Pro leagues launch new challenge over New Jersey sports betting

21 October 2014

Four major North American professional sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have filed a motion against New Jersey’s decision to legalise sports betting in the US state.

Governor Chris Christie on Friday signed a bill to repeal partially the state’s prohibition on sports betting.

The bill, which also received approval by a vote of 27-1 from state lawmakers, will allow New Jersey casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting services under the provision that bets are placed on events outside of the state to avoid conflict with a 1992 federal law.

Monmouth Park Racetrack, one of the state’s oldest thoroughbred tracks, could begin offering such services as early as October 26.

Despite the state having backed the new bill, four major North American professional sports leagues and the NCAA have hit out at the decision to allow legal sports betting to take place.

The NFL American football league, NBA basketball, NHL ice hockey and MLB baseball are all opposed to the bill.

The sporting organisations, which last month also filed a court challenge against the bill, have now launched a motion to prevent the state from offering sports betting.

According to paperwork filed in US District Court yesterday (Monday), the organisations view the new bill as “in clear and flagrant violation of federal law – to accomplish what it unsuccessfully attempted to do three years ago: sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license or authorise gambling on amateur and professional sports at state-licensed casinos and horse racetracks. Because this effort is no more lawful than New Jersey's past ones, it, too, should be enjoined”.

Various media reports suggest that the latest complaint is due to be heard by a judge in Trenton later today (Tuesday).

The leagues will have to prove that immediate and irreparable harm will come from Monmouth Park taking bets on their respective games in order to be granted an injunction.

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