Legality of Sports Betting in New Jersey May Come Down to the U.S. Constitution

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New Jersey’s proposed sports betting program is a bold move, considering that federal law limits sports gambling to just a handful of states. Since we are not currently one of them, New Jersey residents hoping to place bets on the Jets or Giants anytime soon better hope that the state has the U.S. Constitution on its side.

Earlier this year, Gov. Chris Christie signed a law that amends the New Jersey Constitution to authorize sports betting in the state’s 12 casinos and five racetracks. It specifically allows "wagering … on the results of any professional, college, or amateur sport or athletic event, except that wagering shall not be permitted on a college sport or athletic event that takes place in New Jersey or on a sport or athletic event in which any New Jersey college team participates regardless of where the event takes place."

However, before the first bet is placed, the state must still overcome a significant legal roadblock. The NCAA, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball have filed a lawsuit seeking to block state officials from enacting a sports gambling program in New Jersey. They argue that the proposal violates the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

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