Everything to Know About the NJ Sports Betting Case

Everything to Know About the NJ Sports Betting Case

By Craig Cummings | December 3rd, 2017

On May 14, the case paved the way to open up the US sports betting landscape - a betting market experts believe is worth upwards of $6 billion in revenue per year - in a monumental way. To get everyone up to speed, Gambling.com put together this ultimate guide to everything you need to know!

Recapping Christie vs NCAA

New Jersey's battle to prove PASPA unconstitutional, officially known as Christie vs NCAA, could possibly shape the future of sports betting in all of the United States. PASPA created a federal ban on legal sports betting in the entire US (except Nevada) but New Jersey passed a law in 2014 partially legalising it.

The contradiction of federal and state law forced the Garden State and their Governor, Christ Christie, to sue to prove the Act was unconstitutional and thus forms of sports betting are legal in New Jersey. But all the major professional sports league as well as the NCAA, collegiate sports' governing body, came to PASPA's defense.

The Supreme Court ultimately decided to take to case and announced it would hear both sides' arguments starting Monday. If the court rules in favor of New Jersey and Christie, which could impact how the other states handle sports betting and its regulation, the sports betting market in America would be turned up on its head.

On Monday, December 4, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for Christie vs NCAA, New Jersey's battle to prove the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) is unconstitutional. While all Supreme Court cases are noteworthy, some call for more attention, including this one.

Who's Who

To keep track of all the key figures involved in the case we've listed them below:

  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie - Christ Christie is the current Governor of New Jersey, the highest official in the state. Although he is a strong supporter of legalised sports betting and has extensive legal experience including as the state's former Attorney General, Gov. Christie's name only appears as the defendant because he signed the law in contradiction of PASPA. Christie will not actually be defending the case.
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) - The NCAA, as well as other professional sports leagues including the NFL and NBA, represent those in favor of upholding PASPA as federal law and thus oppose legalising sports betting.
  • Ted Olsen - An American Attorney for the Washington, D.C. law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Ted Olsen will represent New Jersey as their lead representative in the case. Olen was the former US Solicitor General, the third-highest-ranking official in the U.S. Department of Justice and who represents the federal government before the Supreme Court.
  • Paul Clement - Currently a partner at the Chicago law firm Kirkland & Ellis, Paul Clement is representing the NCAA in the case. Clement is also a former US Solicitor General so he is equally prepared for the Supreme Court room.

What were the Potential Outcomes of the Case?

New Jersey, and probably a majority of Americans, supported the Supreme Court ruling PASPA unconstitutional, eliminating the ban on sports betting. New Jersey would have also settled for an alternative scenario where the court rules in favor of a partial repeal for New Jersey only, leaving PASPA still intact for other states.

The partial repeal would open the door for states like New York to pass similar legislation that would legalise sports betting in their state as well. This is exactly why those in favor of the ban are only accepting PASPA as constitutional and thus no sports betting in New Jersey or any other states than Nevada.

What are the Experts Saying?

Although it's only the Supreme Court Justice's opinions on the matter that count, a wealth of experts - both gambling and legal - have weighed in on the matter. An American legal expert specializing in sports betting, Daniel Wallach, explained most around the industry expected the Supreme Court to rule in favor of New Jersey:

"Anybody watching from the sidelines can see the writing on the wall."

Even just a partial repeal of PASPA could have opend the floodgates as a wealth of other states would immediately push to pass similar legislation then use the New Jersey case ruling as evidence to lift the ban in their own states, effectively legalising US sports betting without having to repeal the entire federal law.

Chris Grove, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming's Managing Director, not only agreed with Wallach, he believes if there is total repeal the entire world will feel the effects:

"I don’t think it’s unfair to say if there is a broad ruling, you could be witnessing a reshaping of the global gambling industry around that ruling."

E&K Gaming is a research firm that declared upwards of 30 states could offer betting within five years after the ruling lifts the ban, which is why those in favor of the ban are so worried. The reality of a ban lift, even if partial, terrifies those looking to keep sporting betting, both online and off, out of the US.

Trump Supports PASPA

The current President of the United States, Donald Trump, is a former real-estate and media mogul who owned casinos all across the globe. Many thought this meant his presidency would bring about a lift of the ban but his appointment of the anti-gambling Jeff Sessions to Attorney General pushed the status to questionable.

Trump and the White House kept the issue of gambling legalisation at an arm's length but the New Jersey case forced the issue into the spotlight forcing Trump to provide support one way or the other. After a flurry of the professional sports leagues threw their support behind PASPA, Trump joined in supporting the ban.

What the Ruling Means

The Long-term effects aren't fully fleshed out in the immediate aftermath, but the ruling clearly means new markets for legalized sports gambling across the U.S. Multiple states. Upwards of two dozen states have discussed laws that could open up legal sports betting in their jurisdiction, with some poised to begin offering bets as early as this fall.

Where and when states will offer sports gambling is still up in the air. Some may choose to offer only select bet types, others may offer games only in brick-and-mortar facilities and some may not allow any gambling at all. The questions over the implementation and partnerships (if any) with the leagues will remain, as will how all these entities take advantage of the new revenue opportunities.

Regardless, the most significant hurdle to legalized sports gambling is gone. That’s exciting news for millions of Americans that can finally places bets on sporting events legally.

Follow Along

Gambling.com has extensively covered the Christie vs NCAA Supreme Court case and has no plans to slow down now that the ruling has taken place. For everyone interested in following along with the case, continue to check back with Gambling.com News for the latest updates as well as expert analysis of the results. Gambling.com's Twitter feed will also have frequent updates so feel free to follow along there!

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