Sports betting in New Jersey moved a step closer today after a team of lawyers put for the oral arguments that underpin the main arguments connected to both sides of the case.

During an hour of debates between representatives for legalized sports betting in New Jersey and its key opponents, the issue of whether the state has the right to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in “whole or part”.

Representing the NCAA and four professional sports leagues, former US Solicitor General Paul Clement, argued that even a revised law would fall foul of PASPA. Sen. Ray Lesniak, however, was encouraged by the fact that was representatives of the opposition (from the Department of Justice) were unable to come up with a hypothetical situation in which a partial repeal would be accepted by the DOJ.

According to a courtroom report by Meadowlands Matters’ John Brennan, the inability to name a scenario was significant.

“Lesniak said after the hearing that it was significant that no example was offered. But Clement did tell the panel that such an example might have a “dividing line of about 50 percent” – meaning that a law that allowed for extensive sports betting could be permitted, but not one that is so limited as the current, unexercised state sports betting law.”

During the hearing a slew of additional arguments were made from both sides and the issue is now “under advisement” by Third Circuit Court Judge Maryanne Trump Barry and her panel. A decision on New Jersey’s push to allow state sanctioned sports betting is expected to be made in May or June.

Daniel Smyth

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