US District Court Judge blocks New Jersey sports betting plans

us district courthouse

The New Jersey gambling market has suffered a blow after a US District Court Judge issued a ruling that will block the US state from launching a legalised sports betting offering.

Judge Michael Shipp ruled against New Jersey and found in favour of four major North American sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which had earlier filed a motion to halt plans to legalise sports betting in the state.

The NFL American football league, NBA basketball, NHL ice hockey and MLB baseball launched a legal challenge against a new bill signed by state Governor Chris Christie to partially repeal the state’s prohibition on sports betting.

According to paperwork filed in US District Court, the sports leagues said that the bill is “in clear and flagrant violation of federal law – to accomplish what it unsuccessfully attempted to do three years ago: sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, licence or authorise gambling on amateur and professional sports at state-licensed casinos and horse racetracks”.

In response, Judge Shipp issued a temporary restraining order to halt the state from launching a service, but has now opted to make this ruling a permanent injunction.

In his ruling, Shipp agreed with the NCAA and professional leagues’ argument that allowing certain properties and businesses to offer sports betting services still amounted to regulation, and that these acts conflicted with the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Various reports suggest that New Jersey will now file an appeal over the injunction, which will go to the Third Circuit US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

The bill, which had received approval by a vote of 27-1 from state lawmakers, would have allowed New Jersey casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting services under the provision that bets are placed on events outside of the state to avoid conflict with a 1992 federal law.

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