The state of New Jersey is asking United States Supreme Court to remove the ban on sports betting because it forces the state to implement a law imposed by the Congress which has been repealed by the state.
The PAPSA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) is a 25 year old federal law that prohibits sports betting outside of Nevada.
According to New Jersey, the PAPSA law is unconstitutional because it signifies an overstepping of authority of the Congress and violates the Tenth Amendment.
New Jersey submitted filings earlier this week making an argument with regards to its appeal pending before the Supreme Court.
The state filed the appeal with the Supreme Court after losing its case in lower courts, most recently in the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year.
The Court surprisingly chose to hear the state’s appeal which is now scheduled for later this year. The filings made by New Jersey point out that the PAPSA requires states to maintain prohibition forcibly. It noted that its constitutional framework does not allow Congress to influence any matter related to commercial activity within the state borders.
New Jersey has highlighted the fact that if Congress seeks to ban an activity it should make the activity unlawful instead of asking the states to do so. Nearly all of the major sports leagues including the NBA (National Basketball Association), NFL (National Football League), MLB (Major League Baseball) and NHL (National Hockey League), as well as the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the U.S. Department of Justice are opposing New Jersey move. The leagues will be filing their response with the court by October. Some law experts are hopeful of New Jersey’s chances to win the case.
In a statement Daniel Wallach, an attorney and expert in sports law said,
Congress can’t prohibit states from decriminalizing activity within their borders, which is the whole crux of this case. More likely than not, New Jersey winds up with some sort of sports betting when this case is done, whether it’s New Jersey alone, or all the states
New Jersey residents voted to legalize sports betting through a referendum in 2011. The state government subsequently passed a law regulating sports betting in 2012 which was challenged by the sports leagues. New Jersey has so far failed to make its case legally. If the Supreme Court decides to rule in favor of New Jersey, it would open the door for states nationwide to legalize and regulate sports betting as well.