US judge blocks New Jersey sports betting bill

28 October 2014

New Jersey has been forced to delay the launch of a new legalised sports betting offering in the US state after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order.

According to various sources, US District Judge Michael Shipp gave the order in court in response to a motion that was filed by four major North American sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) just over a week ago.

The NFL American football league, NBA basketball, NHL ice hockey and MLB baseball launched a legal challenge against a new bill signed by state Governor Chris Christie to partially repeal 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.

According to paperwork filed in US District Court, the sports leagues said that the bill is “in clear and flagrant violation of federal law – to accomplish what it unsuccessfully attempted to do three years ago: sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, licence or authorise gambling on amateur and professional sports at state-licensed casinos and horse racetracks”.

Monmouth Park Racetrack, one of the state’s oldest thoroughbred tracks, had been due to begin offering such services as early as October 26, but the ruling from Shipp delayed the launch.

Despite the decision from Shipp to delay the process, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said that New Jersey would continue to fight the lawsuit in the hope of launching legal sport betting in the state.

“We continue to have full confidence in the strength and appropriateness of our position as we move forward in the litigation,” New Jersey said in a statement.

Related articles:

Pro leagues launch new challenge over New Jersey sports betting

New Jersey Governor Christie signs sports betting bill

New Jersey senate approves sports betting plans