The state of New Jersey – and the rest of America – could learn as early as June whether the US Supreme Court will consider the merits of legal sports betting.
On Tuesday, NorthJersey.com’s John Brennan reported that the US Solicitor General’s office had summoned New Jersey’s legal eagles and their anti-betting counterparts at the four major North American pro sports leagues and the NCAA to a meeting in Washington, DC this coming Monday (10).
In January, the Court asked the Solicitor General to provide the White House’s view of the state’s desire to offer legal sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks, in contravention of the federal PASPA sports betting prohibition. The state has passed multiple laws that would bypass PASPA but federal courts have routinely shot down these attempts.
ESPN’s David Purdum (@DavidPurdum) tweeted that the Solicitor General’s office would file its response with the Court sometime in May, which could allow the Court to announce before the end of June whether or not it will hear the state’s appeal.
New Jersey State Sen. Ray Lesniak, a tireless proponent of Garden State gambling issues, told Brennan that the Solicitor General’s request strongly suggests that the Court intends to make up its mind by June. Assuming the Court agrees to hear the case, there would still be a lengthy delay in which a date would be set for oral arguments, followed by a period of deliberation, then finally a result.
Should the Court ultimately approve New Jersey taking legal bets, a growing number of states are expected to follow suit. Already this year, six states have introduced legislative efforts that would authorize legal wagering within their borders.
Even some of the leagues that oppose New Jersey’s plan have either come around completely on the prospect of legal betting or have made more mealy-mouthed commitments to have ‘conversations’ with team owners regarding how best to proceed.
Yet the leagues remain opposed to state-level betting initiatives, preferring to see Congress adopt a national plan that would give them certainty in each market in which they operate. Maybe all that’s needed is for someone to start a rumor that former President Obama was a big PASPA fan and the current Combover-in-Chief will immediately sign an executive order to repeal and replace it.