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Supreme Court Makes New Jersey Wait Another Day

New Jersey lawmakers were expecting to find out if the US Supreme Court would hear their appeal on Monday. But the day came and went without a ruling. So the state is expecting to find out Tuesday one way or another. The matter was relisted as part of the court’s clean-up conference. So New Jersey should hear something Tuesday. But the entire case has been full of surprises.

The heart of the matter is that New Jersey wants to see PAPA declared unconstitutional. PAPSA prohibits sports betting in 46 states while allowing Nevada to keep its current sports betting. It also gave Oregon, Montana and Delaware an option to offer limited sports betting that those states previously had offered.

Last month,the Solicitor General’s office suggested the Court not hear New Jersey’s case. The Supreme Court typically listens to the Solicitor General. But this is an unusual case all the way around.

Should the Supreme Court agree with that assessment New Jersey isn’t finished yet. There is always the “nuclear option.” Because there are Constitutional limitations of Congress’s power over states New Jersey could end all sports betting restrictions. The federal government and the leagues would then likely step in. The nuclear option isn’t ideal. There would be little oversight and sportsbooks could open anywhere in the state.
Sen. Raymond Lesniak already has a new sports betting bill ready to go that route.

“This is the last card I have left, and I decided to play it,” Lesniak said. “I want to send an indirect message to the Supreme Court, and I want to send a direct message to the NFL.”

Gambling attorney Daniel Wallach thought the decision to push it back a day could be good for the state.

“This is a promising sign for New Jersey” sports betting advocates, Wallach said. He noted that only 1 percent of cases appealed to the Supreme Court are heard.

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