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The legalisation of Sports Betting in New Jersey is Seemingly Inevitable

Steve Shoup

Despite the rhetoric that sports betting is off the cards for New Jersey by those sternly against the decision to make it legal in the state, it seems that with the way the case is going at some point in 2018 it is inevitable that sports betting will be made legal.

The case is based on an argument that proves federal laws banning sports betting under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) are unconstitutional.

Led by a majority of justices that support the notion that the PASPA should be overturned, the New Jersey sports betting court case has caught the attention of the entire nation. A majority vote in favor of overturning the ruling could spark widespread lawsuits across many other states in the USA seeking to quash the PASPA’s ruling as unconstitutional within weeks of the New Jersey ruling citing the New Jersey state’s legal argument leaving the federal government powerless to refuse.

Currently, the leasing majority of justices supporting the notion are Neil Gorsuch, Roberts and Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Thomas and Samuel Alito. This is an overwhelming majority, and to be successful without any further legal proceedings, all the majority need to do is persuade the minority or undecided justices to all agree to the overturning of the PASPA in order to reach a unanimous vote.

A decision is expected to be made by the end of June 2018. At the moment, there needs to be a majority ruling in favor of legalizing sports betting in the state. There is a lot of legal jargon flying around, and this has made the case quite confusing, but the long and short of it is that all nine justices will need to reach a unanimous decision.

Should this not happen, then the ruling may be splintered. If this happens then one or more separate “concurrences” or “dissents” could be added after the majority decision has passed.

Should this happen, then there will be more legal proceedings taking place whereby the Supreme Court will need to make its decision on a majority vote. With there being nine participating justices, in this case, the decision could be 4-5, 7-2, 9-0 and so on.

As a result of a majority vote in favor of legalizing sports betting in the state of New Jersey, then it will be down to one of the justices from the majority ‘in favor’ camp to provide the Supreme Court with the decision. This is tricky because this scenario sits heavily on which side Chief Justice John Roberts is on; majority or minority).

If John Roberts is in the majority, it would mean he would assign the ruling, which could be assigned to one of the other majority supporters or even to himself if he so chooses. However, there is every possibility he could be on the minority side – in this case, the most senior justice minister on the majority vote will be assigned to provide the court with the ruling. This scenario will only occur if there is no unanimous decision and the ruling comes down to a majority vote that is in favor of legalizing sports betting in New Jersey.

On the other hand, in what is seemingly an unlikely scenario happens whereby the majority of justices vote against legalizing sports betting, then the case is lost and New Jersey will have to wait for another opportunity to bring the case to court under new pretences. With so many justices already in the majority camp, the chances of the ruling being unsuccessful are slim to zero.

There are already a number of casinos in the state already making preparations setting up sports betting facilities. This is how confident everyone is in New Jersey that sports betting is set to make a return. With facilities very close to being finished in spite of the court not making an official ruling this means that on the day the court makes its ruling (in favor of sports betting) sports bets will be on the market.

The Borgata is already one of the largest sports betting providers in the State of Nevada and has a presence in New Jersey. This is one casino brand already committing investment into the sports betting market pre-empting the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of sports betting according to Jay Rood their Vice President of Race & Sports.

Monmouth Park has arguably committed the most already partnering up with William Hill. The track will be ready to take bets the days the court’s decision has been made.

There are plenty of other contenders for New Jersey’s sports betting market that have not yet revealed any plans but are sure to participate. The Golden Nugget, Caesars, Bally and Harrah’s AC. Ocean Resort Casino will also most certainly be a major player despite the fact the company has not released any official statement.

For now, it is safe to assume that sometime this year New Jersey will officially be accepting sports betting as an addition to its already prominent gambling industry.



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