NJ Sports Betting Enjoined – Court Finds PASPA Preempts State Law

Although commenting that “the present case is not nearly as clear as the Leagues or the defendants assert,” US District Judge Michael Shipp granted summary judgment in favor of the professional sports leagues and enjoined New Jersey from implementing sports betting pursuant to the legislation it enacted in September 2014.  It is widely expected that this case is again headed to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Last time around, the question hinged on whether the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) was constitutional.  This time, however, Judge Shipp’s opinion focuses almost entirely on “preemption” – the question of whether a federal statute precludes a state from legislating or regulating contrary to a federal statute. 

The Court rejected New Jersey’s argument that the Third Circuit’s opinion in NCAA v. Christie allows the state to partially repeal its prohibition on sports betting.  Instead, the Court held that the Third Circuit gave New Jersey two (and only two) options:  leave its ban on sports betting in place or repeal it entirely – not a partial repeal as New Jersey has done.  The Court dismisses New Jersey’s reading of the Third Circuit’s opinion by stating that “although some portion of the court’s opinion, read in isolation, may suggest a contrary position,” the opinion as a whole stands for the proposition that states only have two options.

The Court looked to the legislative intent behind PASPA, holding that Congress intended to ban sports wagering authorized pursuant to a state scheme.  The Court conclued that “PASPA preempts the type of partial repeal New Jersey is attempting to accomplish in the 2014 Law, by allowing some, but not all, types of sports wagering in New Jersey, thus creating a label of legitimacy for sports wagering pursuant to a state scheme.”  The Court hold that any other option other than a full repeal of a sports wagering ban or a full ban would leave the states “too much room” to circumvent the intent of Congress.  The Court held that putting age restrictions on the repeal, for example, puts too much of a state imprimatur on sports betting and thus the state’s statute is preempted.

The matter is ripe for Third Circuit review, as that Court can then decide whose interpretation of its prior opinion – the Leagues or the State’s – is correct.


UPDATE: Pennsylvania Governor Signs Into Law Measure to Prohibit Sale of Internet Instant Games by State Lottery

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has signed HB 2110 into law.  The law prohibits the State Lottery from offering “Internet instant games” or Keno unless the Legislature provides the go-ahead.

Additionally, the law now changes the the apportioned revenue for property tax relief and reduced fare transit service for the elderly.  The percentage goes from 27% to 25%. 

I previously blogged about this bill here and here.

Duane Morris’ Eric Frank Featured in Class of 40 Under 40

Duane Morris gaming attorney Eric Frank of the firm’s Cherry Hill office was feautured in Global Gaming Business Magazine under the Class of 40 under 40 for 2015 as number 37.

The “40 under 40″ list was made by the Global Gaming Business Editorial Advisory Board and the Innovation Group and honors top leaders in the Gaming industry.

UPDATE: Pennsylvania House Approves Measure to Prohibit Sale of Internet Instant Games by State Lottery

This entry is an update to a story I previously blogged about here. Yesterday the Pennsylvania House approved an amended bill that would prevent the State Lottery from offering “Internet instant games” without prior approval from the state legislature.

The language regarding “Internet instant games” was first added by the Senate two weeks ago. The bill, as originally passed by the House back in April was limited in scope to changes in the apportionment of revenue lottery sales.

The legislation is now before Governor Corbett.

No More Bets? Leagues Seek Restraining Order Against NJ Sports Betting

In light of Monmouth Park’s stated intention to accept sports wagers beginning October 26, today the professional sports leagues filed an application for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction stopping New Jersey from implementing the sports wagering law signed on October 16.

The Leagues’ brief accuses New Jersey of “attempting to devise a way” to get around PASPA’s prohibitions on the regulation of sports betting. The brief reiterates the argument set forth in the Complaint that the sports betting law is an authorization, not a repeal. The Leagues argue that New Jersey has not actually repealed anything – it has “exempted from these laws two narrow groups,” “in a clear effort to authorize and promote sports wagering that is authorized and regulated by the state.”

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Deja Vu All Over Again – Sports Leagues Sue To Stop NJ Sports Betting

In the words of well respected sports figure Yogi Berra, “it’s like deja vu all over again.”

In the wake of Friday’s enactment of a new sports wagering law in New Jersey, today the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against New Jersey seeking to enjoin the implementation of the new bill approved by the Governor on October 17. We covered that here.

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Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill; Clarification Motion Withdrawn

On October 16, 2014, the New Jersey Legislature passed Senate Bill 2460, which changed the legal framework for sports betting in New Jersey. Today, Governor Christie signed that legislation into law. Immediately thereafter, the Attorney General’s office withdrew the State’s application for clarification of the currently existing injunction prohibiting New Jersey from regulating sports betting.

By way of brief history, New Jersey amended its Constitution to authorize the Legislature to legislate sports betting; the Leagues did and the professional sports leagues sued for an injunction. The state argued that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional. The District Court disagreed and enjoined the state from regulating sports betting. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, thus stopping efforts at legal sports betting in New Jersey casinos and racetracks.

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This Week in Internet Gaming (Week of Oct. 13-17)

Here is the weekly recap of the top legal news in the Internet gaming world for the week of October 13 – 17:

  • New Jersey Internet Gaming Revenue Down Slightly in September
  • Ireland Follows UK Lead on Licensing and Point-of-Consumption Tax
  • New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Ready to Approve Skill-Based Gaming

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NJ Regulators Seeking Skill-Based Gaming – Possible iGaming Implications

New Jersey’s Gaming regulators garnered attention this week by issuing a press release that they are accepting applications for skill-based games for play in New Jersey’s casinos. This was a friendly reminder to the industry of two things: (1) that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s current regulations already allow for skill-based elements in slot machines; and (2) the Division’s “New Jersey first” policy, whereby gaming products that are submitted for testing to New Jersey prior to, or simultaneously with, any other jurisdiction or testing lab, if approved, can be on the casino floor within 14 days.

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This Week in Internet Gaming (Week of Oct. 6-10)

Here is the weekly recap of the top legal news in the Internet gaming world for the week of October 6 – 10:

  • Challenge to the UK Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Act Fail
  • Singapore Passes Remote Gambling Bill
  • Pennsylvania Senate Moves to Ban Instant Internet Lottery Games

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