New Jersey dismisses pro leagues’ sports betting claims

24 October 2014

New Jersey has claimed that a legal challenge from four major North American professional sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) over new sports betting legislation in the US state “cannot be credited”.

Earlier this week, the four leagues and the NCAA filed a motion against New Jersey’s decision to legalise sports betting in the state, claiming that the new bill signed last week by Governor Chris Christie was in “flagrant violation” of federal law.

The bill, which also received approval by a vote of 27-1 from state lawmakers, will partially repeal the state’s prohibition on sports betting by allowing New Jersey casinos and racetracks to offer such services, providing that bets are placed on events outside of the state to avoid conflict with a 1992 federal law.

The leagues launched the motion in an effort to prevent the state from offering sports betting from as early as this weekend, with Monmouth Park Racetrack, one of the state’s oldest thoroughbred tracks, due to begin offering such services from this Sunday.

In a filing unveiled yesterday (Thursday), the leagues and the NCAA branded New Jersey’s reasoning as “indefensible folly” and said that allowing spots betting would violate the state’s own constitution and that federal courts have the jurisdiction to intervene.

The NFL American football league, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball are all opposed to the bill.

In a filing on Wednesday, the state accused the leagues of attempting to have federal government interfere with state affairs.

“Plaintiffs' claims that their multi-billion-dollar businesses will suffer irreparable damage from even short-term wagering at Monmouth Park – when similar wagering has taken place throughout the State of Nevada for more than 50 years, and to a much greater extent – are unsubstantiated and cannot be credited,” the brief states, according to the Associated Press news agency.

The latest filing comes after the leagues and the NCAA also launched a legal challenge last month against the new regulations.

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