Rep. Pallone Calls on Trump Administration In NJ Sports Betting Case
As the Supreme Court gets closer to its decision on hearing the NJ sports betting case, Democratic Representative Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th District) has asked for support from Donald Trump’s administration.
Pallone’s Call To Action
On Tuesday, Pallone wrote a letter to Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall asking that he call on SCOTUS to hear New Jersey’s appeal regarding the legalization of sports betting within the state. The case was most recently rejected by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the summer of 2016.
“Without the Supreme court’s review and a decision on this appeal, these areas of disagreement and conflict will inevitably grow and lead to more confusion,” wrote Pallone. “New Jersey should have the same opportunity to proceed with sports betting that has been allowed in other states. The Third Circuit’s decisions have usurped the power of New Jerseyans and the State of New Jersey to share in the considerable profits from sports betting.”
This comes after the Supreme Court deferred their decision in January on whether or not to hear the appeal. Instead, SCOTUS asked for the solicitor general to file a brief giving his recommendation as to if the case should be heard. The brief has yet to be filed, but the staff of the SG did meet with attorneys on the case just last month in D.C.
We can expect the brief within the next month, which means that the high court may to come to a decision in June or shortly thereafter.
NJ Versus PASPA
It has been an uphill battle for Pallone, who has introduced several bills throughout the years that have all been shot down. There have also been other officials, such as Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd District), who have worked with Pallone on legalizing sports betting. Just before the New England Patriots won their 5th Super Bowl, the duo attempted to capitalize on the estimated $4.7 billion that was bet on the matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
The New Jersey horse racing industry stepped in shortly after the state lost their most recent case and appealed to the Supreme Court. This all comes after the court threw out Governor Chris Christie’s 2014 law that would have allowed casinos and racetracks in the state to offer sports betting. The law was said to be in violation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), that makes it illegal for all but four states – Delaware, Nevada, Montana, and Oregon – to offer sports betting. According to Pallone and countless other officials, PASPA is unconstitutional.
“This case is about whether the Third Circuit accorded sufficient room to the State of New Jersey to effectuate the will of its citizens under New Jersey’s state Constitution, laws, and sovereign powers under the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” reads a press release from Pallone. “New Jersey and other Petitioners have argued all along that PASPA is unlawful on its face, for impermissibly ordering the State of New Jersey not to permit sports gambling in accordance with the New Jersey Constitution and its State laws.”
Will The Letter Help The NJ Case?
It is not clear how much weight Pallone’s letter to Wall will hold. There is no way of knowing which way the acting Solicitor General will go when it comes to either recommending or advising against SCOTUS hearing the sports betting appeal. Trump himself has made several statements regarding his openness to legalized sports betting, however, he has not made any definitive legal actions showing his support.
The worst case scenario is that Wall opposes that the high court hear the case, and SCOTUS actually goes off of this recommendation. The case would simply die and the door would be essentially be closed on approaching legalized NJ sports betting from this angle.
Though a possibility, New Jersey has garnered supported throughout this entire process and their chances of success look favorable. Even with or without the brief from the Solicitor General, the Supreme Court could still decide to hear the appeal.
In the meantime, NJ is busy working on fantasy sports regulations that are undeniably beneficial when it comes to legal sports betting sites to come. Fantasy sports are the closest legal option that NJ has to regulated sports betting, and by continuing to develop this industry it will only have positive effects on reducing the unjust stigmas attached to betting on sports.
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