An appeal of a U.S. Appellate Court decision filed by New Jersey and Governor Chris Christie had a positive outcome last month, raising hopes of bringing sports betting to Atlantic City casinos and the state’s racetracks.
The state had asked that the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals review the state sports betting law. The law was struck down recently by a panel of three appellate judges. The court agreed to hear an en banc or full-court hearing. These appeals are usually declined quickly without any response from the winning side—in this case the leagues—required. To be granted the en banc hearing, a majority of the judges have to agree there is a reason to hear more arguments, so the result is encouraging to those who seek to legalize sports betting in the Garden State. In addition, two appeals court judges have recused themselves from the case, meaning that New Jersey only has to convince six out of 10 judges, instead of seven out of 12.
Two New Jersey congressmen, Rep. Frank Lobiondo and Rep. Frank Pallone, applauded the move.
“Not only do the citizens of New Jersey overwhelmingly support legalized sports betting and the revenue that would come to the state with it, but existing federal law picks winners and losers, and is unconstitutional and arbitrary,” they wrote in a release. “Several states can already operate sports betting, but New Jersey has been shut out despite the will of our citizens. We remain committed to seeing sports betting become legal in New Jersey, and this reconsideration is a positive and important development.”
New Jersey is attempting to circumvent a federal ban on sports betting by instituting a self-regulated industry that could operate at the state’s casinos and racetracks. The state is arguing that the current federal ban is on state-regulated sports betting.
The Appeals Court panel originally ruled that the state was still regulating sports betting by limiting it to casinos and racetracks, applying age restrictions and other rules.