HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 21Issue 343rd Circuit Grants Rehearing in New Jersey Sports Wagering Litigation

On October 14, 2015, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order granting the State of New Jersey’s request for a rehearing in litigation surrounding the state’s attempts to permit sports wagering in certain locations throughout the state.

The rehearing is the latest development for New Jersey’s efforts to allow sports wagering which began in 2011 when voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to pass sports wagering laws. Despite the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”), a federal law banning sports wagering in nearly all states, the New Jersey legislature passed the Sports Wagering Act in 2012 that permitted and regulated sports wagering in the state’s casinos and horse tracks.  The law was quickly challenged by the major U.S. sports leagues and a federal court ruled that the New Jersey law was preempted by PASPA. However, the court’s opinion noted that it may be possible to deregulate sports wagering, as PASPA only prevents a state government from authorizing the activity.

In response to the ruling, New Jersey deregulated sports wagering, but limited the deregulation in casinos and horse tracks for persons over 21, in addition to making stipulations that wagers could not involve college sporting events held in the state or involving a New Jersey school. When challenged in the current litigation, the Third Circuit ruled that such a tailored deregulation amounted to an authorization under PASPA and, therefore, the law was preempted by PASPA.

Both cases were heard by a panel of judges from the Third Circuit. New Jersey argued in its Petition for Rehearing that “the two opinions are irreconcilable and must be re-examined by the full court to ensure uniformity of [the Third Circuit’s] decisions.” Wednesday’s approval of the petition will now permit an en banc review with the entire Third Circuit bench.

The Court has set an October 28, 2015 deadline for the parties to resubmit a series of briefs provided to the Court in January and February for further review by the Court. At this, time, the Court has not set a specific date for the rehearing, noting that it will be scheduled at the convenience of the Court.

For a more detailed history of the New Jersey litigation, please see Volume 21, Issue 28 of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter, here: http://www.michigangaming.com/publications/newsletter-archive/142-newsletters/volume-21/issue-28/549-third-circuit-affirms-ruling-on-new-jersey-sports-wagering


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