The leagues say a bill signed last week by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), legalizing sports betting by repealing a previous ban, violated New Jersey’s constitution because any expansion of gambling must be authorized through new law by the legislature, not just a repeal.
New Jersey’s response, submitted on behalf of state Sen. Stephen Sweeney (D) and Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D), argues the repeal doesn’t violate the constitution because it doesn’t require the state to regulate anything.
“It simply provides that, for persons over age 21, sports wagering is no longer prohibited nor regulated by the state at certain specified locations,” the response reads. “New Jersey will not be prohibiting sports wagering activity at current and former horse racetracks and Atlantic City casinos, but nor will it be licensing, operating, or regulating any such activity.”
The leagues also say sports betting violates federal law, but New Jersey argues that a Third Circuit decision that a federal law prohibiting it in Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware doesn’t mean New Jersey can’t repeal it’s own prohibitions.