The U.S. Solicitor General’s office has summoned the parties in the long-running New Jersey sports betting case to a meeting in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
In January, the U.S. Supreme Court took the rare step of seeking advice from the Solicitor General’s staff on whether the case merits review by the highest court in the land. It was the only one of more than 130 cases that received that treatment in that session of case reviews.
State Sen. Ray Lesniak, an attorney who has led the charge for sports betting in the state for eight years, tells me that he has little doubt that the timing means that the top Court will decide whether to hear the case by the end of June. The exuberant Lesniak at first suggested that the Court, if it takes the case, could decide on it this fall. But he quickly adjusted his timetable to “as early as late fall.”
The state thoroughbred horsemen, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto are intervenors in the case on the side of Governor Christie and the state Attorney General’s office. Opposing – and so far prevailing – are the alphabet soup of NFL, NCAA, NBA, NHL, and MLB (but not MLS).
Recall that New Jersey lost the first go-round by a 2-1 score in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Then the second time, the judge who wrote the majority opinion in the first case became the lone dissenter. The judges who maintained the status quo were Marjorie Rendell (wife of ex-Pennsylvania Governor Ed) and Maryanne Trump Barry (the sister of the President of the United States).
The Third Circuit also took the rare move of having an “en banc” hearing of the full roster of judges, and that result was 9-3 for the leagues.
Adding to the intrigue is that the NBA and MLB (and MLS) have put out signals that some form of sports betting being legal outside of Nevada could work. They just haven’t backed the latest Jersey version which would leave the horse racing tracks and Atlantic City casinos to do their own private regulation. Meanwhile, some of the leagues, franchises, and owners have embraced daily fantasy sports, which with its entry fees and prizes paid out based on the results of athletic competition in those leagues sounds to some an awful lot like sports betting.
The top justices in the U.S. likely would inquire about that split if the case is heard, and also the fact that federal attorneys have said that New Jersey is free to get rid of ALL of its gambling prohibitions – a pitch to prove no “commandeering” by the federal government of the states. But it also defies a layman’s common-sense test.
Read or Share this story: https://njersy.co/2oznoJ1