The case brought by North America’s pro and college sports leagues against the state of New Jersey’s plans to offer single-game sports betting will proceed on schedule after the judge overseeing the case rejected the leagues’ request for a delay. Oral arguments had been scheduled for Dec. 18, but the league had requested a one-month delay as well as a one-month extension on the moratorium blocking the state’s plan to begin issuing sports betting licenses starting Jan. 9, 2013.
NorthJersey.com’s John Brennan has since reported that US Magistrate Judge Lois Goodman ruled the existing schedule would remain “in full force and effect,” but Goodman granted the leagues’ request for a 40-page cap on the state’s opposition to the leagues’ motion for summary judgment and a 25-page cap on the leagues’ response to the state’s brief. The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association has also filed a ‘motion to intervene’ based on its assertion that blocking the state’s sports betting plans “will likely sound the death knell” of the local racing industry.
WHAT’S THE TORY IN CANADA?
A little further north, pessimism continues to swirl around bill C-290, Canada’s pending single-game sports betting legislation. Although the bill unanimously passed the House of Commons this spring, the traditionally rubber-stamp Senate is showing a rare display of backbone by threatening to vote down the bill when it comes up for its third and final reading sometime between now and Christmas. As in the House of Commons, the Conservatives hold a strong majority in the Senate, yet the party appears to have developed an internal schism over the sports betting issue that could ultimately doom C-290’s chances.
The Globe and Mail reported that federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson spent an hour lobbying Tory senators at a closed-door caucus meeting on Tuesday, stressing the government’s support of C-290, but Senator Norman Doyle emerged from this meeting reiterating his previous position that his “sense of it is [C-290’s] going to go down.” Jacques Demers, a former head coach of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens and current Tory senator, has gone on record with his opposition to C-290, saying there were “times you have to vote for what is the right thing and that’s what I want to do in this case.” Another Tory senator with a pro sports background, former Canadian Football League commissioner Larry Smith, has declined to state how he intends to vote, saying only there are “two trains of thought” dominating the debate. Wonder if Larry has any other similarly insightful musings to offer, like how the bill will either pass or it won’t, and whether Canadian sports bettors will be happy or pissed off as a result.