US Supreme Court to hear New Jersey sports betting case

28 June 2017

New Jersey’s bid to revive a state statute legalising sports betting has been given a major boost after the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Last year, a federal appeals court ruled the 2014 New Jersey statute that permits sports betting at casinos and racetracks in the state violated a 1992 federal law prohibiting such wagering activities in all US states, with the exception of Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.

New Jersey, with support from Governor Chris Christie, approached the Supreme Court to hear an appeal that its law violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The US state had argued that its federal law infringes on state sovereignty, as laid out in the US Constitution, and the Reuters news agency has reported that the Supreme Court will now hear the argument.

So far, courts have voided two New Jersey laws based on legalising certain forms of sports betting in the state, with the latest banning bets on state college teams, limiting wagering to punters aged 21 or over at casinos and racetracks, only.

Leading North American sports organisations such as Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League, as well as the National Collegiate Athletic Association, have all voiced their opposition to the law.

Oral arguments are set to be heard in the court’s next term, which is due to begin in October.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Philip Bowcock, William Hill’s chief executive, has praised the move, describing it as a “welcome development”.

Bowcock said: “It is time that it was recognised that PASPA has failed as a law; we believe it is right that all parties, including the American sports leagues, now come together and establish a new framework of regulation.

“That will enable sports betting to be enjoyed by millions of Americans.

“At the same time more than 100,000 jobs could be created and billions of tax raised. William Hill is now Nevada’s leading sports betting company and we stand ready to take advantage of an opening up of the sports betting market in other states.”

Related article: New Jersey sports betting decision delayed