US Appeals Court Sets Date For Monmouth Lawsuit vs Leagues

US Appeals Court Sets Date For Monmouth Lawsuit vs Leagues

A federal appeals court set the date for arguments for Monmouth Park Racetrack’s lawsuit against the professional sports leagues in the US and the NCAA.

The lawsuit by Monmouth claims that the racetrack was improperly prevented from opening sports betting back in 2014 when legislation from New Jersey legalized it within the state. They seek $140 million in damages of lost revenue between 2014 and May 2018 when PASPA was overturned.

The court date has been set for July 2.

Monmouth’s Case Vs The Leagues

The lawsuit is, in fact, filed by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association on behalf of Monmouth Park.

The biggest point of the case being pushed by New Jersey and Monmouth is the fact that the leagues were making money promoting fantasy games, and that the court order they went seeking for to stop sports betting was in bad faith.

Essentially, because the major sports leagues were making money off games that depended on player performance, they essentially kept sports betting to themselves under the guise of retaining league integrity. Monmouth contended that the years following were highly detrimental to the track.

”During the intervening years the Leagues’ actions nearly put Monmouth Park out of business, inflicted significant financial and emotional hardship on hundreds of innocent Monmouth Park workers, and jeopardized the continued viability of New Jersey’s entire equine industry, including its many horse farms and related open spaces.”

Once sports betting had been implemented, Monmouth came roaring back, showing how much sports betting would have benefited the park originally. The lawsuit in search of millions in lost revenue might be a more accurate number than it initially appears.

The case was ruled on in November 2018 by US District Judge Michael Shipp, who said “In 2014, PASPA was constitutionally valid. Thus, the law as it existed in 2014 clearly favored the leagues. The Court accordingly finds good cause exists to deny NJTHA damages.”

Monmouth Park CEO Dennis Drazin had an appeal working very soon after the ruling by Shipp. The case is now in the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, the same that originally upheld PASPA in 2016 before the appeal to the US Supreme Court was accepted and ultimately overturned.

The leagues have called the lawsuit “frivolous,” but will have to fight the appeal, given the appeal now has a court date.

Will The New Sports Betting Era Affect The Ruling?

As mentioned before, this isn’t the first time the US District Court has gotten involved with a sports betting case. Judge Shipp issued a restraining order against Monmouth back in 2014 when the track tried to implement sports betting before the repeal of PASPA.

Ultimately, that order would be challenged for the next four years, leading to the overturning of PASPA. With the new attitude surrounding sports betting, it’ll be interesting to see if the opinion against betting operators changes now that the Supreme Court has had their say.

This case is certainly more ambiguous than the challenge to PASAP, and the ruling by the Third US Circuit Court will likely be the final ruling. The Supreme Court likely would not hear any further appeals, given this lawsuit is about damages rather than specific, federally enforced laws.

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