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California Senate passes sports betting bill; New Jersey’s PASPA appeal doomed?

TAGs: California, New Jersey, PASPA, sb1390

california-sports-betting-billCalifornians are split on whether legalization of online poker is a good or bad idea, according to a new USC Dornslife/Los Angeles Times poll. The survey of 1,002 registered voters found 47% in favor of legal online poker if it managed to deliver the $200m/year in state income its legislative backers are promising. However, roughly the same amount said the spread of online gambling would set a bad example for the youth of today who would then grow up as the enslaved gambling addicts of tomorrow. Or something.

While Golden State residents don’t seem able to make up their minds about poker, the California Senate overwhelmingly approved its SB1390 sports betting bill on Tuesday. The bipartisan co-production of Sens. Roderick Wright (Democrat) and Joel Anderson (Republican) sailed through the upper chamber by a vote of 32-2. Of course, there’s the small matter of the federal anti-sports betting PASPA measures to overcome, but Wright told the Sacramento Bee that he believes the feds will come around. Wright said California had to be in a position to move forward “when this law is changed, and we believe it will be.” For the moment, Wright doesn’t plan to sue the feds in court to overturn PASPA, saying he’d prefer to let New Jersey carry the ball across the goal line.

Then again, perhaps Wright ought to take the lead after all. NBC Sports’ Mike Florio doesn’t think New Jersey has a hope in hell of beating the feds in court, at least, not in the Third Judicial Circuit (in which New Jersey resides). In 2009, Delaware (another Third Circuit state) took a run at PASPA, only to have its case tossed – a decision that was upheld at the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. It can even be argued that Delaware held a better hand than New Jersey going in, as it was one of the four states grandfathered into legal sports betting under PASPA. However, since Delaware’s offering was limited to three-game parlay bets on football (because that’s all it offered at the time PASPA became law), its 2009 push was to gain the right to offer Nevada-style single-game sports betting. If New Jersey finds its path similarly blocked in the Third Circuit, it could appeal to the US Supreme Court, although Delaware lost its bid to have the Supremes even hear the case.

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