U.S. Supreme Court Stalls on New Jersey Sports Betting Case Decision
On Monday morning, the state of New Jersey was expected to learn whether or not their appeal would be heard by SCOTUS in regards to legalizing sports betting within its territory. The Supreme Court released its “Orders List” * https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/062617zor_8759.pdf * shortly after 9:30 a.m, however Christie, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, et al., Case Nos. 16-476 was nowhere to be found on the docket.
What This Means For NJ Sports Betting
It is impossible to know what this means for the chances of the Supreme Court accepting certiorari and opting to hear the New Jersey sports betting case. While some analysts would like to believe that the uncertainty shows that the high court is seriously considering the case, others presume that this is the beginning of the end for the Christie II case.
The U.S. Supreme Court had several options on how they could handle the case, including granting the hearing, immediate dismissal, or requesting an additional brief. Being that the Court decided not to deploy any of these actions, it is a waiting game from this point on. It is possible that SCOTUS will issue more orders tomorrow, or they could wait until their October term to reveal their decision.
If the appeal ends up being granted, New Jersey would prepare by filing more briefs before their case is heard by the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Only five would have to side with the state in order to win their case against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title28/part6/chapter178&edition=prelim
This sounds familiar to New Jersey’s en banc session back in August of 2015, where all 12 of the Third Circuit’s judges heard the state’s oral arguments. The ruling came back the same as earlier hearings, with only three of the required seven majority votes being picked up. Their petition for a writ of certiorari is the last legal option for Christie II, with a denial being the final nail in the coffin for the case.
Other Options For NJ Sports Betting
If the case were to be denied, it would not necessarily be the end all for legalized sports betting in New Jersey. Having a case heard by SCOTUS was just one of several options for the state of N.J, as lawmakers have already begun preparing alternative plans of attack.
New Jersey state Sen. Ray Lesniak has already announced plans to introduce a new bill that would entirely repeal the ban on sports betting within the state. This has come to be known as the “nuclear option”, as it would allow a sports betting free-for-all within the state, undoubtedly creating an uncomfortable environment for the professional sports leagues that serve as plaintiffs in the sports betting case. The goal would be to force the federal government to step in and offer sports betting regulations as a completely unregulated situation could be considered far more harmful.
Outside of NJ, other sports betting proponents have started to take action on proving the unconstitutionality of PASPA. The American Gaming Association (AGA), the largest lobbying group for the U.S. casino industry, has launched a coalition * http://www.sportsbettinginamerica.com/ * dedicated to ending the federal sports betting ban. This route would see sports betting legalized on a federal level rather than the state of New Jersey specifically.
Other states could also start creating their own sports betting laws in order to put pressure on the federal court system to authorize the activity.
In any instance, it looks like the United States will have to remain in limbo over legalized sports betting for a little while longer.
Since the original posting of this article, the U.S. Supreme Court has come to a decision on the New Jersey sports betting case.
On Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after issuing their original Orders List, SCOTUS voted to grant N.J.’s petition for legalized sports betting. This marks the first legal victory for the state during their five-year legal battle against the NCAA and major professional sports leagues.
Now that certiorari has been granted, we can look forward to the next legal steps that will be taken by both parties in the case. New Jersey will have 45 days to file their merits brief where they argue why they should be constitutionally within their rights to bring sports betting to the state. One week later, amici curiae briefs would be due.
The leagues would then need to file their response within 35 days of NJ’s opening brief being filed, which would make a due date of around September 14th. Within 30 days, New Jersey would be permitted to file a response, as long as it is complete at least 7 days before the oral argument.
Based on the tentative timeline, it is expected that oral argument will be scheduled sometime in the fall. The Supreme Court hears arguments monthly between October and April in two-week sessions, meaning that we will likely hear the final ruling for the future of legal betting sites on the Christie II case in 2018.
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