A US federal judge will likely decide by Friday if New Jersey’s Monmouth Park racetrack can offer legal sports wagers two days later. On Tuesday, the pro and college sports bodies who have long contested New Jersey’s right to bet officially filed their motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) of Monmouth’s plans to begin taking sports wagers by Oct. 26. The leagues argue that they would suffer irreparable harm if Monmouth were to act on the legislation Gov. Chris Christie signed into law on Oct. 17th.
As reported by NorthJersey.com’s John Brennan, US District Judge Michael Shipp (pictured) has given the state until Wednesday to file their opposition to the leagues’ TRO application. The leagues will have a chance to file their reply to the state’s missive on Thursday, paving the way for Shipp to announce by Friday whether he will issue the TRO or whether he wants to hear both parties argue things out in person. Consensus among observers is leaning heavily towards Shipp granting the leagues’ TRO request, meaning Monmouth Park isn’t likely to be offering anything more than its usual free-play wagers this Sunday.
The leagues have told Shipp that states must opt for either “prohibiting sports gambling or accepting its complete deregulation.” The bill Christie signed on Friday would repeal state laws prohibiting sports betting, but only at Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks, while neither regulating nor licensing the activity. The leagues figure the state is trying to be too cute by half, employing “word play” to achieve “an authorization in disguise.” Interestingly, the leagues also argue that the state’s plan conflicts with its own constitution, which prohibits gambling not specifically authorized by the state.
NO MAFIA MEDICARE
As if on cue, Tuesday saw New Jersey’s acting Attorney General John Hoffman announce the arrest of seven reputed members of the Genovese mob family for a raft of illegal activity, including a “multi-million dollar” credit-betting operation tied to a Costa Rica-based online sportsbook. Vincent Coppola, the 37-year-old son of a jailed member of the Genovese clan, is cited as the head of the illegal betting operation, while two other men are accused of acting as agents who collected losses from and distributed winnings to their customers. In 2011 alone, the operation handled $1.7m worth of wagers and pocketed $400k in profits.
Hoffman used Tuesday’s arrests to illustrate “one of the primary efforts in [New Jersey’s] sports betting journey … to try to bring [sports betting] out of the black market shadows.” New York Harbor Waterfront Commissioner Michael Murphy sagely added that the mafia’s sports betting proceeds don’t go to “property tax relief … senior citizens and Medicare or prescription programs.”