ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey has struck out again in its efforts to legally offer sports betting.
A federal appeals court panel in Philadelphia on Tuesday upheld the federal ban on sports betting in all but four states that had met a 1991 deadline to legalize it. New Jersey was not one of them.
But the 2-to-1 ruling left the door open for New Jersey to further appeal the matter to the full 3rd Circuit court. State Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Elizabeth, predicted that will happen shortly.
New Jersey has been trying since 2009 to offer legal sports betting at its casinos and racetracks to help both struggling industries.
“I’d like to see Atlantic City packed and all the rooms filled during Final Four weekend, during a Super Bowl, any big sporting event, just the same way it is in Las Vegas,” Lesniak told WCBS 880. “I’d like to see people at our racetracks when there’s a big soccer game, where people can bet on and dine and just enjoy everyone’s company and put a few dollars down to bet just like they can in the state of Nevada.”
The NCAA and the four major pro sports leagues have opposed the state’s efforts. A judge ruled in October the leagues have shown that they would be irreparably harmed if the state’s casinos and racetracks were permitted to allow sports betting.
At issue in the appeal was whether a 2014 New Jersey law repealing prohibitions against sports gambling violates a 1992 federal ban in all states except Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware.
Lesniak said the appeals panel got it wrong. He said the fact that one judge voted in the state’s favor proves it has a case.
“We repealed a law for sports betting at casinos and racetracks, and that does not violate” the federal ban, he said. “We are allowed to do that.”
Lesniak argued that blocking New Jersey’s law would only encourage illegal gambling.
“Money is going off-shore. It’s going to feed organized crime,” he told 1010 WINS. “And it’s not going to support our casinos and our racetracks, which employ people, and generate tax revenues as well.”
Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, the casino industry’s national trade organization, said the court ruling cries out for closer scrutiny of the issue.
“With Americans betting at least $140 billion on sports illegally each year, it’s clear that current law is not achieving its intended result,” he said. “As the AGA leads an industry-wide task force to study sports betting, we will assess the implications of the court’s decision as the gaming industry continues to develop innovative ways to provide products and experiences that meet consumers’ demands.”
The appeals court judges who agreed with ban are Maryanne Trump Barry, the sister of Republican presidential candidate and Donald Trump, and Marjorie Rendell. Judge Julio Fuentes dissented.
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