New Jersey’s plans for sports betting were stopped last month, just days before Monmouth Park racetrack—which is partnered with British bookmaker William Hill—planned to begin taking bets.
The professional sports leagues and the NCAA sued for an injunction to stop the track from taking bets, saying that the state is simply trying to illegally circumvent a federal ban on sports betting.
The state responded that the leagues’ claims are meritless and that it remains confident that it has a legal plan to allow sports betting.
The NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA had requested an injunction to keep the bettors on the sidelines. U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp agreed with the leagues that betting at Monmouth would cause “irreparable harm” to the leagues, although he didn’t clarify why the same harm isn’t inflicted each week when bets are taken in Nevada and Delaware on NFL games.
“More legal gambling leads to more total gambling, which in turn leads to an increased incentive to fix plaintiffs’ matches,” Shipp said.
So far, Monmouth Park—which had hoped to begin taking bets days after the court hearing—was the only venue ready to test whether New Jersey’s take on sports betting is legal. The track reportedly spent more than $1 million on a grand sports bar that would have accepted wagers on the games.
New Jersey argues that a federal appeals court ruling last year spelled out how the state could implement sports betting despite a federal ban.
The state tried to overturn the federal ban, but Shipp and several appeals courts overturned the state’s sports betting law. However, during the arguments, rulings indicated that the state could simply repeal its laws against sports betting and allow non-state-regulated betting to take place, contending that was not prohibited by the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act that passed in the early 1990s.
The leagues also claim they will suffer “irreparable harm” if sports gambling is allowed in New Jersey.
A hearing was scheduled for late November on the issue.