Will Sports Gambling Come to the State of New Jersey?

The racetrack industry wants to legalize sports betting and the state legislature in New Jersey approves of the measure. Will the courts rule that sports betting is permissible in the state?

Not if the NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, and MLB have their way. All of these major sports organizations are arguing in federal court that legalized gambling at casinos and racetracks, sports gambling, ruins the reputation of sports and tarnishes their teams and leagues’ names.

The garden state of New Jersey is not one known for a lot of controversies. In recent days, however, the fight over sports betting has drawn some attention to the small state. The courts are likely to make a sweeping decision in the matter and, no matter what the outcome is, the result is going to stir up some controversy. Gamblers and fans of sports wagering are going to deem anything that infringes upon their pursuits to be both controversial, annoying, and depressing.

Currently, lawyers are arguing in court that sports betting should be made legal in New Jersey. Casino gambling is, of course, legal in the state of New Jersey and has been legal since 1978. The arrival of legalized gambling helped give the state of New Jersey a huge economic boost.

The powers that be in New Jersey are not entirely thrilled over the presence of legalized sports gambling. The assumption is that the arrival of sportsbook betting can tarnish the image of professional and even college teams.

All of this seems strange when you consider the history of gambling in New Jersey. Or more specifically, it is strange when you consider what casino gambling has done for Atlantic City.

Atlantic City was a failing summer resort town that had seen far better days. Once legalized gambling arrived, Atlantic City saw huge improvements in economic activity. Right now, Atlantic city is hurting and hurting severely. A great deal of new competition has hurt the city quite a bit. Casinos in New York and Pennsylvania are drawing a lot of tourists and “one-dayers” away from Atlantic City. As a result, the state of New Jersey has lost a lot of revenue.

Racetracks are popular in New Jersey, but their ability to generate revenue is limited. Through expanding the gaming laws to include sports betting, the racetracks may be able to greatly increase their revenues.

Expanding into sports betting would be one way to stem the losses from declining gaming revenue. However, not everyone really wants to see this occur even if it means huge monetary losses.

The trouble the gaming industry has to contend with is there exists a law on the books that only permits sportsbook betting on a limited number of states in the U.S.A. New Jersey is not one of those states (surprisingly) and the law has been in effect for about 22 years. Obviously, New Jersey and its gaming industries want to overcome these limitations and take bold steps to open more revenue generating doors through an very suffering gaming industry.

Right now, things are being litigated in Trenton in the U.S. District Court. No matter what the outcome in this case is, the decision is going to be appealed by the loser in the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. What the final, eventual outcome is going to be remains to be seen. No one can predict how this case is going to go under any circumstances although attorneys on both sides have made compelling cases.

Would this be a case that reaches the Supreme Court level? Well, whoever loses the appeal could seek to take the case to the Supreme Court. If the court rejects to hear the proceedings, then the appeals court decision will stand. How the appeal court arrives at its decision will factor into whether or not the court chooses to hear arguments.

Of course, things have not gone that far yet.

The state of New Jersey has been trying to legalize sports gambling for three years to no avail. Why New Jersey was not one of the original states to procure approval for sports gambling many years ago is a mystery. Perhaps the state just did not lobby hard enough for the desired outcome.

Lobbying does occur on both sides. The state of Nevada certainly would not like to see any other states give it competition. The gaming industry in Nevada may be lobbying hard to keep New Jersey a non-sports betting state although the primary opponents now are the major sports organizations.

The possibility an agreement might be reached with the sports organizations and this could bring an end to litigation. A monetary agreement could help alleviate the concerns on the sports organizations or, possible, they may prefer alterations as to how their teams are portrayed in promotional materials.

How amicable and agreeable the plaintiffs are remains to be seen.

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