Leagues poised to challenge N.J. over sports betting
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, 8:20 p.m.
NEWARK, N.J. — Four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA are poised to move forward with their legal fight over New Jersey's plans to allow sports gambling.
That comes after a judge on Friday rejected arguments that the leagues couldn't prove they would be harmed if the state moves ahead with its plans to allow sports gambling.
In denying the state's request to dismiss the lawsuit by the NBA, NHL, NFL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp agreed that they have standing to file the suit because expanding legal sports betting to New Jersey would negatively affect perception of their games.
In his ruling, Shipp cited studies offered by the leagues that showed fans' negative attitudes toward game-fixing and sports gambling.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined to comment on the ruling, telling The Associated Press on Saturday that “the decision speaks for itself.”
Stacey Osburn, director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said the association was “pleased with the court's ruling. The NCAA has long maintained that sports wagering threatens the well-being of student-athletes and the integrity of college sports.”
Phone messages left Saturday for officials with the NBA and NHL were not immediately returned. A voicemail for a MLB spokesman was full and would not accept messages.
New Jersey also has argued in court papers that a 1990s law prohibiting sports gambling in all but four states is unconstitutional, and Shipp ordered that a date for oral argument on that issue will be set after Jan. 20.
The federal law prohibited sports gambling in all states but Nevada, where bettors can gamble on single games, and three other states that were allowed to offer multi-game parlay betting. New Jersey has argued the law usurps the authority of state legislatures and discriminates by “grandfathering” in some states.
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., who has worked in the House to change the federal law, decried Shipp's decision.
“It is absurd for the professional sports leagues and the NCAA to claim that they will suffer injuries as a result of the legalization of sports betting in New Jersey,” Pallone said Saturday.
“That these organizations claim that the sports they represent will somehow have their reputation impacted is naïve at best and assumes that illegal gambling is not currently occurring in lieu of legal sports betting,” he added. “The fact is that the presence of illegal betting and the crime that goes with it has a far greater impact on the legitimacy of sports organization.”
The leagues filed suit in August after Gov. Chris Christie vowed to defy a federal ban on sports wagering. The Republican governor signed a sports betting law in January, limiting bets to the Atlantic City casinos and the state's horse racing tracks.
New Jersey has said it plans to license sports betting as soon as January, and in October it published regulations governing licenses. But the state agreed to give the leagues 30 days' notice before it grants any licenses and hasn't done so yet, the state attorney general's office said last week.
The state, represented by former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, had argued before Shipp last Tuesday that the leagues are as popular as they've ever been despite the existence of legal gambling in Nevada and more widespread illegal gambling.
The NCAA has said it will relocate several championship events scheduled to be held in New Jersey next year because of the state's sports gambling push.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor apparently staying
- Spring training breakdown: Orioles 7, Pirates 6
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- Pirates notebook: Martin finding power stroke
- Poll: Uninsured rate drops, but Hispanics lag in sign-ups
- Deaths from heroin, pain pills called ‘urgent,’ growing’ crisis
- Harper hires another attorney to handle request to reduce sentence
- Penn State’s Franklin cherishes memories of time spent in Pittsburgh
- Fear of building collapse closes Tarentum road
- Kittanning youths OK after Route 422 crash
- Primanti’s manager admits stealing $30,000 from restaurants