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New Jersey sports betting push receives court boost

Wed, Jan 18, 8:15am by Staff Writer

A key US Supreme Court decision on New Jersey’s bid to legalise sports betting has been delayed until after President-elect Donald Trump takes office and appoints a new solicitor general.

The landmark case, which has seen the state of New Jersey argue that the federal law which prevents sports betting infringes upon state sovereignty as laid out in the U.S. Constitution, has been spearheaded by Governor Chris Christie.

Christie acted as an advisor to Trump during the presidential election, and there is a growing confidence within the gambling and gaming sector in the United States that controversial PASPA legislation which precludes widespread betting on sport, will be repealed by a Trump-led administration.

Trump was heavily invested in the casino and gambling industry in New Jersey through several casino ventures in the 1990s.

Voters in New Jersey approved widespread sports betting in New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks in 2011, but a subsequent US District Court ruling prevented it from ever becoming legal.

The case then arrived at the Supreme Court, who determined on Tuesday that they would await the advice of the new solicitor-general before making its decision.

That advice can’t be sought until that position is filled, but experts in the case believe that the decision to hold fire is a massive win for New Jersey and the proponents of change.

“The court’s call for the views of the solicitor general is a step in the right direction for proponents of sports betting,” Christopher Soriano, a gaming attorney with the Duane Morris law firm in Cherry Hill told NorthJersey.com.

“The court must be interested in how the government believes its own statute should be interpreted, and since the Solicitor General’s Office appears so frequently before the Supreme Court, the solicitor general’s views will be important. The solicitor general has no deadline, but its usual practice is to try to file its briefs by May so that the court can consider the petition before the term ends at the end of June.”

Daniel Wallach, a sports attorney in Fort Lauderdale, believes this could prove a major turning point in the battle that several states have waged against sports betting prohibition.

“This is the lightning bolt that could shake up the sports-betting legalization debate,” Wallach said. “If Donald Trump is truly dialed in on this issue, he might just have the ability to influence the sports-betting legalization debate in ways that were not even contemplated until now.”

Only four states in the United States, Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana, have legalised sport betting. They were the only states to have specific sports betting legislation in place when PASPA was passed into law in 1992.


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