Supreme Court Refuses to Hear New Jersey Sports Betting Case: Now What?
The dream of legal New Jersey sports betting came to a crashing halt last week when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the Garden State’s case.
In doing so, the high court let stand lower court rulings that upheld the NFL’s longtime, and somewhat spurious, claim that regulated sports wagering would harm their business model.
In the aftermath, Jersey Governor Chris Christie told reporters that he was ready to give up on the Quixotic quest saying:
It’s always a long shot to get certiorati from the United State Supreme Court.That’s the way it goes. They said no, so we have to move on.
Though Christie, who is dealing with several political scandals of his own, didn’t seem to have the stomach to keep fighting, other NJ lawmakers were ready to soldier on.
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, who has been a leading voice in this issue, told the Star-Ledger, that he’s got a plan for doing an end-run around the Feds.
Lesniak says he’s planning on introducing a bill that repeals state level laws banning sports betting operations. This would allow sports betting operations to operate without state regulation. (How this plan is viewed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is not yet known.)
The plan is not, however, without precedent as Lesniak explained:
I expect that the U.S. Justice Department will refrain from intervening, as they have with Colorado and Washington when those states legalized marijuana.I plan on placing my first bet at Monmouth Racetrack on Sept. 8 for the Giants to beat the spread against the Lions on ‘Monday Night Football.’
What Lesniak seems to be missing is that Colorado marijuana businesses operate in a tightly regulated environment and have run into big problems operating businesses that aren’t legal at the Federal level.
For example, most marijuana businesses are not able to do banking with any bank that operates under federal regulations. That’s led to businesses handling millions of dollars in cash to pay everything from rent to sales taxes and as created major headaches for pot shop owners.
Lesniak and company may also not be aware of a recent notice the Treasury Department sent to Colorado casino owners warning them to track and/or bar marijuana company employees from their establishments.
Apparently the Feds think casinos are a tempting target for marijuana businesses to launder their cash and there’s little reason to think they wouldn’t pull the same move if NJ unilaterally opens sports betting markets.
Regardless of the consequences, it seems likely that New Jersey politicians will press forward in their efforts to legalize sports betting and, in the process, save Atlantic City casinos from a revenue slide that just won’t end.