HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 21Issue 40Oral Arguments Set in New Jersey Sports Wagering Case

On December 9, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued an order setting a schedule for oral arguments in litigation related to New Jersey’s attempts to permit sports wagering at certain gaming and horse racing establishments. The court will hear oral arguments on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 11:00am EST at the James A. Byrne United States Courthouse in Philadelphia.

The rehearing is in response to two rulings from federal courts that New Jersey claims to be conflicting. In 2012, the New Jersey legislature passed the Sports Wagering Act 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 the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”), a federal law banning sports wagering in all states except Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. However, the court’s opinion noted that it might be possible to simply 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 by the sports leagues, the Third Circuit ruled that such a tailored deregulation amounted to a form of “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.”

The oral arguments will allow time for both sides, the State of New Jersey and the major United States sports leagues, to present key arguments and legal analysis related to the case. Each side will be permitted five minutes of uninterrupted speaking time, after which the judges will be able to question counsel on their arguments.

 

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