Five American sports leagues have filed suit in Federal court against New Jersey in an attempt to overturn the state’s efforts to legalize sports betting. The plaintiffs in the case include the NCAA, NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA.
Their suit alleges that New Jersey’s recently passed bill allowing horse tracks and casinos to legally provide sports betting is a violation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). (PASPA was largely written by lawyers working on behalf of those leagues.)
The leagues see legal gambling a threat to the, “character and integrity” of their sports; as well as the, “reputations and goodwill” between teams and fans. The NCAA and professional sports have long feared legal sports betting would increase incentives to fix games.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reacted swiftly to news of the suit and issued the following statement:
I don’t believe that the federal government has the right to decide that only certain states can have sports gambling. On what basis? And it doesn’t acknowledge that there is illegal sports gambling going on in every state in America, as we speak. So why is this more injurious than illegal sports gambling to the operations of the league or the NCAA?
Someone Had to Strike First
In many ways, the suit is actually good news for the Garden State. No matter what Christie may tell the press, challenging the validity of PASPA in Federal court is inevitable if they hope to move forward with legal sports betting.
How do you think think this case will turn out? Post up your thoughts in the comments section below this article.