees, New Jersey’s hopes for legalizing sports betting have been dashed.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to consider the state’s bid to revive its sports wagering law. The high court said New Jersey can’t allow betting on sports because of a 1992 federal law, known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, that bars most states from licensing such wagers.
In 2011, voters in the state approved state-sanctioned sport wagering, and Gov. Chris Christie sign it into law the follow year. But a group of sports organization, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League, sue the state to block the law saying it would harm the integrity of their sports.
Nevada is a notable exception to the federal ban on sports wagering because 22 years ago its sports betting laws were grandfathered into the federal law. Sports betting is also legal in Oregon, Montana and Delaware.
After two federal courts rejected New Jersey’s arguments that the federal law was unconstitutional, the Supreme Court decline to hear New Jersey’s appeal.
So what’s next for sports betting in the U.S.? For now it will it remain mostly an illegal business operated by bookies or off-shore websites? What will happen to bookmaker William Hill’s plans to expand into New Jersey? The company already operates race and sports books in Nevada and is the odds maker for the Delaware state Lottery’s NFL parlay cards.
Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill U.S.