Lesniak on New Jersey sports betting: SBR interview

New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak joins SportsbookReview.com for an interview regarding the recent decision by US District Court Judge Michael Shipp in the sports betting case. Shipp's ruling late last night upheld federal law PASPA—The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992—much to the dismay of Sen. Lesniak and all New Jerseyans.


The federal law outlaws sports betting in all but four states: Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. Nevada is the single largest beneficiary under the law, operating a virtual monopoly over sports betting out West. Delaware accepts parlay-style wagering on sporting events.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill permitting Atlantic City casinos to add sportsbooks in January 2012. The major pro sports leagues and the NCAA have stood in the way, bringing the case to Trenton federal court. NJ first tried to get the case thrown out on the grounds that the sports leagues would be unable to prove financial damages if the state offered sports betting; Shipp rejected this argument.

Oral arguments were given by New Jersey, the sports leagues, as well as a representative from the US Justice Department on February the 14th. Shipp indicated he would rule within two weeks.

His ruling came early Friday morning. “After careful consideration, the Court has determined that Congress acted within its powers and the statute in question does not violate the United States Constitution."

The buck doesn't stop here. Shipp noted he was likely not the final arbiter. New Jersey will take their case through the 3rd Circuit Court of appeals and make their case that the federal statute preventing them from offering sports betting is unconstitutional and may be considered unfair protection. Many legal pundits believe the case is ultimately headed to the Supreme Court.

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