The long running battle to legalize New Jersey sports betting moved into the U.S. Court of Appeals for a rare en blanc panel in front of 12 judges.

For the state of New Jersey, the hearing presented a last ditch effort to convince the judges that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which effectively outlawed sports wagering everywhere but Nevada, could be overturned by a state government.

On the other side of the argument, attorneys for the big professional sports leagues argued that permitting sports betting of any kind would open their pristine sporting events to corruption.

For the layman, the legal arguments are as dense and confusing as the fine print on a mobile phone contract.

The heart of the case revolves around whether or not the State of New Jersey can implement the New Jersey Sports Wagering Law. That particular law doesn’t overtly legalize sports betting, rather, it removes laws prohibiting sports betting from the books.

In theory, that opens the way for race tracks and casinos to offer wagering at their facilities. The question that seemed to intrigue the judge’s the most was exactly who would wind up regulating sports betting once it got going.

While New Jersey says the industry would regulate itself, the Judges seemed quite skeptical. They openly voiced concern the Jersey sports betting scene could turn into, “the Wild East.” (Though that seems highly unlikely.)

At the end of the day, most observers expect the judges to rule in favor of the leagues and leave New Jersey right back where they started. That said, most observers also concede that New Jersey will continue fighting until it is completely out of legal options.

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