US Department of Justice opposes New Jersey sports betting plans

2 October 2014

The US Department of Justice has reportedly joined the country’s major sports leagues in opposing an effort by New Jersey to allow sports betting in the state’s casinos and racetracks despite a federal ban.

According to the PressofAtlanticCity.com website, the federal government branded the state’s legal strategy as “meritless theory” and called on District Judge Michael Shipp to keep an existing court order in place to halt the plans.

The Department of Justice has echoed the arguments of the professional sports leagues in stating that New Jersey’s plan violates the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The Act bans sports betting outside Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon, which all received exemptions to maintain sports betting before the US Congress enacted the law in 1992.

Led by state Senator Ray Lesniak, lawmakers in New Jersey have said that PASPA only prohibits the state from authorising and regulating sports betting.

Under the state’s plans, New Jersey will take a hands-off approach to sports betting by not formally authorising or regulating it, but at the same time not prosecuting venues for offering such services.

The plans also state that betting can be offered with the provision that bets are placed on events outside of the state, so as not to conflict with a 1992 federal law.

Earlier this week, Lesniak and State Senator Joseph Kyrillos unveiled legislation to abolish language in state law that prohibits sports betting as part of an effort to boost New Jersey’s legal position.

Related articles:

Pro leagues challenge New Jersey over sports betting

New Jersey set to allow sports betting