The fate of legalized sports betting in New Jersey will now lie in the hands of US Supreme Court magistrates.
In a last ditch effort to make legal sports betting a reality in the Garden State, New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak announced on Tuesday that he will be elevating the issue before the US Supreme Court later this week.
Lesniak’s move comes almost two months after the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals struck down New Jersey’s 2014 plan to offer legal sports betting in Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks.
“Winning this fight for legal sports betting means hundreds of millions dollars in economic activity and saving thousands of jobs for New Jersey. I will fight the NFL all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And I am,” the senator said, according to ESPN reporter David Payne Purdum.
It is, however, uncertain whether the Supreme Court will grant Lesniak’s sports betting case appeal, especially since the high tribunal hears roughly one percent of the 7,000-8,000 cases appealed to it per year, and it has not suggested any appetite for judging the legal merits of America’s sports betting laws.
New Jersey has been pitching to legalize sports betting in the state since 2011 as it tries to find other means to boosts its revenues. The plan to legalize sports betting in the state, however, was met with strong opposition from four professional sports leagues – the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball, and NFL – as well as the NCAA.
The sports teams claim that betting would hurt the integrity of their games and is in violation of a 1992 federal ban on sports betting.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blamed the legal setback of sports betting in the state to outgoing President Barack Obama whom he accused of using the appellate court judges as puppets to take away the rights of the state.
“With the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL, the NCAA, they’re all making money off fantasy sports — they’re investing in it,” the Republican governor said in an earlier interview. “They go to court and they try to stop us in New Jersey from legalizing what is happening every Sunday — illegal bookmakers in the mafia. They’d rather have them do it.”
“They think that having mafia people and illegal betting is somehow safer than having legalized betting for the integrity of the game. It’s insane,” Christie added.