Major Sports Leagues Sue to Ban NJ Sports Betting

A Monmouth Park official calls professional sports leagues "hypocrites."


The four major professional American sports leagues and the NCAA have filed a lawsuit to block sports wagering in New Jersey.

AOL/Sporting News.com's Fanhouse site reports that Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League joined the NCAA, the governing body of collegiate sports, in filing a complaint in federal court in Trenton Tuesday to block proposed legislation that would legalize sports betting in the Garden State.

According to a release put out by the NBA:

The leagues and the NCAA assert that the state’s recently announced decision to offer sports betting violates long-standing federal law. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) became law in 1992 and prohibits states from operating a lottery or betting scheme based on pro or college games. This law is also known as the “Bradley Act” for its proponent, then New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley."

The law provided a one-year window, from January 1, 1993 to January 1, 1994, during which New Jersey was afforded the opportunity to authorize sports betting. The state declined that opportunity and has been barred by federal law from conducting sports gambling.

Dennis Drazin, who oversees operations at , told NJ.com that professional sports leagues were "hypocrites" and said they "fostered betting by ignoring point spreads blatantly discussed on television and radio sports shows and printed in newspapers," according to the article.

Monmouth Park officials had indicated they were willing to bring sports betting to the Oceanport track in the fall.

Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon, that he supported making the venue a 365-day operation. "The more we go from 71 to 365," said Mahon of the track's operating days, "the better we will be."

Rep. Frank Pallone, co-sponor of legislation aimed at brining sports betting to New Jersey, said in a release that the suit is "disappointing."

“It is widely known that sports betting in the Unites States is currently occurring illegally and offshore and is frequently run by major criminal enterprises.  Each year this illegal sports betting represents billions of dollars.  By engaging in this lawsuit, the NCAA, MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL are in effect condoning and encouraging the continued criminal activity associated with sports gambling, an activity for which state and federal law enforcement officials are forced to dedicate countless man hours and resources to pursue.

“My bill making sports betting legal in New Jersey would not only help to stem the criminal activity associated with sports gambling, it would also pump much needed revenue into to our state by taking the gambling out of the shadows and regulating it.  It has become clear that the states need to step in and regulate sports betting."

A majority of New Jersey voters—roughly 65 percent—indicated in a nonbinding referendum last year their approval of legalized sports gambling.

John Hayes August 10, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Rep. Pallone begs the question. Making an activity legal obviously reduces illegal activity. So that is not a sound argument in favor of sports betting. The question becomes whether the state has an interest in prohibiting betting in order to maintain the integrity of professional sports. I would argue there is a clear state interest, since compromising its integrity naturally threatens the revenue generated from it.


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